Carl Zimmer wrote a wonderful profile of Neil deGrasse Tyson for the January edition of Playboy… but in case you don’t get that, there’s a perfectly SFW version of the piece here 🙂
A short excerpt:
For most of the people huddling on the ground, tonight is the first time they’ve spent such an extended period looking up at the sky. For three hours, Tyson keeps his audience staring so hard at the heavens he cramps their necks. He speaks of galaxies and the delusions of astrology, how to calculate latitude, the fate of the universe. It is not a lecture. He delivers something more akin to a solo concert. Although he is a card-carrying astrophysicist with a long list of scientific papers in publications like Astrophysical Journal, Tyson has turned himself into a rock-star scientist. He plays to sold-out houses. He appears on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, on the New York Times bestseller list, on Twitter (@neiltyson, with 242,400 followers as I write this). He is now shooting a remake of Carl Sagan’s classic Cosmos series, which will air on Fox in 2013.
Tyson spreads himself so wide for two reasons. One is that there’s so much in the sky to talk about. The other reason is down here on earth. For all the spectacular advances American science has made over the past century — not just in astrophysics but in biology, engineering, and other disciplines — the best days of American science may be behind us. And as American science declines, so does America. So here, in the dark, under the stars, Tyson is going to try to save the future, one neck cramp at a time.
In case you missed it, my interview with Dr. Tyson from last summer can be seen here.