Neil deGrasse Tyson is an American astrophysicist, planetary scientist, author, and science communicator who was born on October 5, 1958.
He studied at Harvard University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Columbia University.
He has held numerous positions at institutions including the University of Maryland, Princeton University, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Hayden Planetarium. Tyson’s research has focused on observations in cosmology, stellar evolution, galactic astronomy, bulges, and stellar formation. working with data from the Hubble Space Telescope, as well as from telescopes in California, New Mexico, Arizona, and the Andes Mountains of Chile.
In March 2012, Tyson testified before the United States Senate Science Committee, stating: “Right now, NASA’s annual budget is half a penny on your tax dollar. For twice that—a penny on a dollar—we can transform the country from a sullen, dispirited nation, weary of economic struggle, to one where it has reclaimed its 20th-century birthright to dream of tomorrow”.
Inspired by Tyson’s advocacy and remarks, Penny4NASA, a campaign of the Space Advocates nonprofit, was founded in 2012 by John Zeller and advocates the doubling of NASA’s budget to one percent of the federal budget.
One of Tyson’s most notable (and controversial) contributions was his declaration that Pluto should not be considered the ninth planet of our solar system. Tyson removed Pluto from the display of planets at the Hayden Planetarium, calling it a dwarf planet. Based on this move, in 2006, the International Astronomical Union followed suit and officially named Pluto a dwarf planet.
As the most notable African American physicist in the field, Neil deGrasse Tyson has increased diversity in the scientific community and has encouraged many people of colour to enter STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields.
Tyson’s contributions to science include leading the renovation of the Hayden Planetarium, and the demotion of Pluto to a dwarf planet. He also served on NASA’s Advisory Council and has been a role model in various STEM fields. He recounts history (accuracy of Cosmos notwithstanding), talks about modern space exploration, and looks toward where we will go next. He has also published several Research papers like “On the possibility of Gas-Rich Dwarf Galaxies in the Lyman-alpha Forest”, “UVBY Photometry of Blue Stragglers in NGC 7789”, “Bursting Dwarf Galaxies: Implications for Luminosity Function” and many more.
One of his significant publication is “COSMOS: Hubble Space Telescope Observations”.
The Cosmic Evolution Survey (COSMOS) was initiated with an extensive allocation (590 orbits in Cycles 12-13) using the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) for high-resolution imaging. Here he reviewed the characteristics of the HST imaging with the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and parallel observations with NICMOS and WFPC2. A square field (1.8 deg2) has been imaged with single-orbit ACS I-band F814W exposures with 50% completeness for sources 0.5” in diameter at IAB = 26.0 mag. The ACS is a key part of the COSMOS survey, providing very high sensitivity and high-resolution (0.09” FWHM and 0.05” pixels) imaging and detecting a million objects. These images yield resolved morphologies for several hundred thousand galaxies. The small HST PSF also provides greatly enhanced sensitivity for weak-lensing investigations of the dark matter distribution.
Along with several research papers, Tyson also published several books on astrophysics like Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Death by Black Hole, Origins, Space Chronicles, The Pluto Files and many more.
Tyson also appeared in several TV and Web shows. Tyson had guest appearances in The Big Bang Theory, Gravity Falls, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Zoolander 2, Ice Age: Collision Course, Family Guy, BoJack Horseman, The Simpsons, Salvation and Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?.
2001 Medal of Excellence, Columbia University, New York City
2004 NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal
2005 Science Writing Award
2007 Klopsteg Memorial Award winner
2009 Douglas S. Morrow Public Outreach Award
2009 Isaac Asimov Award from the American Humanist Association
2014 Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Reality Show Host
2014 Dunlap Prize
2015 Public Welfare Medal from the National Academy of Sciences
2015 Cosmos Award, Planetary Society
2017 Hubbard Medal, National Geographic Society
2017 Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication, Starmus
2017 Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album nomination for Astrophysics for People in a Hurry