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Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson Comes to Kent State

Posted Aug. 26, 2013
enter photo description
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson
speaks at Kent State University on
Sept. 25 as part of the Kent State
University Presidential Speaker Series.

(Photo credit: Dan Deitch for PBS/NOVA)

Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, will speak at the third Kent State University Presidential Speaker Series on Wednesday, Sept. 25, at 7 p.m. in the Kent Student Center Ballroom.

This free, ticketed event is open to the public. For general admission tickets, visit http://kentstate.universitytickets.com beginning Monday, Aug. 26. Tyson’s appearance is sponsored by Kent State’s College of Arts and Sciences and the Division of Research and Sponsored Programs.

“It’s great that we’re bringing Neil deGrasse Tyson to Kent State,” says Kent State President Lester A. Lefton. “He is such a brilliant scientist who makes science exciting, interesting and fun. I know our students, employees and the public will enjoy his presentation.”

Tyson was born and raised in New York City where he was educated in the public schools clear through his graduation from the Bronx High School of Science. Tyson went on to earn his Bachelor of Arts in physics from Harvard University and his Ph.D. in astrophysics from Columbia University.

Tyson’s professional research interests are broad, but include star formation, exploding stars, dwarf galaxies and the structure of our Milky Way.

In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed Tyson to serve on a 12-member commission that studied the future of the U.S. aerospace industry. The final report was published in 2002 and contained recommendations (for Congress and for the major agencies of the government) that would promote a thriving future of transportation, space exploration and national security.

In 2004, Tyson was once again appointed by President Bush to serve on a nine-member commission on the implementation of the United States Space Exploration Policy, dubbed the Moon, Mars and Beyond commission. This group navigated a path by which the new space vision can become a successful part of the American agenda. Then in 2006, the head of NASA appointed Tyson to serve on its prestigious Advisory Council, which will help guide NASA through its perennial need to fit its ambitious vision into its restricted budget.

In addition to dozens of professional publications, Tyson has written, and continues to write for the public. From 1995 to 2005, Tyson was a monthly essayist for Natural History magazine under the title “Universe.” Among Tyson’s 10 books is his memoir “The Sky is Not the Limit: Adventures of an Urban Astrophysicist” and “Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution,” co-written with Donald Goldsmith. “Origins” is the companion book to the PBS/NOVA four-part miniseries “Origins,” in which Tyson served as on-camera host. The program premiered on Sept. 28 and 29, 2004.

Two of Tyson’s recent books are the playful and informative “Death By Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandaries,” which was a New York Times bestseller, and “The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet,” chronicling his experience at the center of the controversy over Pluto’s planetary status. The PBS/NOVA documentary “The Pluto Files,” based on the book, premiered in March 2010.

For five seasons, beginning in the fall of 2006, Tyson appeared as the on-camera host of PBS/NOVA’s spinoff program “NOVA ScienceNOW,” which is an accessible look at the frontier of all the science that shapes the understanding of our place in the universe.

During the summer of 2009, Tyson identified a stable of professional standup comedians to assist his effort in bringing science to commercial radio with the National Science Foundation-funded pilot program StarTalk. Now also a podcast, StarTalk Radio combines celebrity guests with informative yet playful banter. The target audience is all those people who never thought they would, or could, like science.

Tyson is the recipient of 18 honorary doctorates and the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest award given by NASA to a non-government citizen. His contributions to the public appreciation of the cosmos have been recognized by the International Astronomical Union in its official naming of asteroid 13123 Tyson. On the lighter side, Tyson was voted Sexiest Astrophysicist Alive by People Magazine in 2000.

In February 2012, Tyson released his 10th book, containing every thought he has ever had on the past, present and future of space exploration: “Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier.” Currently, Tyson is working on a 21st century reboot of Carl Sagan’s landmark television series “Cosmos” to air in 13 episodes on the Fox network in the spring of 2014.

Tyson is the first occupant of the Frederick P. Rose Directorship of the Hayden Planetarium. Tyson lives in New York City with his wife and two children.

The Kent State Presidential Speaker Series seeks to bring high-profile, world-renowned experts to Kent State for serious, thought-provoking discussions and conversations. The program enhances the engagement of the world beyond Kent State’s campuses, which is one of the university’s strategic goals.

For more information about the Kent State Presidential Speaker Series, visit www.kent.edu/president/speakers. For questions about the Kent State Presidential Speaker Series event, please call 330-672-2216 during normal business hours or email ksupresidentialspeakers@kent.edu.