Neil DeGrasse Tyson
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Neil deGrasse Tyson is an American astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, and science communicator.
Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson hosted NOVA ScienceNow and appeared on such shows as The Daily Show and Real Time with Bill Maher.
One of America's best-known scientists, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has spent much of his career sharing his knowledge with others. He has a great talent for presenting complex concepts in a clear and accessible manner.
Tyson grew up in New York City. When he was nine, he took a trip to the Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Natural History where he got his first taste of stargazing. Tyson later took classes at the Planetarium and got his own telescope. As a teenager, he would watch the skies from the roof of his apartment building.
An excellent student, Tyson graduated from the Bronx High School of Science in 1976. He then earned a bachelor's degree in Physics from Harvard University and a doctorate in astrophysics from Columbia University in 1991. After spending a few years doing post-doctorate work at Princeton University, Tyson landed a job at the Hayden Planetarium and eventually became the director.
One of Tyson's most controversial decisions at the time was the removal of Pluto from the display of planets. He classified Pluto as a dwarf planet, which invoked a strong response from some visitors. While some asked for the planet Pluto back, the International Astronomical Union followed Tyson's lead in 2006. The organization officially labelled Pluto as a dwarf planet.
Tyson has written several books for the general public, including Death by Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandaries and The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favourite Planet. He has taken his message to the airwaves as well, serving as the host of PBS's NOVA ScienceNow documentary series from 2006 to 2011. In addition to breaking down barriers between scientists and the general public, Tyson has brought diversity to astrophysics. He is one of the few African Americans in his field.
These days, Tyson is one of the most in-demand science experts. He gives talks across the country and is a media favourite whenever there is an important science issue making news. Tyson is known for his ability to make difficult concepts accessible to every audience, his oratory skills and his sense of humour which has led to appearances on such shows as Real Time with Bill Maher, The Colbert Report and The Daily Show. He also hosts his own podcast StarTalk.