On Tuesday, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson became the first American scientist to be awarded the Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication.
The award is given to a writer, musician, or artist, and people from the film and entertainment industry each year. Hawking handpicks the award recipients.
Tyson won in the writing category for work done on his television series “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” and podcast-turned-television-series “StarTalk.” He also was honored for his books and for lectures given around the world.
Tyson is the director for Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, from which the announcement was made.
The award is in conjunction with the Starmus Festival, which will take place in Norway in mid-June.
French electronic music composer Jean-Michel Jarre won the music and art category for his musical compositions inspired by space, technology, and science fiction. The producers of the sitcom “The Big Bang Theory” won for the entertainment category.
Previous recipients include physicist and writer Jim Al-Khalili, German composer Hans Zimmer, and film director Marc Levinson.
According to Space.com, Tyson said he was “deeply moved not only to be honored at all, but to be honored by Stephen Hawking, who many of us know as the brilliant scientist that he is, but in addition to that fact, he’s devoted a huge part of himself to bring science to the public.”
Tyson has made a name for himself with his attempts to make astrophysics understandable to children and nonscientists with books such as “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry.”
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