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ARCS Alumni Hall of Fame Welcomes Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson

Posted on Friday, May 11, 2018

World-famous astrophysicist and media personality recognized for his promotion of science in America.

World-famous astrophysicist and media personality Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson has been named by ARCS® Foundation as its 2018 inductee into the ARCS Alumni Hall of Fame.  It is a rare honor, bestowed on ARCS Scholar Alumni who have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of science and to increase our nation’s scientific competitiveness. 

Dr. Tyson, who was an ARCS Scholar in 1991 while pursuing his PhD in the Department of Astronomy at Columbia University in New York City, is currently Director of the Hayden Planetarium and a research associate in the department of astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History. He has hosted educational science radio programs, podcasts and television including NOVA Science Now, Star Talk, and Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, which is an update to Carl Sagan's Cosmos television series.  He is a prolific science writer and sought-after speaker. 

“Dr. Tyson was a unanimous choice by the ARCS Alumni Hall of Fame panel for this honor, and is more than deserving of recognition for his significant contributions in communications along with all he has done to bring attention to science,” said Andi Purple, national president of ARCS Foundation. “It is achievements like Dr. Tyson’s that validate the ARCS mission and remind us how important it is that ARCS continue in decades to come to fund the best and brightest future U.S. scientists.  His accomplishments are truly advancing science in America and it is our pleasure to welcome him into our ARCS Alumni Hall of Fame.”

Among the many awards Dr. Tyson has received are:

  • Public Welfare Medal from the National Academy of Sciences
  • NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal
  • Cosmos Award from the Planetary Society
  • Medal of Excellence from Columbia University
  • The Isaac Asimov Award

And just this past year he received:

  • The Hubbard Medal from National Geographic Society
  • The Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication
  • A Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album

“The ARCS Scholar Award I received was the right amount of money at the right time to make all the difference in my graduate career,” said Dr. Tyson, recalling his PhD research, which included travels to an observatory in the Andes Mountains in South America, funded by his ARCS award. “ARCS was like a launch pad to ensure that I would continue the graduate studies on time, on budget, and then start the rest of my life as a scientist.”

Selection to the ARCS Alumni Hall of Fame is done is by a panel appointed by the national president and is based on alumni contributions in the areas of scientific innovation, discovery, economic impact, development of future scientists, and communications that increase awareness of the importance of US scientific superiority. Previous inductees can be found here.

Dr. Tyson discusses the significance being an ARCS Scholar.