Is it possible that Neil deGrasse Tyson is the coolest man alive? If he’s not #1, he’s certainly up there.
Even if you think you know all there is to know about the astrophysicist, you really don’t. Here are 5 things about the man, the myth, the legend.
5. He was voted the ‘Sexiest Astrophysicist Alive.’
He’s off the market ladies and gentlemen, but that doesn’t mean you can’t admire him from afar.
4. He got the night sky changed in the rerelease of 1997’s Titanic.
Tyson wrote director James Cameron a letter to tell him the sky was not depicted accurately in the blockbuster film and that the stars were not correctly aligned onscreen. Cameron didn’t reply, and when Tyson saw the director at an event, he pressed Cameron about it. The Hollywood big shot told Tyson, “Last I checked, Titanic had grossed $1.3 billion worldwide. Think how much more it would have grossed if I’d gotten the sky correct.” But Tyson got the last laugh, when Cameron’s post-production team called him about the proper star alignment so it could be fixed for a 2012 re-release of the film. Ha!
3. He once considered becoming an exotic dancer.
No – seriously. While going to school at the University of Texas, Tyson was a member of the school’s rowing team, wrestling team, AND the ballroom dance team. Like many students, Tyson was pretty broke. Some of his fellow dancers started working in Chippendales-esque clubs for extra cash, and Tyson went to one of the clubs to see if it was for him. He said, “They came out in jockstraps having been soaked in lighter fluid, asbestos jockstraps, ignited, coming out dancing to Jerry Lee Lewis’ ‘Great Balls of Fire.’ I’m embarrassed to say that it wasn’t until that moment when I said to myself, ‘Maybe I should be a math tutor.'”
2. He was recruited by the legendary Carl Sagan in high school.
Tyson gave his first astronomy lecture when he was only 15, so you know that big-name scientists had their eyes on him. When Tyson was accepted to Cornell, he received a letter from none other than Carl Sagan, who was a faculty member at the time. Sagan also gave the young Tyson a tour of the university’s lab. In the end, however, Tyson decided to attend Harvard.
1. He chatted with Superman.
When DC Comic asked Tyson if they could use his likeness in an issue of Action Comics, he not only agreed but insisted on helping out with the storyline so it would be grounded in scientific fact. For the story, Tyson chose an actual star called LHS 2520 for planet Krypton to orbit. He went even further and had Superman use the power of all telescopes on Earth to view the explosion of Krypton, which had occurred 27 years earlier but was just now visible on Earth due to the speed of light and other laws of the universe. Very cool!
h/t: Mental Floss