Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson at the 2005 NASA Advisory Council in Washington, DC.
It's been a busy couple of weeks for astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. First, on June 25, Dr. Tyson appeared on Comedy Central's The Colbert Report, identified by Stephen Colbert as the show's first "five-pete" guest. He was there promoting his upcoming series on PBS, "NOVA ScienceNOW," which takes topics as complex as on those covered on NOVA and condenses them down to fit four different subjects in a single hour-long episode, providing a broader range of topics.
Then today I was flipping through this week's issue of Time and found that a 10 Questions with Neil deGrasse Tyson is featured on page 2. There's a link to a podcast recording of the interview on the website, as well. (The hardcopy version of Time mentions a video, but I was unable to locate it.)
Neil deGrasse Tyson is truly a great communicator of science. Not only is he director of New York City's Hayden Planetarium, but an executive editor of the NOVA series. He speaks frequently on the need for expanding scientific literacy and education, something which I have addressed before in this very blog. Tyson is excellent at explaining all things cosmological in much the same way that Carl Sagan once did, as is outlined when Tyson was named to the Time 100 in 2007.
The nice thing, among many others, is that Tyson is perhaps one of the "coolest" physicists out there, as was indicated by his 2000 designation as People's Sexiest Astrophysicist Alive. He represents science in an accessible way to the younger generation and makes it clear that being intelligent and being hip are not mutually exclusive traits ... something which many of us forget (especially when we use the word "hip").
Who is your vote for "coolest" physicist out there? Let us know in our comments section.
- About.com Space - Neil deGrasse Tyson biography
- Time - 10 Questions for Neil deGrasse Tyson
- PBS - NOVA ScienceNOW
- Neil deGrasse Tyson website - Summer 2008 broadcast schedule for NOVA ScienceNOW
- Time - 2007 Time 100 listing (#64)
- About.com Physics - Why Study Physics?
- About.com Physics - Book Review - Why Science? by James Trefil