The Gray Area with Sean Illing

The Gray Area with host Sean Illing is a philosophical take on culture, politics, and everything in between. We don’t pretend to have the answers, but we do offer a space for real dialogue. Resist certainty, embrace ambiguity, and get some cool takes on a very hot world. Formerly the Vox Conversations podcast. New episodes drop every Monday and Thursday.


Neil deGrasse Tyson gets political

On this first episode of The Gray Area, Sean Illing talks with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who takes on many of our most vexing societal problems in his new book Starry Messenger. According to Neil, if we all were to adopt a more scientific approach to politics, many of our social problems would be easier to identify, talk about, and solve. In this conversation, Sean challenges that claim, and they discuss what the limits of both politics and science might be, as tools to use in crafting an improved society.

Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), host, The Gray Area

Guest: Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson), astrophysicist; author 


  •  Starry Messenger: Cosmic Perspectives on Civilization by Neil deGrasse Tyson (Henry Holt; 2022)
  • "Neil deGrasse Tyson lets the science deniers have it: 'The beginning of the end of an informed democracy'" by Sean Illing (Salon; Oct. 20, 2015)


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This episode was made by: 

  • Producer: Erikk Geannikis
  • Editor: Amy Drozdowska
  • Engineer: Patrick Boyd
  • Deputy Editorial Director, Vox Talk: A.M. Hall

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 2022-10-13  58m