Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson is quite possibly the most interesting man in the universe and one of my personal heroes. He has a way of taking the most complicated astrophysics and reducing them to something not only understandable but often even funny. If you don't believe me, check out his radio show StarTalk Radio

Here are 10 facts worth noting. 

1. He is a social media master. He is the most followed astronomer with 3.6 million and counting followers on Twitter.

2.  During an interview with Time, he was asked, "What is the most astounding fact you can share with us about the universe?" His response was,

"When I look up at the night sky and I know that yes we are a part of this universe, we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts is that the universe is in us," Tyson said. "When I reflect on that fact, I look up, many people feel small cause they're small and the universe is big, but I feel big because my atoms came from those stars. There's a level of connectivity."

Image credit NASA

Image credit NASA

3. In 2004, he received the NASA Distinguished Public Service Award. This is NASA's highest form of recognition that is awarded to any non-Government individual or to an individual who was not a Government employee during the period in which the service was performed, whose distinguished service, ability, or vision has personally contributed to NASA's advancement of United States' interests. The individual's achievement or contribution must demonstrate a level of excellence that has made a profound or indelible impact to NASA mission success, therefore, the contribution is so extraordinary that other forms of recognition by NASA would be inadequate.

4.  IN 2000, People magazine named him the Sexiest Astrophysicist Alive. 

5. Neil was quoted saying, "All I did was drive the getaway car," when he was accused of "killing off" the planet Pluto in 2006.  Check out the NOVA broadcast, The Pluto Files, where Neil travels across the country to discuss the rise and fall of this planet. 

6. In 2014, Tyson hosted the television show, Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey. The series was a remake of Carl Sagan's Cosmos. In both series, they try to provide the audience with a greater understanding of the universe and the origin of life.  

These limited edition Montblanc pens cost more than $3,000 a piece. (Photo: Montblanc)

These limited edition Montblanc pens cost more than $3,000 a piece. (Photo: Montblanc)

7. Tyson is an avid fountain pen collector. When asked about his love for writing utensils, his response was, "''People think a word is just a word, but depending on how it's written, you can convey emotion,'' he said. ''Because writing is now done on computers, we've lost the edge of conveying emotion. I like to slow down and remove myself to another era, and that gives me context for the present.'' So it isn't really about the pens but the expression. 

8. He served as a presidential adviser for George W. Bush in 2001 and three years later, he was commissioned once again to examine US policy on space exploration. 

9.  Tyson demanded changes be made to the movie, Titanic, when he noticed the sky was wrong in the scene where the ocean liner goes down. He wrote the James Cameron about the famous scene where Rose (Kate Winslet) is floating on driftwood, "There she is looking up. There is only one sky she should have been looking at … and it was the wrong sky! Worse than that, it was not only the wrong sky; the left-half of the sky was a mirror reflection of the right-half of the sky! It was not only wrong, it was lazy! And I'm thinking, this is wrong." When the film was re-released in 2015, the night sky had been fixed.  

'Titanic' director James Cameron was a stickler for historical accuracy in this film -- except when it came to the night sky. © Imaginechina/Corbis

'Titanic' director James Cameron was a stickler for historical accuracy in this film -- except when it came to the night sky.
© Imaginechina/Corbis

10. Tyson was also featured in DC Comics 14, where he helps Superman see his home planet Krypton.  He was more than happy to help keep the story line grounded in scientific fact. Tyson chose a red star named LHS 2520, an actual star, for Krypton to orbit but added the fiction that they saw the planet explode.  He added the fact that what they were witnessing was actually 27 years in the past due to the distance the light had to travel for them to see it. 

Resources

http://www.businessinsider.com/neil-degrasse-tysons-most-astounding-fact-2014-11

http://www.softschools.com/facts/scientists/neil_degrasse_tyson_facts/1732/

http://www.biography.com/people/neil-degrasse-tyson-20766239#personal-life

http://science.howstuffworks.com/dictionary/famous-scientists/astronomers/10-cool-things-neil-degrasse-tyson.htm#page=1

http://www.gradschools.com/get-informed/subject-specific-articles/physical-and-earth-sciences/neil-degrasse-tyson-facts-neil#.VmIH39IrLGg

http://www.haydenplanetarium.org/tyson/media/pdf/StarsInHisEyesOverAPen.pdf

http://news.discovery.com/space/astronomy/neil-degrasse-tyson-tightens-titanic-accuracy-120402.htm