Internationally recognized astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson is currently director of New York’s Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History. Born in 1958 and raised in the Bronx, DeGrasse Tyson has received degrees from Harvard University, University of Texas, and Columbia University. He is considered by many to be Carl Sagan’s pop cultural inheritor, and in 2014 became the face and host of the reboot of Sagan’s Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.
Besides his infamy for having controversially endorsed the demotion of Pluto as one of the solar system’s main planets, Neil DeGrasse Tyson is considered one of the foremost skeptical thinkers of our time. He is also a frequent contributor to books, journals, and media programming on the subject of the paranormal, bringing his level-headed, pragmatic perspective to topics ranging from ghosts and psychics to alternative medicine and faith healing.
As with many other recognized skeptical thinkers of the past fifty years, Neil DeGrasse Tyson is a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (formerly CSICOP, the committee co-founded in 1976 by James Randi, Carl Sagan, and others), which promotes science and scientific inquiry, and encourages a responsible, scientific point of view to investigate and report extraordinary claims to a community of scientific peers. An outspoken critic of the science deniers who run the gamut from global warming hoax conspiracists to “Flat Earth” proponents, DeGrasse Tyson joined James Randi in 2011 as a Phi Theta Kappa keynote speaker, lecturing on skepticism and the democratization of information. He has also offered numerous interviews on the subject of skeptical inquiry, appearing on programs such as The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe, James Noory’s Coast to Coast AM, and Skepticality.
Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s ability to delineate the differences between science and pseudoscience, and to make the scientific method evoke within us the same sense of spiritual wonderment as the supernatural, has motivated hundreds of paranormal investigation groups to change their paradigm and work instead to disprove claims of the paranormal. Even more importantly, he has inspired us to examine claims of the paranormal within the broader and more objective framework of scientific reasoning. For this, we acknowledge him as a guru of modern day skeptical thinking and proclaim him a worthy recipient of our “Jaded Light” Award.
You can find much more on-line about Neil DeGrasse Tyson, starting with the official website of the Hayden Planetarium: http://www.haydenplanetarium.org/tyson/.