VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As the old adage goes, shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.
That was the experience of 13-year-old Max Von Dehn and 14-year-old Zach Kobus, whose extended interview with world-renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson went live on Monday.
“Having the guy that we watched explain science to us growing up, now we listen to his podcast and we read his books, having that guy… come and speak to us, it was just life changing for both of us,” says Zach.
To The Max Podcast started as a lockdown time killer in late April, when the COVID-19 pandemic was raging in Vancouver and beyond, forcing schools to close and public health officials urged people to stay home.
Early episodes focused mostly on Star Wars, but the show has since evolved to cover some of the biggest topics in theoretical science. Max’s introduction to each episode promises to “collide the universes of fact and fiction.”
“We were saying, ‘who would we love to have on the podcast?'” says Max. “Out on a limb, we just decided to go to [Tyson’s] website, and just email saying, ‘you know, we’re a podcast, we like to share science and stuff — would you come on the podcast?'”
“Basically a Hail Mary,” adds Zach. “We didn’t really expect much from it, not even a response. And yet, we got the response, and then we got the ‘yes’.”
Their conversation touched on several topics, from Tyson’s work as an astrophysicist and science communicator, to Mars and the future of humanity. Tyson also told the boys why he chose to come on their show, saying when he was young, the late science icon Carl Sagan made time for a conversation with him.
“Now he’s trying to pass that on. Exactly how Carl did it to him, he’s doing it to others now,” says Zach.
The boys admit the Tyson interview is going to be hard to top, but they’re hoping to reach out to other accomplished scientists in various fields.
To The Max Podcast is available for free on most streaming platforms.