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'The Universe Chose Me': Neil deGrasse Tyson On Hayden Planetarium & MasterClass

(CBS Local)-- Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of the most renowned scientists in the world.

The New York native earned a graduate degree in astronomy from Columbia University and is the Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Natural History. Tyson was stuck by the astrophysics bug at a very young age.

"I don't think I had much say in the matter. The universe chose me and by age 11 I had an answer for that annoying question adults ask children. By age 11, I said I was going to be an astrophysicist," said Tyson in an interview with CBS Local's DJ Sixsmith. "It's been that long and I've been thinking about communicating it since I was 15. That was when I gave my first public talk. It was to adults at City College. They paid me to give the talk. I was already six years in on my life's interest."

While Tyson has spoken publicly for years about the universe and astrophysics, he wanted to give people an opportunity to think like a scientist and also understand how his mind works.

"This MasterClass is really wisdom I've gleaned, not only in what it is to think like a scientist, but also to communicate something that might be complex or difficult," said Tyson. "There's a whole section in this class about what kind of bias you might carry in your thinking. The real challenge is are you self aware of the bias. This class is an exploration in all the wiring you'd find in the brain of a scientist and what methods, tools, and tactics I have accumulated over the decades. The MasterClass is a look under the hood."

It has been a slow rise for Tyson as a public figure in mainstream culture. Like Tyson, the Hayden Planetarium has come a long way over the past two decades.

"There was the old Hayden Planetarium where I was first introduced to the universe and then the new Hayden Planetarium, which became the Rose Center for Earth and Space," said Tyson. "The goal was to open up the universe into a place that makes it accessible to everyone, not just close it up into a planetarium dome. The whole facility is a museum of the universe."

Tyson's MasterClass is available now.


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