Meet The American Badass Who Spoke Up 50 Years Ago And Saved Everyone On Earth From Being Poisoned

Here’s the thing about science these days: There’s such a heavy focus on the contentious politics surrounding the scientific world that it’s easy to forget about the people behind the science and the really cool ways that science has helped people and saved lives.

If you ask me, this episode of “COSMOS” (featuring Neil deGrasse Tyson, aka The Man) SO has the right focus. It focuses on people and on how the study of science can create discoveries AND heroic opportunities. Since it’s a long episode, I’ll timestamp some good places to jump so you can follow the story within the episode.

At 21:41, scientist Clair Patterson figures the age of the Earth. All because he studied … lead. I know, lead is kinda boring, but if you add science, everything is a little bit more exciting. At 31:01, Patterson’s research (in — you guessed it — LEAD) uncovers something intense. Earth’s citizens are being poisoned by the air they breathe. Around 40:15, this reluctant hero — think about it, dude just wanted to study some lead — storms into a scary, scary government hearing about lead poisoning and lays down some science facts that save a LOT of lives.

Seriously, if you don’t have time right now to watch the whole thing, bookmark this episode. Unlike science class, you’ll actually remember this stuff.

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