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Neil deGrasse Tyson

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"I pity the fool who still refers to Pluto as the ninth planet."
The poetry of reality
Icon science.svg
We must know.
We will know.
A view from the
shoulders of giants.

Neil deGrasse Tyson (born 1958) is a badass[1] astrophysicist and public intellectual. Tyson is one of the most prominent advocates of science and science education in the United States today.

Tyson attended public schools before going on to earn a BA in physics from Harvard University and a PhD in astrophysics from Columbia.[2]

Legend has it Tyson was instrumental in downgrading Pluto to dwarf planet status — however, this is vehemently denied by Tyson.[3]

Carl Sagan[edit]

In his adolescent years, Tyson knew the famous astronomer Carl Sagan, whom Tyson credits as a huge influence on him. At one point, Sagan tried to get Tyson to attend Cornell University.

When Tyson was seventeen years old, he spent a day with Sagan, in which the two conversed on matters of astronomy. According to Tyson, Sagan allowed him to spend the night at his home because Tyson had missed his bus back to where he was living in the Bronx, New York.[4]

On television[edit]

In 2014, Tyson hosted a sequel to Carl Sagan's Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, titled Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.[5] Unfortunately for viewers and historians all over the world, Tyson never decided to pursue a minor in history, so he is prone to gaffes like the myth that people in the 'Dark Ages' didn't know the Earth was round[6] or that lead pipes killed the Romans.[7]

He has also hosted the show NOVA ScienceNOW on PBS, which discusses recent topics in science.[8]

He has also made frequent appearances as a guest on popular television shows, including The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and Real Time with Bill Maher.

In an interview on MSNBC, Tyson expressed his worry that we might be witnessing the "unraveling of an informed democracy." [9]


Despite frequent claims that he is an atheist,[10] Tyson professes to being an agnostic (particularly disliking the "in your face" attitude of New Atheism), stating: "The only 'ist' I am is a scientist."[11] Blasphemy!

However, he still professes methodological materialism as necessary to scientific advancement:

The day you stop looking because you're content Goddidit, I don't need you in the lab. You’re useless on the frontier of understanding the nature of the world.
—Responding to a rather famous mouthspewing from Bill O'Reilly.[12]

Watch out, we got a badass over here![edit]

Tyson is well-loved by the Internet, and is the driving force behind a popular meme sarcastically calling out Internet tough guys.[13]

He is also all over the yootubez. We will leave it up to you to copy and paste his name there.

Tyson also qualifies for this himself, as he was an accomplished Greco-Roman wrestler. He went undefeated in high school and served as the captain of the Harvard wrestling team.[1]

Neil is also known for occasionally battling pseudoscience, and was targeted by rapper B.o.B. in January 2016 after Tyson responded to erroneous statements the rapper had made in which he claims the Earth is flat. After B.o.B. wrote a song aimed at Tyson, Tyson and his rapper nephew Stephen responded by releasing a song titled "Flat to Fact", which debunked every point made by B.o.B. Tyson also appeared on The Nightly Show, where he stated in response to B.o.B., "It's a fundamental fact of calculus and non-Euclidean geometry. Small sections of large curved surfaces will always look flat to little creatures that crawl upon it… And by the way, this is called gravity", dropping his mic.[14]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]