The Rotary National Award for Space Achievement: Neil deGrasse Tyson to Receive Space Communicator Award

Press Release From: Rotary National Award for Space Achievement
Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Rotary National Award for Space Achievement (RNASA) Foundation has selected renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, PhD, to receive the 2008 Space Communicator Award. The citation reads, "in recognition of his immense contributions to the public's understanding of and appreciation for the importance of space exploration."

Tyson is an astrophysicist and the Frederick P. Rose director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. His areas of study include star formation, exploding stars, dwarf galaxies, and the structure of the Milky Way.

RNASA Advisor Jeffrey E. Carr said, "Dr. Tyson commands an uncommon grasp of the connections between the human and astrophysical elements of our universe, and our need as humans to explore it. His remarkable ability to bring those connections to life for audiences in ways that are understandable, entertaining and compelling has contributed immeasurably to the public's understanding of and support for space exploration."

Tyson is the author of eight books that have educated millions of people on space topics. His latest book is the playful Death By Black Hole-and Other Cosmic Quandaries (W.W. Norton, New York, 2007), which was a New York Times bestseller. He is a contributing essayist for Natural History magazine under the title "Universe," and has become a recognized spokesman for space science through his role as on-camera host for the PBS-NOVA 4-part mini-series Origins which aired in September 2004, and its spin-off program NOVA ScienceNow, a look at the science that shapes the understanding of our place in the universe.

As a member of the NASA Advisory Council since 2006, Tyson helps guide the Agency in implementing its vision within its limited budget. He previously served on the 9-member Presidential commission on the Implementation of the United States Space Exploration Policy that produced the report, A Journey to Inspire, Innovate, and Discover in 2004.

Tyson is the recipient of nine honorary doctorates and the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal. He holds a BA in physics from Harvard, a MA in astronomy from the University of Texas, and a PhD in astrophysics from Columbia University.

The RNASA Space Communicator Award was created in 1997 in honor of KTRK, Houston Channel 13 space reporter and long-time RNASA Advisor Stephen Gauvain who was tragically killed in a car accident in 1996. The Award is presented to an individual or team that makes exceptional contributions to public understanding and appreciation of space exploration. Previous recipients include William Harwood of CBS, Miles O'Brien of CNN, Elliot Pulham of the Space Foundation, the NASA-Contractor Communications team that responded to the Columbia accident, and Mark Carreau of the Houston Chronicle.

Dr. Tyson will receive his award at the RNASA annual black-tie gala to be held on Friday, April 25, 2008, at the Hyatt Regency Houston. Former Gemini and Apollo astronaut Capt. Eugene Cernan (USN, Ret.) will be presented with the National Space Trophy at this event. Also, from among 130 nominees, the winners of Stellar Awards in each of four categories will be announced at the banquet. CNN Correspondent Miles O'Brien will serve as Master of Ceremonies.

More information about the RNASA Foundation and the April 25th program is available on the website: Corporate tickets can be obtained by contacting Bill Taylor at (Reservation deadline is March 21.)

A photo of Dr. Tyson is available upon request to Marianne Dyson, Additional biographical data on Dr. Tyson is available on his website:

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