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Neil deGrasse TysonNeil deGrasse Tyson was born October 5, 1958 in Manhattan and was raised in the Bronx. Tyson attended the Bronx High School of Science where he was captain of the wrestling team and editor-in-chief of the school’s Physical Science Journal. He obsessively studied astronomy in his teens, and eventually even gained some fame in the astronomy community by giving lectures on the subject at the age of 15.

Tyson attended Harvard University where he majored in physics. He was a member of the crew team during his freshman year, but returned to wrestling, eventually lettering in his senior year. In addition to wrestling and rowing in college, he was active in dance in styles including jazz, ballet, Afro-Caribbean, and Latin Ballroom. Tyson earned a Bachelor of Arts in physics from Harvard in 1980 and began his graduate work at the University of Texas at Austin and received a Master of Arts in astronomy in 1983.

In 1988, Tyson was accepted into the astronomy graduate program at Columbia University where he earned a Master of Philosophy in astrophysics in 1989, and a Doctor of Philosophy in astrophysics in 1991. He has held numerous positions at institutions including the University of Maryland, Princeton University, and the American Museum of Natural History.

Tyson has written a number of popular books on astronomy. In 1995, he began to write the “Universe” column for Natural History magazine. In 2004, he hosted the four-part Origins miniseries of PBS’s Nova. He is currently the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space and a research associate in the department of astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History.