Neil DeGrasse Tyson

We are about to wrap up Space Science July in America. Billionaire Richard Branson soared into space aboard a Virgin Galactic flight, and Jeff Bezos boarded Blue Origin on July 20 to become the second billionaire to have bragging rights that go all the way into space. That brings us to the wildly popular astrophysicist, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, who is one of my personal heroes. He is our Famous Friday personality for today.

Tyson has been interviewed everywhere it seems this month. His down-to-earth explanation of what it means to go up-in-space is something no one should miss.

Born October 5, 1958, to a Black father and Puerto Rican mother, his father was a sociologist, and his mother was a gerontologist. Tyson showed his interest in astrophysics and science at an early age. He is a planetary scientist, author, and science communicator. Since 1996, he has been the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space in New York City.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson was awarded the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal in 2001. He has hosted Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey on television and hosts the podcast StarTalk.

Tyson said that race is not a part of the point he is trying to make in his career or with his life. According to Tyson, “[T]hat then becomes the point of people’s understanding of me, rather than the astrophysics. So it’s a failed educational step for that to be the case. If you end up being distracted by that and not [getting] the message.” He purposefully no longer speaks publicly about race. “I don’t give talks on it. I don’t even give Black History Month talks. I decline every single one of them. In fact, since 1993, I’ve declined every interview that has my being black as a premise of the interview.”

Tyson lives in the Tribeca neighborhood of Lower Manhattan with his wife, mathematician Alice Young and their two children: Miranda and Travis. He is a wine enthusiast whose collection has been featured by Wine Spectator and The World of Fine Wine.

Tyson has written many books on a wide range of subjects he has studied and excels in. We know we will hear a lot more from Neil DeGrasse Tyson as more flights into space blast off.


Susan Graham

Project RACE President


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