January 25, 2007
Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of America’s leading spokespersons for science. The research areas he focuses on are star formation, exploding stars, dwarf galaxies, and the structure of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. In addition to many scholarly publications, Dr Tyson is one of America’s most respected science writers, and he writes a monthly column for Natural History magazine simply titled the “Universe.” Among his eight books is his memoir The Sky is Not the Limit: Adventures of an Urban Astrophysicist; and also Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution, co-written with Donald Goldsmith. He is the on-camera host of PBS-NOVA’s program ScienceNow, which explore the frontiers of all the science that shapes our understanding of our place in the universe. He is the first occupant of the Frederick P. Rose Directorship of the Hayden Planetarium in Manhattan, where he also teaches.
In this conversation with D.J. Grothe, Dr. Tyson explores the “popularization” of science, the ups and downs of science education, why scientists should be personally motivated to increase public science interest, whether his studies in astrophysics make him more or less religious, the “spirituality” of the scientific outlook, and other topics that he treats in his new book Death By Black Hole. He also talks about his experiences hosting PBS-NOVA’s ScienceNow.