First up on my reading list for the Summer was
the Right Reverend of Science Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson's recently released Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier.
Dr. Tyson is the current director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Natural History in New York and throughout his career in astrophysics has taken up the mantle left by Carl Sagan to bring the universe to the masses … his reasoning being that, as NASA is funded taxpayer funds, we should at least be able to understand what that money is going towards.
On meeting Carl Sagan and the duty of mentorship:
In fact, Dr. Tyson will be reviving Carl Sagan's Cosmos series in 2013 … stay tuned!
Most importantly, though, Dr. Tyson is continuously and actively engaged in informing the public on the importance of scientific literacy and how it relates to the electorate and public policy. Below is a fantastic interview with Stephen Colbert (a rare one in which he is out of character) that I cannot recommend highly enough. Though it comes out at a little under an hour and a half, I have watched it numerous times. Please make the time to watch! No, seriously though…
Skip to 6:15 for the beginning of the interview
On the realities of NASA's budget and the importance of the James Webb Telescope, Hubble's successor.
Due to his increased presence in media and pop culture he has also entered into one of the internets' greatest realms: meme-dom. When speaking of Isaac Newton he offered up a fantastic reaction shot that was later turned into an animated GIF and then black and white drawing often accompanied by the phrase "Watch out, we got a badass over here". (Click here for a much better definition from Know Your Meme)
Don't mess with a badass astrophysicist from the Bronx!!!
And finally, when asked what he thought was the most astounding fact about the universe, he answered thusly:
(Video by Max Schlickenmeyer)
Artist: Rufus Wainwright / Album: Release the Stars