Tyson To Receive National Academy of Sciences’ Highest Honor

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The National Academy of Sciences will award the 2015 Public Welfare Medal to Neil deGrasse Tyson. The honor is the academy’s highest, given annually to those who “use science for the public good,” according to the National Academy.

Tyson wears many hats: He is an astrophysicist, cosmologist and science communicator. In 1995, he became the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium of the American Museum of Natural History. The author of 10 cosmology books, Tyson also hosts a radio show and podcast called “StarTalk Radio.” He also served as executive editor and host for “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey,” a 2014 13-episode science documentary series. The 2014 version is a sequel to the original 1980 series, “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage,” hosted by astronomer Carl Sagan.

“By personably and skillfully explaining the significance and the thrills of scientific discoveries, Neil has captured the public’s imagination like no other scientist alive today,” National Academy of Sciences President Ralph J. Cicerone said in a statement.

“Ultimately, the success of science depends on the public’s understanding of its importance and value,” Susan Wessler, home secretary for the National Academy of Sciences and chairwoman of the selection committee for the award, said in a statement. “Neil masterfully conveys why science matters — not just to a few, but to all of us.”

The Public Welfare Medal will be given to Tyson April 26 at the academy’s annual meeting.