Neil deGrasse Tyson joined a comedian and ecologist as co-hosts on science podcast StarTalk Radio last week to discuss the “wonderful world of fungi”—with a selective emphasis on psilocybin mushrooms. The astrophysicist was clearly engaged in learning more, with a small group of co-hosts asking important questions about psilocybin, the Fungi Kingdom and mycology in general.
“Can mushrooms take over your mind? StarTalk Radio asked in a tweet. “On this episode, Neil deGrasse Tyson and comic co-host Matt Kirshen explore the weird world of fungi with fun-guy fungus expert and ecologist, Merlin Sheldrake. Could inactive spores survive space? Who discovered mushrooms can affect us psychologically? You’ll learn about the origins of the classification of the kingdom fungi and the use of psychedelic mushrooms. Can psilocybin be synthesized?”
“This is going to be a Cosmic Queries session on the subject of mushrooms,” Tyson said. “We’re going to find out where they come from, what they’re doing, and why, and especially what is their relationship to humans.” Tyson published his podcast discussions as Cosmic Queries: StarTalk’s Guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We’re Going with co-author James Trefil last March.
Tyson was joined by Sheldrake, who