Name: Neil deGrasse Tyson
Title/Occupation: Astrophysicist and Science Communicator
Organization: Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium
What Makes The Person A Game Changer:
Neil deGrasse Tyson is an American astrophysicist and science communicator. He is currently the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space, and a research associate in the department of astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History. Since 2006 he has hosted the educational science television show NOVA scienceNOW on PBS, and has been a frequent guest on The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Real Time with Bill Maher, and Jeopardy!. In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed Tyson to serve on the Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry and in 2004 to serve on the President’s Commission on Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy. Soon after he was awarded the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by NASA.
Born and raised in New York City, Neil DeGrasse Tyson discovered his love for the stars at an early age. After studying at Harvard University, he earned his doctorate from Columbia University in 1991.
In addition to his work at the planetarium, Tyson has found other ways of improving the nation’s scientific literacy. “One of my goals is to bring the universe down to Earth in a way that further excites the audience to want more,” he once said. To this end, 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 Favorite 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.