Neil deGrasse Tyson was born in New York City the same week NASA was founded.

As a 17-year-old kid from the Bronx, he dreamed of being a scientist when Carl Sagan invited him to spend a Saturday together in Ithaca at Cornell University. That meeting changed his life. After completing a degree in physics from Harvard followed by a PhD in astrophysics from Columbia, deGrasse Tyson became the Director of the Hayden Planetarium.

The astrophysicist has dedicated his life to exploring and explaining the greatest mysteries of the universe. We quizzed him for our video series Between the Lines to find out why Armageddon is one of his least favourite sci-fi films, how pepperoni pizza would be his salvation on a space voyage and the moment he was most star-struck – by something truly out of this world. 

Letters from an Astrophysicist by Neil deGrasse Tyson is out now. 


  • Letters from an Astrophysicist


    Join the galactic conversation on the biggest issues in the universe, from the 'most popular scientist in the world'

    ‘Don't fear change. Don't fear failure. The only thing to fear is loss of ambition. But if you've got plenty of that, then you have nothing to fear at all’ – Neil deGrasse Tyson

    Neil deGrasse Tyson is arguably the most influential, acclaimed scientist on the planet. As director of the Hayden Planetarium, and host of Cosmos and StarTalk, he has dedicated his life to exploring and explaining the mysteries of the universe.

    Every year, he receives thousands of letters – from students to prisoners, scientists to priests. Some seek advice, others yearn for inspiration; some are full of despair, others burst with wonder. But they are all searching for understanding, meaning and truth.

    His replies are by turns wise, funny, and mind-blowing. In this, his most personal book by far, he covers everything from God to the history of science, from aliens to death. He bares his soul – his passions, his doubts, his hopes. The big theme is everywhere in these pages: what is our place in the universe?

    The result is an awe-inspiring read and an intimate portal into an incredible mind, which reveals the power of the universe to start conversations and inspire curiosity in all of us.

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