Neil deGrasse Tyson: An African-American Astrophysicist

By Ruby Setara


February brings a variety of things for city kids: a new semester, possibly warmer temperatures, and a shot at doing even better this semester. However, there’s something that might be more important than all listed above: Black History Month!

There are many important black figures in society (that include, but of course aren’t limited to): scientists, poets, authors, artists, rappers, singers, peacemakers, activists, and even simple everyday people who inspire others to spread love and knowledge. One such person would be astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Tyson attended and graduated from the Bronx High School of Science (1976) and earned a Bachelor’s degree from Harvard in Physics in 1980. He completed his doctorate in astrophysics at Columbia as well. From a young age, Tyson showed interest in science. One thing that might have activated his passion for the nitty-gritty of the environment around us near and far would be a field trip to the Planetarium at the Museum of Natural    History, right here in NYC.

Tyson is often credited for his skill to decipher difficult concepts and explain them for a larger audience that doesn’t know much about astrophysics and space. One popular example of this is a show that he is the director and executive editor of: COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey, which is available to stream on Netflix and third-party websites. Tyson uses computer dramatizations and simple analogies to untie the knot of our mysterious universe.

Not only does Tyson have his own show which explains the concepts of the universe, he also is a wildly popular scientist, comparable to Bill Nye (from the show Bill Nye: The Science Guy)! Whenever something major and vital occurs in the astrophysics community, people like Bill Nye and Tyson get involved.

Neil deGrasse Tyson is just one of many African-Americans who have been an inspiration to thousands of boys and girls across the nation. He inspires kids and adults alike to go outside and explore the world around them, no matter what the pigment of your complexion is, your ethnicity, your gender, or your beliefs. Anyone can be open to learning new things and empowering others to better the human race — and Neil deGrasse Tyson is a great example of such a human being.

For more information on Neil deGrasse Tyson, check out this cool interview by the Harvard Business Review!