Neil Degrasse Tyson

Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson is famous for being one of the smartest — yet coolest — scientists out there, particularly for his ability to explain complex concepts in a way that makes them much easier to understand. This nerd-turned-star has almost six million Twitter followers and is a media favorite: he regularly appears on television shows and has even been in several movies.

Born in 1958, Tyson has loved stars ever since he was a kid growing up in New York City. This love of stars led him to Harvard and then to Columbia University, where he received his PhD in Astrophysics in 1991. He started working for Manhattan’s Hayden Planetarium in 1996 and remains its director today.

Tyson has written nine books, including his memoir The Sky is Not the Limit: Adventures of an Urban Astrophysicist; 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, which describes his experience at the center of the controversy in which Pluto was re-labeled a dwarf planet.

He has also hosted several television documentary series including NOVA ScienceNow from 2006 to 2011 and COSMOS: A Space-Time Odyssey in 2014.