Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Overview
Neil deGrasse Tyson is an American astrophysicist, a science communicator
Science communication
Science communication generally refers to public media aiming to talk about science with non-scientists. This often involves professional scientists but has evolved into a professional field in its own right...

, the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium
Hayden Planetarium
The Hayden Planetarium is a public planetarium, part of the Rose Center for Earth and Space of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, currently directed by astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson....

 at the Rose Center for Earth and Space
Rose Center for Earth and Space
The Rose Center for Earth and Space is a part of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The Center's complete name is The Frederick Phineas and Sandra Priest Rose Center for Earth and Space. The main entrance is located on the northern side of the museum on 81st Street near...

, and a Research Associate in the Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History
American Museum of Natural History
The American Museum of Natural History , located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City, United States, is one of the largest and most celebrated museums in the world...

. Since 2006 he has hosted the educational science television show NOVA scienceNOW
NOVA scienceNOW
NOVA scienceNOW is a newsmagazine version of the long running and venerable PBS science program Nova. Premiering on January 25, 2005, the series was originally hosted by Robert Krulwich, who described it as an experiment in coverage of "breaking science, science that's right out of the lab, science...

on PBS
Public Broadcasting Service
The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

, and has been a frequent guest on The Daily Show
The Daily Show
The Daily Show , is an American late night satirical television program airing each Monday through Thursday on Comedy Central. The half-hour long show premiered on July 21, 1996, and was hosted by Craig Kilborn until December 1998...

, The Colbert Report, Real Time with Bill Maher
Real Time with Bill Maher
Real Time with Bill Maher is a talk show that airs weekly on HBO, hosted by comedian and political satirist Bill Maher. Much like his previous show, Politically Incorrect on ABC , Real Time features a panel of guests that discuss current events in politics and the media...

, and Jeopardy!
Jeopardy!
Griffin's first conception of the game used a board comprising ten categories with ten clues each, but after finding that this board could not be shown on camera easily, he reduced it to two rounds of thirty clues each, with five clues in each of six categories...

.
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Encyclopedia
Neil deGrasse Tyson is an American astrophysicist, a science communicator
Science communication
Science communication generally refers to public media aiming to talk about science with non-scientists. This often involves professional scientists but has evolved into a professional field in its own right...

, the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium
Hayden Planetarium
The Hayden Planetarium is a public planetarium, part of the Rose Center for Earth and Space of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, currently directed by astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson....

 at the Rose Center for Earth and Space
Rose Center for Earth and Space
The Rose Center for Earth and Space is a part of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The Center's complete name is The Frederick Phineas and Sandra Priest Rose Center for Earth and Space. The main entrance is located on the northern side of the museum on 81st Street near...

, and a Research Associate in the Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History
American Museum of Natural History
The American Museum of Natural History , located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City, United States, is one of the largest and most celebrated museums in the world...

. Since 2006 he has hosted the educational science television show NOVA scienceNOW
NOVA scienceNOW
NOVA scienceNOW is a newsmagazine version of the long running and venerable PBS science program Nova. Premiering on January 25, 2005, the series was originally hosted by Robert Krulwich, who described it as an experiment in coverage of "breaking science, science that's right out of the lab, science...

on PBS
Public Broadcasting Service
The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

, and has been a frequent guest on The Daily Show
The Daily Show
The Daily Show , is an American late night satirical television program airing each Monday through Thursday on Comedy Central. The half-hour long show premiered on July 21, 1996, and was hosted by Craig Kilborn until December 1998...

, The Colbert Report, Real Time with Bill Maher
Real Time with Bill Maher
Real Time with Bill Maher is a talk show that airs weekly on HBO, hosted by comedian and political satirist Bill Maher. Much like his previous show, Politically Incorrect on ABC , Real Time features a panel of guests that discuss current events in politics and the media...

, and Jeopardy!
Jeopardy!
Griffin's first conception of the game used a board comprising ten categories with ten clues each, but after finding that this board could not be shown on camera easily, he reduced it to two rounds of thirty clues each, with five clues in each of six categories...

. It was announced on August 5, 2011 that Tyson will be hosting a new sequel to Carl Sagan
Carl Sagan
Carl Edward Sagan was an American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, science popularizer and science communicator in astronomy and natural sciences. He published more than 600 scientific papers and articles and was author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books...

's Cosmos: A Personal Voyage
Cosmos: A Personal Voyage
Cosmos: A Personal Voyage is a thirteen-part television series written by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan, and Steven Soter, with Sagan as presenter. It was executive-produced by Adrian Malone, produced by David Kennard, Geoffrey Haines-Stiles and Gregory Andorfer, and directed by the producers, David...

TV series.

Early life


Tyson was born in New York City as the second of three children. His father, Cyril deGrasse Tyson, was a sociologist and human resource commissioner for New York City mayor John Lindsay
John Lindsay
John Vliet Lindsay was an American politician, lawyer and broadcaster who was a U.S. Congressman, Mayor of New York City, candidate for U.S...

. His mother, Sunchita Feliciano Tyson, was a gerontologist. Tyson attended the Bronx High School of Science
Bronx High School of Science
The Bronx High School of Science is a specialized New York City public high school often considered the premier science magnet school in the United States. Founded in 1938, it is now located in the Bedford Park section of the Bronx...

 (1972–1976) where he was captain of the wrestling team and was editor-in-chief of the school's Physical Science Journal. Tyson had an abiding interest in astronomy
Astronomy
Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth...

 from a young age—and obsessively studied it in his teens—eventually even gaining some fame in the astronomy community by giving lectures on the subject at the age of 15.

Astronomer Carl Sagan
Carl Sagan
Carl Edward Sagan was an American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, science popularizer and science communicator in astronomy and natural sciences. He published more than 600 scientific papers and articles and was author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books...

, who was a faculty member at Cornell University
Cornell University
Cornell University is an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, United States. It is a private land-grant university, receiving annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions...

, tried to recruit Tyson to Cornell for undergraduate studies. During an interview with writer Daniel Simone , Tyson said, "Interestingly, when I applied to Cornell, my application dripped of my passion for the study and research of the Universe. Somehow the admissions office brought my application to the attention of the late Dr. Sagan, and he actually took the initiative and care to contact me. He was very inspirational and a most powerful influence. Dr. Sagan was as great as the universe, an effective mentor." But Tyson chose to attend Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

, where he majored in physics
Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

. He was a member of the crew team
Sport rowing
Rowing is a sport in which athletes race against each other on rivers, on lakes or on the ocean, depending upon the type of race and the discipline. The boats are propelled by the reaction forces on the oar blades as they are pushed against the water...

 in his freshman year, but returned to wrestling, eventually lettering in his senior year. Tyson earned a Bachelors of Arts in physics from Harvard in 1980 and began his graduate work at the University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin is a state research university located in Austin, Texas, USA, and is the flagship institution of the The University of Texas System. Founded in 1883, its campus is located approximately from the Texas State Capitol in Austin...

, where he earned a Master of Arts
Master of Arts (postgraduate)
A Master of Arts from the Latin Magister Artium, is a type of Master's degree awarded by universities in many countries. The M.A. is usually contrasted with the M.S. or M.Sc. degrees...

 in astronomy
Astronomy
Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth...

 in 1983. In addition to wrestling and rowing in college, he was also active in dancing in styles including jazz
Jazz dance
Jazz dance is a classification shared by a broad range of dance styles. Before the 1950s, jazz dance referred to dance styles that originated from African American vernacular dance. In the 1950s, a new genre of jazz dance—modern jazz dance—emerged, with roots in Caribbean traditional dance...

, ballet
Ballet
Ballet is a type of performance dance, that originated in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th century, and which was further developed in France and Russia as a concert dance form. The early portions preceded the invention of the proscenium stage and were presented in large chambers with...

, Afro-Caribbean, and Latin Ballroom. In 1985, he won a gold medal with the University of Texas dance team at a national tournament in the International Latin Ballroom style. He started to work towards a doctorate
Doctorate
A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder to teach in a specific field, A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder...

 at UT, but transferred to Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

 in 1988 after they dissolved his committee. At Columbia University, in 1989, he received a Master of Philosophy
Master of Philosophy
The Master of Philosophy is a postgraduate research degree.An M.Phil. is a lesser degree than a Doctor of Philosophy , but in many cases it is considered to be a more senior degree than a taught Master's degree, as it is often a thesis-only degree. In some instances, an M.Phil...

 in astrophysics
Astrophysics
Astrophysics is the branch of astronomy that deals with the physics of the universe, including the physical properties of celestial objects, as well as their interactions and behavior...

 and, in 1991, he earned a Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy, abbreviated as Ph.D., PhD, D.Phil., or DPhil , in English-speaking countries, is a postgraduate academic degree awarded by universities...

 in astrophysics. (See the biographical summary provided by the International Astronautical Federation
International Astronautical Federation
International Astronautical Federation , the world's foremost space advocacy organisation, is based in Paris. It was founded in 1951 as a non-governmental organization. It has 206 members from 58 countries across the world. They are drawn from space agencies, industry, professional associations,...

. Tyson also featured on the NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 Academy Sharing Knowledge.)

Career



Tyson's research has focused on observations in stellar formation
Star formation
Star formation is the process by which dense parts of molecular clouds collapse into a ball of plasma to form a star. As a branch of astronomy star formation includes the study of the interstellar medium and giant molecular clouds as precursors to the star formation process and the study of young...

 and evolution
Stellar evolution
Stellar evolution is the process by which a star undergoes a sequence of radical changes during its lifetime. Depending on the mass of the star, this lifetime ranges from only a few million years to trillions of years .Stellar evolution is not studied by observing the life of a single...

 as well as cosmology
Physical cosmology
Physical cosmology, as a branch of astronomy, is the study of the largest-scale structures and dynamics of the universe and is concerned with fundamental questions about its formation and evolution. For most of human history, it was a branch of metaphysics and religion...

 and galactic astronomy
Galactic astronomy
Galactic astronomy is the study of our own Milky Way galaxy and all its contents. This is in contrast to extragalactic astronomy, which is the study of everything outside our galaxy, including all other galaxies....

. He has held numerous positions at institutions including University of Maryland
University of Maryland
When the term "University of Maryland" is used without any qualification, it generally refers to the University of Maryland, College Park.University of Maryland may refer to the following:...

, Princeton University
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

, the American Museum of Natural History
American Museum of Natural History
The American Museum of Natural History , located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City, United States, is one of the largest and most celebrated museums in the world...

 and Hayden Planetarium
Hayden Planetarium
The Hayden Planetarium is a public planetarium, part of the Rose Center for Earth and Space of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, currently directed by astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson....

.

Tyson has written a number of popular books on astronomy. In 1995, he began to write the "Universe" column for Natural History
Natural History (magazine)
Natural History is an American natural history magazine. The stated mission of the magazine is to promote public understanding and appreciation of nature and science.- History :...

magazine. In a column for the magazine he authored in 2002, Tyson coined the term "Manhattanhenge
Manhattanhenge
Manhattanhenge – sometimes referred to as the Manhattan Solstice – is a semiannual occurrence in which the setting sun aligns with the east–west streets of the main street grid in the borough of Manhattan in New York City. The term is derived from Stonehenge, at which the sun aligns...

" to describe the two days annually on which the evening sun aligns with the cross streets of the street grid in Manhattan, making the sunset visible along unobstructed side streets.

In 2004, he hosted the four-part "Origins" miniseries of PBS
Public Broadcasting Service
The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

's Nova
NOVA (TV series)
Nova is a popular science television series from the U.S. produced by WGBH Boston. It can be seen on the Public Broadcasting Service in the United States, and in more than 100 other countries...

, and co-authored with Donald Goldsmith the companion volume for this series, Origins: Fourteen Billion Years Of Cosmic Evolution. He again collaborated with Goldsmith as the narrator on the documentary 400 Years of the Telescope
400 Years of the Telescope
400 Years of the Telescope: A Journey of Science, Technology and Thought is a 2009 American documentary film that was created to coincide with the International Year of Astronomy in 2009...

 which premiered on PBS in April 2009.

In 2001, President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 appointed Tyson to serve on the Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry
Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry
The Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry was formed jointly by United States President George W. Bush and the United States Congress in 2001...

 and in 2004 to serve on the President's Commission on Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy
President's Commission on Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy
The President's Commission on Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy was a Presidential Commission formed by United States President George W. Bush on January 27, 2004, through the Executive Order 13326. Its final report was submitted on June 4, 2004.-Commissioners:There were nine...

, the latter better known as the "Moon, Mars and Beyond" commission. He was soon afterward awarded the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal
NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal
The NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal is an award similar to the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, but awarded to non-government personnel. This is the highest honor NASA awards to anyone who was not a government employee when the service was performed....

, the highest civilian honor bestowed by NASA.

As director of the Hayden Planetarium, Tyson bucked traditional thinking to keep Pluto
Pluto
Pluto, formal designation 134340 Pluto, is the second-most-massive known dwarf planet in the Solar System and the tenth-most-massive body observed directly orbiting the Sun...

 from being referred to as the ninth planet in exhibits at the center. Tyson has explained that he wanted to look at commonalities between objects, grouping the terrestrial planets together, the gas giants together, and Pluto with like objects and to get away from simply counting the planets. He has stated on The Colbert Report, The Daily Show
The Daily Show
The Daily Show , is an American late night satirical television program airing each Monday through Thursday on Comedy Central. The half-hour long show premiered on July 21, 1996, and was hosted by Craig Kilborn until December 1998...

, and BBC Horizon that this decision has resulted in large amounts of hate mail, much of it from children. In 2006, the I.A.U.
International Astronomical Union
The International Astronomical Union IAU is a collection of professional astronomers, at the Ph.D. level and beyond, active in professional research and education in astronomy...

 confirmed this assessment by changing Pluto to the "dwarf planet
Dwarf planet
A dwarf planet, as defined by the International Astronomical Union , is a celestial body orbiting the Sun that is massive enough to be spherical as a result of its own gravity but has not cleared its neighboring region of planetesimals and is not a satellite...

" classification. Daniel Simone wrote of the interview with Tyson describing his frustration. "For a while, we were not very popular here at the Hayden Planetarium."

Tyson has been Vice-President, President, and Chairman of the board of the Planetary Society
Planetary Society
The Planetary Society is a large, publicly supported, non-government and non-profit organization that has many research projects related to astronomy...

. He is also the host of the PBS program NOVA scienceNOW
NOVA scienceNOW
NOVA scienceNOW is a newsmagazine version of the long running and venerable PBS science program Nova. Premiering on January 25, 2005, the series was originally hosted by Robert Krulwich, who described it as an experiment in coverage of "breaking science, science that's right out of the lab, science...

. He attended and was a speaker at the Beyond Belief
Beyond Belief: Science, Religion, Reason and Survival
Beyond Belief: Science, Religion, Reason and Survival, the first of The Science Network's annual Beyond Belief symposia, held from November 5 to November 7, 2006, was described by the New York Times, as "a free-for-all on science and religion," which seemed at times like "the founding convention...

 symposium on November 2006. In 2007, Tyson, who is known for his vibrant character, cheerful demeanor, and awe of the vastness of the universe itself, was chosen to be a regular on The History Channel
The History Channel
History, formerly known as The History Channel, is an American-based international satellite and cable TV channel that broadcasts a variety of reality shows and documentary programs including those of fictional and non-fictional historical content, together with speculation about the future.-...

's popular series The Universe
The Universe (TV series)
The Universe is an American documentary television series that features computer-generated imagery and computer graphics of astronomical objects in the universe plus interviews with experts who study in the fields of cosmology, astronomy, and astrophysics...

.

In May 2009, he launched a one-hour radio talk show called StarTalk
Startalk
Startalk TX is a long-running showbiz-oriented television talk show in the Philippines aired every Saturday afternoons by GMA Network and simulcast over Super Radyo DZBB. It is hosted by Butch Francisco, Joey de Leon, Ricky Lo and Lolit Solis.-History:...

 in which he co-hosted the show with comedienne Lynne Koplitz
Lynne Koplitz
Lynne Koplitz is an American stand-up comedian and actress. Born June 13, 1969 in Long Island, New York, USA and raised in Sarasota, Florida. She was host of Telepictures' nationally syndicated dating show Change of Heart, guest host on NBC's Later, co-host of the Food Network's How to Boil...

. The show was syndicated on Sunday afternoons on KTLK AM in Los Angeles and WHFS
WHFS
WHFS was the call sign for three different FM stations in the Washington, D.C./Baltimore, Maryland markets on various frequencies for nearly 50 years. The first and longest run was a progressive rock station and was usually, and affectionately, referred to as 'HFS...

 in Washington DC. The show lasted for 13 weeks, but was resurrected in December 2010 co-hosted with comedians Chuck Nice
Chuck Nice
Chuck Nice is a stand up comic and radio personality from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Nice was heard on The Radio Chick, a comedic show formerly on 92.3 Free FM in New York. The RadioChick is now a featured show on Shovio.com's TalkBackTV...

 and Leighann Lord instead of Koplitz. The show is also available via the internet through a live stream or in the form of a podcast
Podcast
A podcast is a series of digital media files that are released episodically and often downloaded through web syndication...

.

In April 2011, Tyson was the keynote speaker at the 93rd International Convention of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society of the Two-year School. He and James Randi
James Randi
James Randi is a Canadian-American stage magician and scientific skeptic best known as a challenger of paranormal claims and pseudoscience. Randi is the founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation...

 delivered a lecture entitled "Skepticism" which related directly with the convention's theme of "The Democratization of Information: Power, Peril and Promise".

Views


Tyson has argued that intelligent design
Intelligent design
Intelligent design is the proposition that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection." It is a form of creationism and a contemporary adaptation of the traditional teleological argument for...

 thwarts the advance of scientific knowledge. In an interview on podcast "Point of Inquiry
Point of Inquiry
Point of Inquiry is the radio show and podcast of the Center for Inquiry, a think tank promoting science, reason and secular values. Started in 2005, Point of Inquiry has consistently ranked highly among similar podcasts. It has been celebrated for its guests, and for the quality of its interviews....

", Tyson defines himself as an agnostic. He has written and broadcast extensively about his views of religion, spirituality and the spirituality of science itself including the essays "The Perimeter of Ignorance" and "Holy Wars" both appearing in Natural History
Natural History (magazine)
Natural History is an American natural history magazine. The stated mission of the magazine is to promote public understanding and appreciation of nature and science.- History :...

magazine and the 2006 Beyond Belief workshop.

Tyson lived next to the World Trade Center
World Trade Center
The original World Trade Center was a complex with seven buildings featuring landmark twin towers in Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States. The complex opened on April 4, 1973, and was destroyed in 2001 during the September 11 attacks. The site is currently being rebuilt with five new...

 and was an eyewitness to the September 11, 2001 attacks. He wrote a widely circulated letter on what he saw. On June 6, 2008, after the conclusion of the Democratic presidential primaries
Democratic Party (United States) presidential primaries, 2008
The 2008 Democratic presidential primaries were the selection process by which voters of the Democratic Party chose its nominee for President of the United States in the 2008 U.S. presidential election...

, Tyson wrote an op-ed in The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

in which he presented a statistical analysis of recent polling data. From this analysis, Tyson concluded that in a hypothetical election held on the day of publication of his article, Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 would lose to John McCain
John McCain
John Sidney McCain III is the senior United States Senator from Arizona. He was the Republican nominee for president in the 2008 United States election....

, whereas Hillary Clinton would beat McCain.

Tyson has collaborated with evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins
Clinton Richard Dawkins, FRS, FRSL , known as Richard Dawkins, is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author...

 and presented talks with him on religion and science. When asked if he personally believed in a higher power, Tyson responded: "Every account of a higher power that I've seen described, of all religions that I've seen include many statements with regard to the benevolence of that power. When I look at the universe and all the ways the universe wants to kill us, I find it hard to reconcile that with statements of beneficence."

Tyson collaborated with PETA on a PSA that stated, "You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that kindness is a virtue." He also granted PETA an interview, in which he discussed the concept of intelligence (both of human and other animals), the failure of humans to heretofore communicate meaningfully with other animals, and the need of humans to be empathetic.

Media appearances


Tyson was the keynote speaker during the dedication ceremony of Deerfield Academy
Deerfield Academy
Deerfield Academy is an independent, coeducational boarding school in Deerfield, Massachusetts, United States. It is a four-year college-preparatory school with approximately 600 students and about 100 faculty, all of whom live on or near campus....

's new science center, the Koch Center in 2007. He emphasized the impact science will have on the 21st century, as well as explaining that investments into science may be costly, but their returns in the form of knowledge gained, and perking interest is invaluable. Tyson also appeared as the Keynote speaker at The Amazing Meeting 6, a science and skepticism
Skepticism
Skepticism has many definitions, but generally refers to any questioning attitude towards knowledge, facts, or opinions/beliefs stated as facts, or doubt regarding claims that are taken for granted elsewhere...

 conference hosted by the James Randi Educational Foundation
James Randi Educational Foundation
The James Randi Educational Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 1996 by magician and skeptic James Randi. The JREF's mission includes educating the public and the media on the dangers of accepting unproven claims, and to support research into paranormal claims in controlled...

, in June 2008.

Tyson appeared a record eight times on The Colbert Report between October 26, 2005 and January 6, 2011. Colbert
Stephen Colbert
Stephen Tyrone Colbert is an American political satirist, writer, comedian, television host, and actor. He is the host of Comedy Central's The Colbert Report, a satirical news show in which Colbert portrays a caricatured version of conservative political pundits.Colbert originally studied to be an...

 refers to him in his book I Am America (And So Can You!)
I Am America (And So Can You!)
I Am America is a 2007 satirical bestseller book by American comedian Stephen Colbert and the writers of The Colbert Report. It was released on October 9, 2007, with the audiobook edition released several days earlier. The book is loosely structured around the fictional life story of Stephen...

in his chapter on scientists. Remarking that most scientists are "decent, well-intentioned people," a sidebar includes the exception, "However, Neil DeGrasse Tyson is an absolute monster."

He also appeared five times on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart between January 2007 and January 2011, once to discuss black holes and his new book Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries. Two days after his first appearance on The Daily Show, the book ranked as the fourth best selling book on Amazon. He has also made appearances on Late Night with Conan O'Brien
Late Night with Conan O'Brien
Late Night with Conan O'Brien is an American late-night talk show hosted by Conan O'Brien that aired 2,725 episodes on NBC between 1993 and 2009. The show featured varied comedic material, celebrity interviews, and musical and comedy performances. Late Night aired weeknights at 12:37 am...

(2007). He served as one of the central interviewees on the various episodes of the History Channel science program, The Universe
The Universe (TV series)
The Universe is an American documentary television series that features computer-generated imagery and computer graphics of astronomical objects in the universe plus interviews with experts who study in the fields of cosmology, astronomy, and astrophysics...

, and was featured as a guest interviewee on episode #156 of The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe
The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe
The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe is a weekly, 80 minute podcast hosted by Steven Novella, MD, and a panel of "skeptical rogues". It is the official podcast of the New England Skeptical Society, and is produced in conjunction with the James Randi Educational Foundation...

(2008). Tyson participated on the NPR
NPR
NPR, formerly National Public Radio, is a privately and publicly funded non-profit membership media organization that serves as a national syndicator to a network of 900 public radio stations in the United States. NPR was created in 1970, following congressional passage of the Public Broadcasting...

 radio quiz program Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!
Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!
Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! is an hour-long weekly radio news panel game show produced by Chicago Public Radio and National Public Radio. It is distributed by NPR in the United States, internationally on NPR Worldwide and on the Internet via podcast, and typically broadcast on weekends by member...

in 2007. On October 25, 2008 he appeared on the series premiere of D.L. Hughley Breaks the News
D.L. Hughley Breaks the News
D. L. Hughley Breaks the News was a comedy news show that aired on CNN from October 25, 2008 to March 2009, hosted and head written by comedian D. L. Hughley. On March 9, 2009, CNN announced that Hughley would be ending the show due to a desire to work in Los Angeles and be closer to his family...

, a CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

 comedic news show. In 2009 he appeared as a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, talking about his book The Pluto Files
The Pluto Files
The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet is a book written by astrophysicist and Hayden Planetarium director Neil deGrasse Tyson. The book is about Pluto, which was demoted to the status of dwarf planet in August 2006 by the International Astronomical Union, thereby...

. On June 25, 2009 he appeared as a guest on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon is an American late-night talk show hosted by Jimmy Fallon on NBC. The show premiered on March 2, 2009, as the third incarnation of the Late Night franchise originated by David Letterman....

to promote his book, The Pluto Files
The Pluto Files
The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet is a book written by astrophysicist and Hayden Planetarium director Neil deGrasse Tyson. The book is about Pluto, which was demoted to the status of dwarf planet in August 2006 by the International Astronomical Union, thereby...

and talk about his PBS show, Nova scienceNOW
NOVA scienceNOW
NOVA scienceNOW is a newsmagazine version of the long running and venerable PBS science program Nova. Premiering on January 25, 2005, the series was originally hosted by Robert Krulwich, who described it as an experiment in coverage of "breaking science, science that's right out of the lab, science...

. He has been in two of the Symphony of Science
Symphony of Science
The Symphony of Science is a music project created by Washington-based electronic musician John Boswell. The project seeks to "spread scientific knowledge and philosophy through musical remixes." Boswell uses pitch-corrected audio and video samples from television programs featuring popular...

 videos, We Are All Connected and The Poetry of Reality. In 2010 he appeared on "The Rachel Maddow Show
The Rachel Maddow Show (TV series)
The Rachel Maddow Show is a news and opinion television program that airs weeknights on MSNBC at 9:00 p.m. ET. It is hosted by Rachel Maddow, who gained popularity with her frequent appearances as a liberal pundit on various MSNBC programs. It is based on her former radio show of the same name...

" to discuss Pluto's reclassification, during a recurring segment called "Moment of Geek." He also featured on an episode of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? is a television game show which offers large cash prizes for correctly answering a series of multiple-choice questions of increasing difficulty. The format is owned and licensed by Sony Pictures Television International. The maximum cash prize is one million pounds...

as the ask the expert lifeline. On November 21, 2008, Tyson made a guest appearance
Guest appearance
In show business , a guest appearance is a participation of an outsider performer , usually called guest artist , in an event , i.e., the participation of a performer which does not belong to the regular crew In performance...

 as himself in the episode "Brain Storm" of Stargate Atlantis
Stargate Atlantis
Stargate Atlantis is a Canadian-American adventure and military science fiction television series and part of MGM's Stargate franchise. The show was created by Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper as a spin-off series of Stargate SG-1, which was created by Wright and Jonathan Glassner and was itself...

. and on November 6, 2010 in the episode "The Apology Insufficiency" of The Big Bang Theory
The Big Bang Theory
The Big Bang Theory is an American sitcom created by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady, both of whom serve as executive producers on the show, along with Steven Molaro. All three also serve as head writers...

. On February 4, 2011, Tyson participated as guest at the 201 episode and again at the 223 episode of Real Time with Bill Maher
Real Time with Bill Maher
Real Time with Bill Maher is a talk show that airs weekly on HBO, hosted by comedian and political satirist Bill Maher. Much like his previous show, Politically Incorrect on ABC , Real Time features a panel of guests that discuss current events in politics and the media...

. On November 13, 2011 he answered an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on reddit
Reddit
reddit is a social news website where the registered users submit content, in the form of either a link or a text "self" post. Other users then vote the submission "up" or "down," which is used to rank the post and determine its position on the site's pages and front page.Reddit was originally...

..

Personal life


Tyson lives in Lower Manhattan
Lower Manhattan
Lower Manhattan is the southernmost part of the island of Manhattan, the main island and center of business and government of the City of New York...

 with his wife and two children.

Tyson is a fine wine enthusiast whose collection was featured in the May 2000 issue of the Wine Spectator
Wine Spectator
Wine Spectator is a lifestyle magazine that focuses on wine and wine culture. It publishes 15 issues per year with content that includes news, articles, profiles, and general entertainment pieces...

and the Spring 2005 issue The World of Fine Wine
The World of Fine Wine
The World of Fine Wine, abbreviated WFW, is a British quarterly publication for wine enthusiasts and collectors. Published by Quarto Magazines Ltd, the first issue was released in June 2004. It has been described as "an up-market Decanter, with longer, more in-depth features, more credible tastings...

. He is a self-declared omnivore
Omnivore
Omnivores are species that eat both plants and animals as their primary food source...

.

Awards

  • 2001 Medal of Excellence, Columbia University, New York City
  • 2004 NASA
    NASA
    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

     Distinguished Public Service Medal
  • 2007 Klopsteg Memorial Award
    Klopsteg Memorial Award
    The Klopsteg Memorial Award is given to a notable physicist in memory of Paul E. Klopsteg. Established in 1990, it is awarded by the American Association of Physics Teachers....

     winner
  • 2009 Douglas S. Morrow Public Outreach Award from the Space Foundation
    Space Foundation
    The Space Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports the global space industry through information and education programs. It is a resource for the entire space community - industry, national security organizations, civil space agencies, private space companies and the military around the...

     for significant contributions to public awareness of space programs.
  • 2009 Isaac Asimov award from the American Humanist Association
    American Humanist Association
    The American Humanist Association is an educational organization in the United States that advances Humanism. "Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism and other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that...


Selected honorary doctorates

  • 1997 York College
    York College, City University of New York
    York College of The City University of New York is one of eleven senior colleges in the City University of New York system. It is located in Jamaica, Queens in New York City...

    , City University of New York
    City University of New York
    The City University of New York is the public university system of New York City, with its administrative offices in Yorkville in Manhattan. It is the largest urban university in the United States, consisting of 23 institutions: 11 senior colleges, six community colleges, the William E...

  • 2000 Ramapo College
    Ramapo College
    Ramapo College of New Jersey is a public liberal arts and professional studies institution of the New Jersey system of higher education.- Location :...

    , Mahwah, New Jersey
  • 2000 Dominican College
    Dominican College (New York)
    Dominican College also known as Dominican College of Blauvelt is an independent, four-year and master's-level liberal arts college, chartered by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York and fully accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools,...

    , Orangeburg, New York
  • 2001 University of Richmond
    University of Richmond
    The University of Richmond is a selective, private, nonsectarian, liberal arts university located on the border of the city of Richmond and Henrico County, Virginia. The University of Richmond is a primarily undergraduate, residential university with approximately 4,000 undergraduate and graduate...

    , Richmond, Virginia
  • 2002 Bloomfield College
    Bloomfield College
    Bloomfield College is a four-year private liberal arts college located in Bloomfield, New Jersey. Bloomfield College is chartered by the State of New Jersey and accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools...

    , Bloomfield, New Jersey
  • 2003 Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2004 College of Staten Island
    College of Staten Island
    The College of Staten Island is a four-year, senior college of and is one of the 11 senior colleges in the City University of New York. Programs in the liberal arts and sciences and professional studies lead to bachelor's and associate's degrees. The master's degree is awarded in 13 professional...

    , City University of New York
  • 2006 Pace University
    Pace University
    Pace University is an American private, co-educational, and comprehensive multi-campus university in the New York metropolitan area with campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York.-Programs:...

    , New York City
  • 2007 Williams College
    Williams College
    Williams College is a private liberal arts college located in Williamstown, Massachusetts, United States. It was established in 1793 with funds from the estate of Ephraim Williams. Originally a men's college, Williams became co-educational in 1970. Fraternities were also phased out during this...

    , Williamstown, Massachusetts
  • 2008 University of Pennsylvania
    University of Pennsylvania
    The University of Pennsylvania is a private, Ivy League university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Penn is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States,Penn is the fourth-oldest using the founding dates claimed by each institution...

    , Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 2010 University of Alabama in Huntsville
    University of Alabama in Huntsville
    The University of Alabama in Huntsville is a state-supported, public, coeducational research university, located in Huntsville, Alabama, United States, is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award baccalaureate, master's and doctoral degrees, and is organized in five...

    , Huntsville, Alabama
  • 2010 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    Stephen Van Rensselaer established the Rensselaer School on November 5, 1824 with a letter to the Rev. Dr. Samuel Blatchford, in which van Rensselaer asked Blatchford to serve as the first president. Within the letter he set down several orders of business. He appointed Amos Eaton as the school's...

    , Troy, New York
  • 2010 Eastern Connecticut State University
    Eastern Connecticut State University
    Eastern Connecticut State University is a public, coeducational liberal arts university and is a member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges. Eastern is located in Willimantic, Connecticut on . Founded in 1889, it is the second-oldest campus in the Connecticut State University System...

    , Willimantic, Connecticut
  • 2011 Gettysburg College
    Gettysburg College
    Gettysburg College is a private four-year liberal arts college founded in 1832, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, United States, adjacent to the famous battlefield. Its athletic teams are nicknamed the Bullets. Gettysburg College has about 2,700 students, with roughly equal numbers of men and women...

    , Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Honors

  • 2000 Sexiest Astrophysicist Alive, People Magazine
  • 2001 Asteroid named: 13123 Tyson
    13123 Tyson
    13123 Tyson is a main-belt asteroid discovered on May 16, 1994 by C. S. Shoemaker and D. H. Levy at Palomar Observatory. It is named after Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and director of the Hayden Planetarium.- External links :*...

    , renamed from Asteroid 1994KA by the International Astronomical Union
    International Astronomical Union
    The International Astronomical Union IAU is a collection of professional astronomers, at the Ph.D. level and beyond, active in professional research and education in astronomy...

    .
  • 2001 The Tech 100, voted by editors of Crain's Magazine to be among the 100 most influential technology leaders in New York.
  • 2004 50 Most Important African-Americans in Research Science.
  • 2007 Harvard 100: Most Influential Harvard Alumni Magazine, Cambridge. Massachusetts
  • 2007 The Time 100
    Time 100
    Time 100 is an annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, as assembled by Time. First published in 1999 as a result of a debate among several academics, the list has become an annual event.-History and format:...

    , voted by the Editors of Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
  • 2008 Discover Magazine selected him one of the '50 Best Brains in Science'.

Selected books by Tyson


List of books by Tyson
  • Space Chronicles (2012) ISBN 0393082104
  • The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet
    The Pluto Files
    The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet is a book written by astrophysicist and Hayden Planetarium director Neil deGrasse Tyson. The book is about Pluto, which was demoted to the status of dwarf planet in August 2006 by the International Astronomical Union, thereby...

    (2009) ISBN 0393065200
  • Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries (2007) ISBN 0393330168
  • The Sky Is Not the Limit: Adventures of an Urban Astrophysicist (1st ed. 2000 / 2nd ed. 2004) ISBN 9781591021889
  • Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution (co-authored with Donald Goldsmith) (2004) ISBN 0393327582
  • My Favorite Universe (A twelve part lecture series) (2003) ISBN 1565856635
  • City of Stars: A New Yorker's Guide to the Cosmos (2002)
  • Cosmic Horizons: Astronomy at the Cutting Edge (2000) ISBN 1565846029
  • One Universe: At Home in the Cosmos (2000) ISBN 0309064880
  • Just Visiting This Planet (1998) ISBN 0385488378
  • Universe Down to Earth (1994)
  • Merlin's Tour of the Universe (1989)

External links