Skip to main content

2007 Award for Public Engagement with Science Recipient

2007 Award Recipients

AAAS Award for Public Understanding of Science & Technology

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson is being honored for his passionate commitment, sustained excellence, and dynamic leadership in engaging the public in the frontiers of science.

The AAAS Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology, established in 1987, recognizes working scientists and engineers who make outstanding contributions to the “popularization of science.” Recipients receive $5,000 and a commemorative plaque.

Neil deGrasse Tyson is the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History.

He received his B.A. degree in physics from Harvard University and his Ph.D. degree in astrophysics from Columbia University. After earning his doctorate, Dr. Tyson worked as an astrophysicist and research scientist at Princeton University and as a columnist forStardate magazine. His association with Princeton continues as he is a visiting research scientist in astrophysics and also teaches.

In 2001, he was appointed by U.S. President Bush to serve on a 12-member commission that studied the future of the U.S. aerospace industry. The final report was published in 2002 and contained recommendations for Congress and for the major agencies of the government that would promote a thriving future of transportation, space exploration, and national security.

In 2004, Dr. Tyson was once again appointed by President Bush to serve on a nine-member commission on the Implementation of the United States Space Exploration Policy, dubbed the “Moon, Mars, and Beyond” commission. This group navigated a path by which the new space vision could become a successful part of the U.S. agenda. And in 2006, the head of National Aeronautics and Space Administration appointed Dr. Tyson to serve on its prestigious Advisory Council, which helps guide NASA to match its vision with its budget.

In addition to dozens of professional publications, Dr. Tyson has written, and continues to write, for the public. He is a monthly essayist for Natural History magazine under the title “Universe.” And among his eight books is 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. Origins is the companion book to the PBS-NOVA four-part mini-series “Origins,” in which Dr. Tyson served as on-camera host. In the fall of 2006, he began appearing as the on-camera host of PBS-NOVA’s spin-off program “NOVA ScienceNow,” which is an accessible look at the frontier of the science that shapes the understanding of our place in the universe. His latest book, Death by Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandaries, was a New York Times bestseller.

Dr. Tyson is the recipient of nine honorary doctorates and the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal. His contributions to the public appreciation of the cosmos have been recognized by the International Astronomical Union in their official naming of asteroid “13123 Tyson.”

Please click here for a list of past recipients.