American astrophysicist and author Neil deGrasse Tyson, 55, is director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City, and one of the world's most popular scientists.
More than 1.7 million of his followers on Twitter regularly hear his musings on space and science. He is also a regular guest on late-night US comedy talk shows such as The Daily Show.
Others will remember him as the man considered by many as the one who "killed" Pluto by supporting its downgrade from planet to a dwarf planet.
More recently, he drew laughs by panning Oscar-winning space film Gravity for its inaccuracies in depicting space.
Dr Tyson grew up in New York's gritty Bronx neighbourhood, before going on to study physics at Harvard University and earning a PhD in astrophysics from Columbia University.
He continues to obtain data from telescopes such as the Hubble Space Telescope to support his research into fields such as star formation and dwarf galaxies.
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