Neil deGrasse Tyson is a leading astrophysicist, planetary scientist, author, and science communicator. The fifth head of the world-renowned Hayden Planetarium in New York City, he is the first occupant of its Frederick P. Rose Directorship. He is also a Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History research associate.
Educated in public schools in New York City, Neil deGrasse Tyson went on to earn his BA in Physics from Harvard University. From there he went on to earn a Ph.D. in Astrophysics at Columbia.
President Bush appointed Neil deGrasse Tyson to serve on a twelve-member commission in 2001. Their task was to study the future of the U.S. Aerospace industry. The final 2002 report contained various recommendations for both Congress and various government agencies regarding the future of transportation, space exploration, and national security.
Two years later, i.e., 2004, saw Neil deGrasse Tyson once more appointed by President Bush to serve on a nine-member commission. The task was to implement the U.S. Space Exploration Policy. It was dubbed the Moon, Stars, and Beyond commission. In 2006, he was appointed to serve on NASA’s advisory council. The council guides the space agency in aligning its visions with budgets.
Someone with dozens of professional publications to his name, Neil de Grasse Tyson was a monthly essayist for Natural History magazine and is a New York Times bestselling author with fifteen books written thus far. One of these, Origins, is the companion book to the PBS NOVA four-part mini-series Origins. In it, he serves as the on-camera host. He also appeared as the on-camera host of the spinoff programme NOVA ScienceNow.
In 2009, Neil deGrasse Tyson identified professional standup comedians who could assist in bringing science to commercial radio. This was for the NSF-funded pilot programme StarTalk which has become a popular podcast while running for three years as a television series on the National Geographic Channel. The programme, during its first year on television, was nominated for a Best Informational Programming Emmy Award.
This was not his only television work, however. He has also served as Executive Science Editor and on-camera host and narrator for Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey. The series was a continuation of Carl Sagan’s landmark television series and aired on the FOX network. It appeared in almost two-hundred countries and was translated into forty-five languages. The show won four Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award, and two Critics Choice awards. He also appeared in the next season of Cosmos on the National Geographic Channel and Fox network.
The recipient of twenty-one honorary doctorates, Neil deGrasse Tyson also received the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal. It is the highest award NASA gives to non-government citizens. His efforts toward the public appreciation of the cosmos have seen him recognised by the International Astronomical Union in their naming of an asteroid in his honour. Zoologists have honored him by naming a native Indian frog species after him as well. He was also voted the Sexiest Astrophysicist alive by People Magazine in 2000.
As a speaker, Neil deGrasse Tyson leaves no stone unturned, focusing on diverse topics spanning the realms of science, religion, philosophy, and many others. He lives in the United States and presents in English.