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Neil DeGrasse Tyson On The First Time He Questioned His Path

Nov 2, 2015 By John-Michael Bond

Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of the smartest people in the world. He’s an astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, educator, and TV host. His Ph. D thesis at Columbia University was titled, “A study of the abundance distributions along the minor axis of the Galactic bulge.” We don’t even know what the Galactic bulge is. Tyson is an inspiration to millions of budding scientists across the world. 

Of course, he was once just a student like everyone else, looking for a way to make the world a better place using his skill. One day in college a fellow student, a Rhodes Scholar, told him “the black community, cannot afford for someone with your intellect to spend it on that subject.” Tyson was understandably devastated by the comment, and it haunted him for years. 

Then in 1989 everything changed. He got a phone call from a local FOX news station asking if he'd come on the air to discuss a cosmic event. What happened next changed his understanding of his life’s path, and the importance of his role as an expert. Sometimes breaking down doors just requires dissolving the stereotypes we aren’t even aware we’re fighting. 

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