“Has Tyson done any real science? He seems to be a media celebrity, but when I look in the Smithsonian/NASA ADS, I can find no record of scholarly work in science, except for popular books and social commentary. Is he in fact a practicing astrophysicist?”
Not since graduate school (he did not successfully progress towards a degree at UT/Austin, and convinced Columbia to give him a second try). Aside from the obligatory papers describing his dissertation, he’s got a paper on how to take dome flats, a bizarre paper speculating about an asteroid hitting Uranus, and courtesy mentions *very* late in the author lists of a few big projects in which it is unclear what, if anything, of substance he contributed. No first author papers of any real significance whatsoever. Nor is there any evidence that he has been awarded any telescope time on significant instruments as PI since grad school, despite the incredibly inflated claims in his published CVs. He cozied up to Bush and pushed Bush’s version of man to the Moon, Mars, and Beyond, and now gets appointed to just about every high level political advisory board. To an actual astronomer, this is almost beyond inconceivable. It’s just bizarre. To answer Delong’s question, no: he is not a practicing astrophysicist. – Don Barry, Ph.D. Dept. of Astronomy, Cornell University
Comment: Remember that Tyson miraculously got into Harvard’s Ph.D. after flunking out of UT-Austin (but still getting a master’s). The Princeton post-doc followed, then the headship of the Hayden.His daughter got into Harvard because his father was Cyril de Grasse Tyson, a big mahoff in NYC civil rights in the early years (HARYOU, later 100 Black Men). Anybody else who had a son who flunked out of astrophysics at UT would have had to go drive a cab or something.Sean Davis at The Federalist has written some good pieces on the fraudulence of Tyson fils.http://thefederalist.com/tag/neil-degrasse-tyson/Tyson, the “public face of science.”http://alcalde.texasexes.org/2012/02/star-power/http://www.fastcocreate.com/1683635/a-tale-of-two-icons-when-john-lewis-met-neil-degrasse-tyson-at-comic-conBut it all flowed out of creating an artificial black elite. Intelligence, accomplishment not needed. Just the proper concatenation of significances.