Neil deGrasse Tyson

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"I pity the fool who still refers to Pluto as the ninth planet."
The poetry of reality
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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]

In 2018, Tyson receieved allegations of sexual misconduct caused by a blogpost published on patheos. He is being investigated by Fox (yes, the same Fox that owns the GOP-biased news channel; it'll be better if they lay their grubby hands off this) and National Geographic.

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]

Accusations of sexual misconduct[edit]

Three women have accused Tyson of sexual misconduct:

  • Tchiya Amet, a "musician, healer, and teacher"[15] said she studied Galactic Astronomy in the graduate program at the University of Texas in Austin and she wanted to become the first black female astronaut. She claimed she was a grad student at the same time Tyson was there, and that he drugged and raped her.[16] She also said Tyson was the reason she didn’t further pursue her dream of reaching the stars and becoming a full-fledged astrophysicist, and accused him of telling students they could pass Astronomy 101 if they gave him a blow job.
  • Dr. Katelyn N. Allers, Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Bucknell University[17] said that she was "felt up" by Tyson at an after-party following a meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in 2009. Precisely, she said that: "Tyson was there, and he was dancing and drinking and all of that at the party, so a friend and I decided to get pictures with him [...] After we had taken the picture, he noticed my tattoo and kind of grabbed me to look at it, and was really obsessed about whether I had Pluto on this tattoo or not… and then he looked for Pluto, and followed the tattoo into my dress."[18] AAS didn’t have a mechanism for reporting sexual harassment at the time, but Dr. Allers says she probably would report the incident if it had happened today.[18]
  • Ashley Watson, a former assistant to Tyson said she was forced to quit her job due to his inappropriate sexual advances.
  • An anonymous woman told BuzzFeed News that in January 2010, she joined her then-boyfriend at a holiday party for employees of the American Museum of Natural History and Tyson, drunkenly approached her, making sexual jokes and propositioning her to join him alone in his office.[19]

After these accusations, Fox Entertainment Group and the producers of the television series "Cosmos" said they were investigating the celebrity astrophysicist.[20] Tyson denied the accusations[21] and said he will cooperate fully with an "impartial investigation".[22]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 11 Reasons Why Neil DeGrasse Tyson is a Badass
  2. Bio and Curriculum Vitae, Hayden Planetarium
  4. "A Successor to Sagan Reboots 'Cosmos'". New York Times. March 3, 2014. Retrieved March 17, 2014. 
  5. Cosmos Will Get a Sequel Hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Wired
  8. About the Series Host, PBS
  9. Neil deGrasse Tyson: We Are Witnessing the "Unraveling of An Informed Democracy." MSNBC. September 20, 2017.
  10. Including all of us here for over a year.
  11. Neil deGrasse Tyson: Atheist or Agnostic?, Big Think (with transcript)
  12. Neil DeGrasse Tyson Destroys Bill O'Reilly
  13. "Neil deGrasse Tyson Reaction" on Know Your Meme
  14. Lauren Said-Moorhouse (2016-01-29). "Neil deGrasse Tyson fires back at B.o.B with epic mic drop". CNN. Retrieved 2016-01-29. 
  16. "Neil DeGrasse Tyson Accused of Raping a Former Student". Patheos. October 25, 2017. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 "Two More Women Accuse Neil deGrasse Tyson of Sexual Misconduct". Patheos. November 29, 2018. 
  19. "Nobody Believed Neil deGrasse Tyson's First Accuser. Now There Are Three More". BuzzFeed News. December 5, 2018. 
  20. "Neil deGrasse Tyson under investigation after accusations of sexual misconduct". Washington Post. December 1, 2018. 
  21. "On Being Accused". Neil deGrasse Tyson's Facebook page. December 1, 2018. 
  22. "Neil deGrasse Tyson denies sexual misconduct allegations". Washington Post. December 1, 2018.