For my eminent person, I chose Neil deGrasse Tyson. Tyson is an astrophysicist and a director at the Hayden Planetarium. He has written several books, and hosts the show “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey”. The show teaches kids around the world about many scientific theories and concepts. In 2001, Tyson was appointed by George W. Bush to serve on the “Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry”. He has also won many awards such as the “NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal”, the “Science Writing Award”, and just this year he won the “Stephen Hawking Medal for Science and Communication” award. Even though he is an outstanding astronomer and has generated a lot of interest towards the astronomy community, the thing that gained him popularity amongst the general public was his support for eliminating Pluto as the ninth planet in our solar system. He wasn’t the one person to make the decision, but he backed scientist that did. Tyson has said that he gets lots of hate mail from children and fans of Pluto. Even though many people don’t like his stance on Pluto, Neil deGrasse Tyson is still an influential person in science and astronomy.
When I was deciding on my eminent person I thought about what my interests were and found astronomy. I consider astronomy as a possible future career and Neil deGrasse Tyson was one of the people that got me into science and astronomy in the first place. I watched “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” a lot and have seen lots of his interviews. I also agree with him on his stances concerning climate change and government funding for NASA. I was excited when I found out that he wasn’t on the list of previous eminent people. Even though I can relate to him on our passion for astronomy, I do realize there are differences between us that can make it harder for me to connect with him. He is of Puerto Rican and African-American decent, whereas my parents are both Indian. I grew up in Coquitlam, British Columbia and Tyson grew up in Bronx, New York. Due to this, his childhood experiences will be very different than mine, but I will be focusing on the astronomy side of our childhoods. Astronomy is something we both share an interest in, even though we grew up very differently. I would like to learn about what steps Tyson took to become what he is today. What were his struggles and his most defining moments as a scientist? I might also learn more about myself in this process. Where do I want to work? What other scientists will I be inspired by? Answering all these questions may help me accomplish my goal of becoming an astronomer, or just my IEP goal of doing well on this project.
This is going to be a very long and hard project, but I’m excited to see what new experiences I’ll have and how far this will take me.