Neil deGrasse Tyson is an American astrophysicist, science communicator, and author. He stands out, especially as one of the most famous science writers and popularisers.
“Science is a cooperative enterprise, extending from generation to generation. It is the passing of the torch from the teacher to the student, to the teacher… A community of minds reaching back to ancient times and onward to the stars.”
Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of the most renowned figures in the world of science. Not only for his contributions to astrophysics but also for complying extraordinarily with one of the most important scientific principles: science is by and for people.
Neil deGrasse Tyson and many other popularizers of science have put (and continue to put) science at the service of people, something essential not only to arouse in us an interest in learning but also to make us understand in simple way concepts that, surely, escape of our knowledge.
In today’s article, we will pay our small tribute to this astrophysicist, writer, and scientific popularizer, especially known for collecting the legacy of his mentor, Carl Sagan, and presenting the famous series “Cosmos”. And in addition to this informative aspect, Neil deGrasse Tyson has made many contributions to the world of astronomy. Let’s see who he is and what this scientific figure has done so far.
Biography Of Neil deGrasse Tyson (1958 – present)
Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of the best popularisers of science today. Writer of 14 popular science books and recipient of dozens of awards and decorations, this American astrophysicist is one of the most renowned scientific figures.
Let’s see how Neil deGrasse Tyson’s life has been and what led him to become no longer famous in scientific circles, but almost a figure of popular culture.
Neil deGrasse Tyson was born on October 5, 1958, in New York City. He grew up in the well-known neighborhood of the Bronx in a family in which his father was a sociologist and his mother was a gerontologist, that is, she was dedicated to caring for the elderly. He was the second of three brothers. Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s height of 1.88 meters.
He enrolled in the Bronx High School of Science, where he did his high school studies. However, he was already very clear (according to him, since he was 9 years old) that his true passion was astronomy. On a visit to a planetarium, Neil deGrasse Tyson was amazed by the secrets of the Cosmos, something that would greatly mark his professional career.
While continuing his studies, Neil deGrasse Tyson began to study astronomy. But it was also at this time that his will to disclose was awakened. And it is that at the age of 15, he began to “make noise” in the scientific community by giving presentations in which he explained topics that interested him about the Universe.
And it was at this time that he met what would be his mentor: the famous doctor Carl Sagan. Perhaps, the greatest reference in terms of scientific dissemination, since he was the one who established its pillars of it. Sagan invited Neil deGrasse Tyson to study at his university, Cornell University, but he ultimately decided to go to Harvard.
Thus, Neil deGrasse Tyson began studying physics at the University and graduated in 1980. At that time, he traveled to the University of Texas to pursue a master’s degree in astronomy, which he would obtain in 1983. However, life in the laboratory did not excite him, so the idea of doing a doctorate was parked.
Tyson was working as a professor of astronomy at the University of Maryland until 1987. He left it because the possibility of a postgraduate degree in astrophysics at Columbia University arose, which he quickly accepted. He obtained the degree of an astrophysicist in 1989, the same year in which he published his first informative book: “Merlin’s Tour of the Universe”
At that moment he decided that it was a good time to do his Ph.D., becoming a doctor of astrophysics in 1991. His doctoral thesis was so interesting that NASA itself financed its preparation.
At that time, Tyson began his scientific research, which has focused on star formation, galactic bulges (clumps of stars found at the center of spiral galaxies), the origin of the Universe, the changes that stars undergo As they age, the nature of the Milky Way…
During the 1990s he wrote a couple of more informative books, although this phase of his life would not yet be so strongly marked by popularization, since he was focused on research in astrophysics.
In 1994 he was hired as a researcher at the Hayden Planetarium, located in New York and one of the most famous in the world. Curiously, it was precisely here that Tyson fell in love with astronomy as a child. And years later, having already become a renowned astrophysicist, he returned to work.
In 1995 he began writing for the magazine “Natural History”, one of the most reputable scientific magazines, which was founded in the year 1900. Tyson regularly wrote a column in the magazine that had the name “Universe”, where the scientist dealt with different topics of astronomy with its recognized informative character. At the same time, he continued his research at the Hayden Planetarium, where it took him just two years to become a director.
The 4 Main Contributions Of Neil Degrasse Tyson To Science
As we have said, Neil deGrasse Tyson continues to dedicate his life to the study of the Universe and popularizing science. He is the author of 17 books and has received dozens of honors and decorations for his service to both astrophysics and its communication of it with the people. Let’s see, then, his main contributions not only to science but to society in general.
Publication Of Informative Books
Since 1989, Neil deGrasse Tyson has published a total of 17 informative books that deal with topics very different from astrophysics.
Participation In Programs, Documentaries, And Series
Although many of his works have been sales successes if Neil deGrasse Tyson is recognized for something, it is for his television appearances. His close language, his expressions, his way of communicating, his sense of humor, the simplicity with which he talks about astrophysics issues, his charisma… All this makes him the perfect person to disseminate science in programs, documentaries, and series.
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Pluto Is Not A Planet
Neil deGrasse Tyson also stands out for not being afraid of being controversial. And this is the clearest example of it. Knowing that he would receive criticism from both the scientific community and society in general, Tyson was one of the main drivers for Pluto to stop being considered a planet.
Life On Earth Will Not End
Again unafraid of being controversial, Tyson claims that while climate change is absolutely real, it will never cause life to die out. He says that the Earth has recovered from much worse disasters and that, in the end, life always finds a way.
Neil deGrasse Tyson has made countless contributions to the world of astrophysics that have earned him dozens of honors, medals, awards, and decorations. We cannot detail all these contributions in the article, but we must remember that, even though the purest scientific investigations do not (unfortunately) earn as much popularity in society, they are vital for our knowledge about the Universe to increase.