Neil deGrasse Tyson, one of the most renowned astrophysicists in the world, is the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History. Neil also founded the museum’s astrophysics department in 1997 and has been a research associate there since 2003.
In 2001, he was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve on a commission that studied the future of the country’s aerospace industry. In 2004, he was appointed to serve on a commission concerning U.S. space exploration policies. In 2006, he was appointed by the head of NASA to serve the organization’s advisory council.
As a writer and media personality, Neil has written over a dozen books. He was a monthly essayist for Natural History magazine under the title Universe from 1995 to 2005. He also served as the host of the PBS-NOVA mini series Origins and the executive editor and host of NOVA ScienceNOW and Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. Cosmos went on to win over a dozen awards, including four Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award, and two Critics Choice awards.
Neil is an advocate for expanding NASA operations, stating that “the most powerful agency on the dreams of a nation is currently underfunded to do what it needs to be doing.”
“Right now, NASA’s annual budget is half a penny on your tax dollar,” Neil stated at his testimony before the United States Senate Science Committee in 2012. “For twice that—a penny on a dollar—we can transform the country from a sullen, dispirited nation, weary of economic struggle, to one where it has reclaimed its 20th century birthright to dream of tomorrow.”
After hearing Neil’s statements, John Zeller founded Penny4NASA, a Space Advocates campaign with the aim of doubling NASA’s budget.
Neil received his PhD in astrophysics from Columbia University. He is also the recipient of 20 honorary doctorates and the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal.