Neil deGrasse Tyson
Neil deGrasse Tyson was born and raised in New York City, where he was educated in the public schools, all the way through his graduation from the Bronx High School of Science. Tyson went on to earn his B.A. in physics from Harvard, and his PhD in astrophysics from Columbia.
His professional research interests are broad, but include star formation, exploding stars, dwarf galaxies and the structure of our Milky Way. In 2001, Tyson was appointed by President Bush to serve on a 12-member commission that studied the Future of the U.S. Aerospace Industry. The final report was published in 2002 and contained recommendations (for Congress and for the major agencies of the government) that would promote a thriving future of transportation, space exploration and national security.
In 2004, Tyson was once again appointed by President Bush to serve on a nine-member commission on the implementation of the United States space exploration policy, dubbed the Moon, Mars and Beyond commission. This group navigated a path by which the new space vision can become a successful part of the American agenda. And in 2006, the head of NASA appointed Tyson to serve on its prestigious Advisory Council, which will help guide NASA through its perennial need to fit its ambitious vision into its restricted budget.
In addition to dozens of professional publications, Tyson has written, and continues to write for the public. From 1995 to 2005, Tyson was a monthly essayist for Natural History magazine, under the title “Universe.” Among Tyson’s 15 books are his memoir, “The Sky is Not the Limit: Adventures of an Urban Astrophysicist,” and “Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution,” co-written with Donald Goldsmith. “Origins” is the companion book to the 2004 public television mini-series “Origins,” for which Tyson served as on-camera host. Two of Tyson's recent books are the playful and informative “Death By Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandaries,” which was a New York Times bestseller, and “The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet,” chronicling his experience at the center of the controversy over Pluto’s planetary status. The public television documentary “The Pluto Files,” based on the book, premiered in 2010. In February 2012, Tyson released his tenth book, “Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier,” which contained every thought he has ever had on the past, present and future of space exploration. His 2017 book, “Astrophysics for People In a Hurry,” was an international best-seller, followed by two other best-sellers: “Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military” and “Letters from an Astrophysicist,” containing one hundred letters to the public in response to questions that probe the human condition, with answers drawn from a cosmic perspective on life.
For five seasons, beginning in the fall of 2006, Tyson appeared as the on-camera host of public television program “NOVA ScienceNOW,” which is an accessible look at the frontier of all the science that shapes the understanding of our place in the universe.
During the summer of 2009, Tyson identified a stable of professional stand-up comedians to assist his effort in bringing science to commercial radio with the National Science Foundation-funded pilot program “StarTalk.” Now also a popular podcast, in addition to a limited-run cable television series, “StarTalk” combines celebrity guests with informative, yet playful banter. The series was nominated for an Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Informational Series or Special for four consecutive years (2015-2018).
Tyson is the recipient of 21 honorary doctorates and the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest award given by NASA to a non-government citizen. His contributions to the public appreciation of the cosmos have been recognized by the International Astronomical Union in its official naming of asteroid 13123 “Tyson,” and in the naming of a species of leaping frog “Indirana Tyson.”
In addition to his work on COSMOS: POSSIBLE WORLDS, Tyson served as executive editor and on-camera host of FOX’s 2014 series, “COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey.” The series won four Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award and two Critics’ Choice awards, as well as a dozen other industry recognitions. Tyson is the fifth head of the world-renowned Hayden Planetarium in New York City and the first occupant of its Frederick P. Rose Directorship. He also is a research associate in the Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History.