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American astrophysicist and media personality Neil deGrasse Tyson was born in 1958 in Manhattan, New York. Young Neil grew up fascinated by astronomy, largely in part to early visits as a child to the Hayden Planetarium. Tyson attended and graduated from the prestigious Bronx High School of Science before receiving his B.A. in Physics in 1980 from Harvard University. He earned his first M.A. in Astronomy at the University of Texas at Austin, followed by another Masters, in Astrophysics, from Columbia University, where he then also went on to earn a Ph.D.
Following his academic studies he began postdoctoral research work at Princeton University. Neil deGrasse Tyson’s love of astronomy was further bolstered by a chance meeting with Carl Sagan when he was a young man; he has never forgotten the influence of that encounter and speaks of it frequently in his interviews. Following postdoctoral research work at Princeton, in the early 1990’s, Neil returned to New York to work at the Hayden Planetarium as a staff scientist. Within a short period of time, he was promoted to the directorial position at the facility, overseeing a multi-million dollar renovation project and re-launching the facility for a whole new generation.
In the mid 1990’s, Tyson began to write monthly essays for Natural History magazine and author a number of books, including: Merlin’s Tour of the Universe and Just Visiting This Planet, both published in 1998. The success of his works led to an offer to host the NOVA ScienceNow series on PBS, where Neil’s warm personality and enthusiasm for astronomy made him a natural favorite with audiences.
Since that time, Neil deGrasse Tyson has been a ubiquitous presence on television, radio, and a variety of other media outlets. He frequently appears as a guest on Bill Maher’s Real Time on HBO, and has appeared on The Colbert Report, the Daily Show with Jon Steward, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Neil deGrasse Tyson most recently hosted the 2014 re-boot of the series Cosmos, previously hosted by Carl Sagan.
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