Astrophysicist and PBS NOVA scienceNOW host Neil deGrasse Tyson visits the Hilltop Tuesday, Nov. 1, to deliver the Jones Day Lecture in SMU’s 2011-12 Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series. The event begins at 8 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium.
Tyson is the first occupant of the Frederick P. Rose Directorship of New York City’s Hayden Planetarium. His research interests include star formation, exploding stars, dwarf galaxies, and the structure of the Milky Way. In 2001, he was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve on a 12-member commission that studied the future of the U.S. aerospace industry. In 2004, Bush appointed him to serve on a 9-member commission on the implementation of the United States Space Exploration Policy, dubbed the Moon, Mars, and Beyond Commission.
Among Tyson’s nine books are 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). The latter is the companion book to NOVA‘s 4-part mini-series “Origins,” in which Tyson serves as on-camera host. His latest works are the New York Times bestseller Death By Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries and The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet, which chronicles 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.
Since Fall 2006, Tyson has served as on-camera host of PBS’ NOVA spinoff program NOVA scienceNOW, which presents an accessible look at the frontiers of the sciences that shape our understanding of the universe. In August, it was announced that Tyson will host a sequel to Carl Sagan‘s groundbreaking 13-part series, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. The new series, Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey, is scheduled to air in 2013 on Fox.
Tyson has received 12 honorary doctorates and the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest award given by NASA to a non-government citizen. In addition, the International Astronomical Union named an asteroid in his honor in 2001; Asteroid 13123 Tyson was discovered in 1994 at Caltech’s Palomar Observatory.
Born and raised in New York City, Tyson was educated in the city’s public schools until his graduation from the Bronx High School of Science. He earned his B.A. degree in physics from Harvard and his Ph.D. in astrophysics from Columbia.
The evening lecture is sold out. Tyson will answer questions from SMU community members and local high school students in the Turner Construction/Wells Fargo Student Forum at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 1 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater. The event is free, but seating is limited. SMU faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend; RSVP online to ensure a place.