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There are very, very few African-American astrophysics PhDs. That’s for a reason. I was doing something people of my skin color were not supposed to do.
I was stopped and questioned seven times by University police on my way into the physics building,” he explained. “Seven times. Zero times was I stopped going into the gym — and I went to the gym a lot. That says all you need to know about how welcome I felt at Texas."
The dude under the sideburns and ‘fro in this photo
eventually became this man, our Crush Of The Week.
Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson does with science—specifically the Universe—for the general audience what Bill Nye the Science Guy does with science for the ‘tween set: makes it accessible, if not fun. At the same time, Dr. Tyson gets major props from his academic cohorts in the physics and astrophysics communities for the work he does, though sometimes the public may not appreciate his upending what they’ve been taught, like the idea that Pluto isn’t the ninth planet in this solar system. (He blames this on the confluence of the discovery of Pluto in 1930 and Walt Disney creating the cartoon character of Pluto the same year.)
The Manhattan-born, Bronx-reared son of a housewife-turned-gerontologist mother and sociologist father, Dr. Tyson stated he felt “called by the Universe” to be its pupil when he visited the Hayden Planetarium when her was a child. He studied astrophysics at the Bronx High School of Science (a public school that he’s shouted out in interviews and lectures), got his undergrad degree in physics at Harvard, and got his master’s degree and PhD in astrophysics from Columbia University.
And the Universe has paid him well and in many ways for being its pupil and teaching others about it: he has several books; hosted PBS’ NOVA scienceNOW; earned several honorary degrees; appeared on shows as The Daily Show, The Colbert Report (and even got shouted out by Colbert in his book, I Am America (And So Are You), Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, The Rachel Maddow Show, and Stargate Atlantis. Oh yeah: he was voted “Sexiest Astrophysicist” by People Magazine and got an asteroid named after him.
And Dr. Tyson stays teaching: among other things, he returned to the place where he received his calling as the director of the Hayden Planetarium and has the radio show/podcast StarTalk, where he joshes with performers while dropping knowledge on them—and us—on the everything that is the Universe.
And from the official Racialicious Blog Post, this video, in which Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson is an immaculate human:
Excuse me, I am having some feelings.
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