Phil Plait works in the physics and astronomy department at Sonoma State University. In the early ’90’s, he started Badastronomy.com, which has become a popular website focused on educating the public about astronomy and space science, especially as regards common misconceptions and pseudoscientific astronomy claims. In recent years, he has also been involved with debunking several more general pseudoscientific theories. In March 2006, Science magazine celebrated the Bad Astronomy website, praising Plait’s blog, begun in March 2005. This blog was also a finalist for the 2006 Weblog Award (the “Bloggie”). The author of one book, The Bad Astronomer, Phil Plait is also a regular contributor to many online publications, including The Huffington Post.
In this interview with D.J. Grothe, Phil Plait discusses science education, the need for the public appreciation of science, public investment in space science, and how such investment benefits society. He also addresses the question of science’s compatibility with religion, and explores social conflicts surrounding the teaching of evolution in the public schools.