Synopsis Born and brought up in New York City, astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson discovered his love for the space and starts at the tender age of nine. He earned his doctorate degree from Columbia University in 1991 after studying at Harvard University (Neil, 2012). Tyson started working for the Hayden Planetarium in 1996 where he still serves as the director. He has hosted a science television show NOVA ScienceNow since 1996 on PBS. Tyson remains of the most popular TV science expert of his time
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, one of the most known America’s scientists has spent much of his career engaging others in knowledge exchange. He is blessed with the talent of presenting complex concepts in a vivid and accessible manner. Neil was born in a family of three which grew up in New York City (Neil, 2012). At the age of nine while on a trip to Hayden Planetarium, he got the first chance to see a star-gazing at the Museum of Natural History and become fascinated. He later attended classes at the Planetarium and acquired his telescope. At an early age, he was able to watch the skies through the window and roof of his apartment.
Tyson was an excellent student and graduated from Bronx High School of Science in 1976. He then went to Harvard University where he earned a degree in Physics and later Columbia University where he got a doctorate in astrophysics in 1991 (Tyson, & Donald, 2004). Following his doctorate, he spent five years doing his post-doctorate work at Princeton University before finding a job at Hayden Planetarium.
Tyson has done several researches focusing in evolution, stellar formation as well as galactic astronomy and cosmology. He has also held a number of positions in institutions including Princeton University, University of Maryland, the American Museum of Natural History, and Hayden Planetarium. As the director of the Planetarium, Tyson was done extensive work on renovation of the facility including its design and fundraising for the project. The project was completed in 200 at a cost of $210 million. One of the controversial decisions of the time made by Tyson was for removal of Pluto from the display of planets. His argument was that Pluto was a dwarf planet that invoked a strong response from visitors and had to be removed.
In addition to his work on the Planetarium, Tyson has written a number of literatures on science. In one of his speeches, Tyson stressed that his main goal was to bring the universe down to earth in manner that is interesting to the audience and capture their attention. He publishes his first six books in 1988. Tyson’s area of focus included exploding stars, star formation, dwarf galaxies and the structure of the Milky Way. He conducts his research using telescope and the Hubble Space Scope while traveling around the world. He has also written a series of essays in Natural History Magazine as well as books.
Some of the books that have been directed to the general public include, The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet and Death by Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandaries (Neil, 2012). He also served as a host of NOVA ScienceNow on OBS, a documentary series aired from 2006 to 2011. In addition to bridging the gap between the public and scientists, Tyson has brought diversity in this field. In his neighborhood as he recalls, African Americans were thought to as athletes rather than scholars.
Tyson has also served as a presidential advisor when President George W. Bush appointed him in 2001 to Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry. In 2004, he again served in another commission charged with the responsibility of examining the US’s space exploration policy. Tyson is one of most in-demand science experts today. He holds talks across the country and a point of reference to the media whenever an important issue makes news. He is famous for his ability to simplify difficult concepts to the audience; his sense of humor and oratory skills has made him appear on shows such as Colbert Report, Real Time with Bill Maher, and The Daily Show. Tyson is the host of his own StarTalk (Neil, 2012).
Tyson is now working on bringing back a classic science documentary, Cosmos, to TV. The documentary’s original version featured Carl Sagan as the host and presented to the general audience with concepts for clear understanding of the origin of life and the universe. The documentary series is expected to hit the screens in 2013 (Neil, 2012). The International Astronomical Union recently recognized his efforts and contributions to the public appreciation of the cosmos in their official naming of asteroid “13123 Tyson”
Tyson is married with two children and lives in New York City. Out of his scientific life, Tyson is a passionate collector of writing instruments (Neil, 2012a). His interests include wrestling, collecting fine wines, and studying the stars.
Neil deGrasse Tyson (2012). Called by the universe. The Science Network. Retrieved August 24, 2012. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKOoTRE1HUc#t=17m19s
Neil deGrasse Tyson. (2012). Biography.com. Retrieved 03:05, Aug 23, 2012 from http://www.biography.com/people/neil-degrasse-tyson-20766239
Tyson, N. & Donald, G. (2004). Origins: fourteen billion years of cosmic evolution. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.