Tyson, a Bronx native, is an award-winning astrophysicist and currently serves as the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History. Tyson has gained mainstream notoriety as a science communicator, best-selling author, television host, internet meme, and perhaps most importantly, as 2000's "sexiest astrophysicist alive" by People magazine.
Tyson displayed an early affinity for astronomy, telling Stephen Colbert that at age 11, "the universe called me." By age 15, Tyson was giving lectures to the astronomy community; by the time he reached college, he had caught the interest of the late science popularizer Carl Sagan, at the time a professor at Cornell. In 1996, he became the Hayden Planetarium's youngest director in its' history. Beyond academia, Tyson has also become a pop culture icon: He is a frequent guest on The Daily Show, Colbert Report, Conan, has hosted 3 of PBS's NOVA series. He also maintains an active web presence through YouTube, Reddit, and Twitter.
To those who remember the 90s fondly, however, Tyson is probably best known as that dude who heartlessly erased Pluto, successfully arguing for its reclassification as a dwarf planet. But then again, it's hard to stay mad at a man who is so badass that he has an an entire asteroid named after him.
[Image via Getty]