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  Name:   Neil de Grasse Tyson
Month: April 2003
Schools: Columbia '91, Ph.D.
Univ. of Texas '83 M.A.
Harvard '80 B.A.
Organization: Hayden Planetarium
Title: Director

Establishing a reputation as both an eminent astrophysicist and a writer who makes complex scientific concepts accessible to the layperson, Neil de Grasse Tyson has been a highly visible figure on the science scene through his writings, research efforts and television appearances. As current director of the famed Hayden Planetarium in New York City, the Bronx-born Dr. Tyson helps bring a greater knowledge and appreciation of astronomy to thousands of people each year.

Tyson's professional research interests are varied, but they primarily address problems related to star formation models for dwarf galaxies, exploding stars, and the chemical evolution history of the Milky Way's galactic bulge. Tyson obtains his data from telescopes in California, New Mexico, Arizona, and in the Andes Mountains of Chile.

In addition to dozens of professional publications, Dr. Tyson has written, and continues to write for the public. And since January 1995, has become a monthly essayist for Natural History magazine under the title "Universe." Tyson's six books include a memoir, The Sky is Not the Limit: Adventures of an Urban Astrophysicist; the companion book to the opening of the new Rose Center for Earth and Space, One Universe: At Home in the Cosmos (coauthored with Charles Liu and Robert Irion); and a playful Q&A book on the universe for all ages titled Just Visiting This Planet. Tyson's first book, Merlin's Tour of the Universe, published while Tyson was still in graduate school, has been translated into Spanish, German, Polish, Italian, Chinese, Portuguese and Japanese.

Dr. Tyson is the youngest-ever director of New York City's Hayden Planetarium and is a Visiting Research Scientist in astrophysics at Princeton University, where he also teaches. Tyson's contributions to the public appreciation of the cosmos have recently been recognized by the International Astronomical Union in their official naming of asteroid "13123 Tyson" in November, 2000.

Dr. Tyson himself is very active in the community to promote increased scientific literacy and better funding for science in schools and public institutions. He is involved in several programs that bring science to inner-city schoolchildren and, as chairman of the Hayden Planetarium, he makes a point of being available to children visiting the facility who have a budding interest in astronomy. Tyson has numerous honorary degrees and is on the 12-member selection committee for the Presidential Medal of Science. He is also On-Camera host, narrator and Executive Editor for the in-Production PBS-NOVA series "Origins" (on the origin of the universe, galaxies, stars, planets, and life). Tyson lives in New York City with his wife and two children.

 

 

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