It was a few years ago that I learned of the existence of the world's most-loved astrophysicist, while watching a show about the official demoting of Pluto as a planet on the Science Channel. He described with much verve the hate mail the Hayden Planetarium had been receiving from insulted children who'd whipped out their blue and purple crayons to illustrate the body in question and argue for its legitimacy, just in case he wasn't sure which one it was.
The man is brilliant, charismatic and a passionate educator who's been making science popular and cool for years. A badass, basically. Don't believe me? Well, here are a few reasons why he deserves your attention.
8. He has an awesome funky collection of space ties and vests.
There's even a small Tumblr dedicated to them.
7. He holds 12 honorary doctorates
in addition to the one he earned at Columbia. You can check out some of his other accomplishments here.
6. People voted him the world's sexiest astrophysicist back in 2000.
It's just a snippet, but I feel fairly certain this category was invented for him.
5. He did ballet in college.
And, according to Wiki, in 1985 he won a gold medal at a national tournament in International Latin Ballroom style dancing.
If this old photo that popped up on Reddit a while back is what he looked like while doing it, too, then it's no wonder People invented a sexy category just for him.
4. He believes in treating animals with kindness and respect.
While he's not a vegetarian, he also wants his body to be buried rather than burned so that the energy and nutrients it contains can be reabsorbed back into the ecosystem.
I don't have any respect for PETA as an organisation, but it's still good to get peoples' attention this way. You can read more about the PSA on Huff Post.
3. Carl Sagan's Cosmos is returning, with him as its new host.
Well, eventually. 2014's the word now.
Carl Sagan had a huge impact on Tyson - who actually knew him - and I'm sure it was the same with every young scientist he met. Let's hope the new show goes on more or less indefinitely like it's supposed to and doesn't get pulled by Fox after one season.
2. He has explained how and why religion and creationism erode progress.
1. His meme confirms his unequivocal badassery.
His is one of the most flattering memes imho, though I'm sure he could probably be The Most Interesting Man in the World if the spot wasn't already taken.
The image for the meme is a screenshot of an educational interview in which he was talking about Sir Isaac Newton and how amazing he was. I don't always teach people about how the universe works, but when I do, it's hilarious and entertaining.
(Originally published 2.28.12)