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9 Truths About Life From Neil deGrasse Tyson That Will Blow Your Mind

Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space in New York, turns 57 in October. Celebrate one our universe's great minds by testing the limits of yours.

Life is a beautiful process.

Every living thing is a masterpiece, written by nature and edited by evolution.

See your kids differently

Some morning, when you need something new to think about, ponder the fact that you see your kids across the table not as they are but as they once were, about three nanoseconds ago.

The greatest mystery of all.

Down there between our legs, it’s like an entertainment complex in the middle of a sewage system. Who designed that?

The universe is in us.

The very atoms of your body—the iron, calcium, phosphorus, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen—were initially forged in long-dead stars. This is why, when you stand outside under a moonless, country sky, you feel some ineffable tugging at your innards. We are star stuff. Keep looking up.

Earth gives. Return the favor.

In death, I would request to be buried not cremated, so that the energy content contained within my body gets returned to the earth, so that the flora and fauna can dine upon it as I have dined upon flora and fauna during my lifetime.

Respect the Big Bang.

In the beginning, there was physics.

Beware of aliens.

If an alien lands on your front lawn and extends an appendage as a gesture of greeting, toss it an eightball. If the appendage explodes, then the alient was probably made of antimatter. If not, then you can proceed to take it to your leader.

Embrace wonder.

Each component of this trinity of human endeavor—science, religion, and art—lays powerful claim to our feelings of wonder, which derive from an embrace of the mysterious. Where mystery is absent, there can be no wonder.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest