Neil deGrasse Tyson‘s significance cannot be overstated in a world where ignorance is the baseline for the mainstream, and the truth is consistently under attack by that paradigm. In an age where bigoted vitriol passes as political discourse from an administration that is also actively denying established scientific fact, a genius level black man from the Bronx is just what we need in the verbal fray.
Born October 5, 1958, the astrophysicist and author has attended New York Public school and developed a love for astronomy from 9-years-old and started giving lectures on the subject by 15-years-old. This is how initially gained some notoriety within the community, according to the National Academy of Sciences.
deGrasse Tyson famously recalled how the great Carl Sagan, a cutting-edge thinker in astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, once personally recruited him to attend Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.
He went onto study at Harvard University where he lettered in wrestling while getting his BA in Physics and an MA in astronomy from the University of Texas at Austin. He also has a Masters of Philosophy degree in astrophysics from Columbia University.
Much of his career research has focused on cosmology, stellar evolution, galactic astronomy, bulges, and stellar formation.
In an interview for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, he would recount being interviewed as the most widely recognized scientist in the world and also being a black man.
Later, while responding to a question presented in 2005 at the National Academy of Sciences, he would say that his path toward being an astrophysicist was “…hands down the path of most resistance through the forces … of society.” He continued: “My life experience tells me, when you dont find blacks in the sciences when you dont find women in the sciences, I know these forces are real and I had to survive them in order to get where I am today. So before we start talking about genetic differences, you gotta come up with a system where theres equal opportunity. Then we can start having that conversation.”
If you like this video don’t forget to like and subscribe http://goo.gl/dgHQSp A Compilation of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Best Arguments, , Part One Neil deGrasse Tyson was born in New York City the same week NASA was founded.
He would recount that National Academy of Science scenario in 2014 Grantland piece, specifying what he meant regarding making pseudo-scientific assumptions about race, gender and mental fitness in a society where there are active barriers to black education.
“I’m saying before you even have that conversation, you have to be really sure that access to opportunity has been level”. He wasn’t really trying to make a racial statement, but a scientific one. No thesis can be proven as fact without making sure other phenomenon interferes with the experiment. Therefore, any thesis on the abilities and intelligence of a grouping of people cannot be proven as fact unless the conditions are “controlled” or even.
However, people take things the way they WANT to take them. When you’re the most recognized scientist in the world, and you’re black, the last thing you want is for race, and not science, to be the catalyst for any exchange.
“[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”.
To that end, deGrasse Tyson no longer public speaks in public 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 is a prolific writer, penning works for Natural History magazine’s “Universe” column, as well as publishing Death by Black Hole (2007) and Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (2017). He also wrote a monthly column in StarDate magazine, answering questions about the universe under the pen name “Merlin”.
He hosted the television show NOVA ScienceNow on PBS. In 2014, he hosted the television series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, a successor to Carl Sagan’s 1980 series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences awarded Tyson the Public Welfare Medal in 2015.
Neil deGrasse Tyson is easily the most recognizable scientist since Albert Einstein. Despite his wish not to discuss such matters publicly,
I am for one am glad that the most recognizable scientist in the world is a black man.