Tyson AMA Reddit

In the past, emergency outages at Reddit have been caused by an overload of comments. When astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson hit Reddit yesterday with “I am Neil deGrasse Tyson — AMA“, the community responded. During the subsequent slow period on Reddit early this morning, the site went into emergency maintenance mode for over an hour. Coincidence?

On Reddit, the r/IAmA subreddit is designed for people to say who they are or what they do followed by the acronym AMA (ask me anything). It draws a wide range of people from movie stars (Zach Braff, Bruce Campbell) to Jeopardy! champions (Ken Jennings) and often makes for the most informative and engaging comment threads on the website.

When Tyson hit the subreddit and announced it with a Tweet, the flood of questions and answers began.

Neil Tyson Tweet

It is rare to see any Reddit, even an IAmA, get over 10,000 comments. If it was the reason behind the outage, Reddit had better get ready – Tyson recommended that he should do a monthly AMA. If they aren’t ready, we may get to see a monthly screen like this:

Reddit is Down

Here’s the top question and answer:


What never fails to blow your mind in physics?


1) The fact that an electron has no known size — it’s smaller than the smallest measurement we have ever made of anything.

2) That Quarks come only in pairs: If you try to separate two of them, the energy you sink into the system to accomplish this feat is exactly the energy to spontaneously create two more quarks – one to partner with each of those you pulled apart.

3) That the space-time structure inside a rotating black hole does not preclude the existence of an entire other universe.

MindBlown x 3

If you haven’t already, you should set aside some time to read through the comments. It makes for some truly engaging reading on not only the genius of the astrophysicist but the (mostly) compelling questioning from the Reddit community.

Written by Connor Livingston
+Connor Livingston is a tech blogger who will be launching his own site soon, Lythyum. He lives in Oceanside, California, and has never surfed in his life. Find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.