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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Director of Hayden Planetarium Shares His Lifelong Enthusiasm for the Heavens at Rensselaer

April 12, 2001

Director of Hayden Planetarium Shares His Lifelong Enthusiasm for the Heavens at Rensselaer

Troy, N.Y. — Neil de Grasse Tyson, the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, will deliver the 11th annual Garnet D. Baltimore Lecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

His talk will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 18, in Room 337 of the Darrin Communications Center. The lecture is free and the public is welcome.

Tyson earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Harvard and a Ph.D. in astrophysics from Columbia University. He is a member of the American Museum’s department of astrophysics and is a visiting research scientist in the department of astrophysics at Princeton University.

His professional interests include dwarf galaxies (some one-tenth the size of our own Milky Way) and the “bulge” at the center of the Milky Way. While growing up in the Bronx, Tyson scanned the heavens with binoculars from the roof of his apartment building, and visited the Hayden Planetarium.

“I looked up and I saw the moon and it was gorgeous. It wasn’t just pretty, it was another world, with mountains and valleys and craters and hills. And I thought, ‘If a pair of binoculars can do this, imagine what a big telescope can do.’ After that, I was hooked,” said Tyson, who is the author of five books and, since 1995, has written a monthly column titled “Universe” for Natural History magazine.

The lecture series, started in 1991, is named after Garnet D. Baltimore who, in 1881, became the first African-American graduate of Rensselaer. Born in Troy in 1859, Baltimore worked as a civil engineer on bridge and railroad projects in upstate New York. He designed parks, hospitals and cemeteries in the Capital Region, and died in 1948 at the age of 89.

For photographs of Tyson go to:

Contact: Patrick Kurp
Phone: (518) 276-6531
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