So, who is YOUR favorite astrophysicist?

It’s a random question I ask my wife occasionally. While she almost never has an answer, the specific answer is not the point, the fact that you never hear a question like this that is the point.

Most people I know have a favorite actor or actress or band or singer or football player or other of celebrity. But nobody has a favorite astrophysicist, molecular biologist, chemist, etc… In fact most of my friends would never even think of the question, much less formulate an answer.

So this post is to introduce you, dear reader, to MY favorite astrophysicist.

The following video is a talk from Neil deGrasse Tyson at Beyond Belief 2006. He makes a number of very good points on various topics, and I don’t want to influence your watching the video, so I’ll save my thoughts for the comments.


About Rodibidably

Jeff Randall is a frequent volunteer for free-thought organizations, including the Center For Inquiry – DC. Having been blogging since January 2008, he decided that a community of bloggers would be an interesting new experience (or at the very least a fun way to annoy his friends into reading his posts more frequently). Since finding out about about the existence of, and then joining, the atheist/skeptic community in 2007 he has been committed to community activism, critical thinking in all aspects of life, science, reason, and a fostering a secular society.
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9 Responses to So, who is YOUR favorite astrophysicist?

  1. benmaulis says:

    Favorite chemist: Genet Zemede. She works on developing novel peptides for pharmaceuticals, particularly peptide compounds that are agonists of the erythropoietin receptor. She also has the testimony of Jesus Christ.

    Favorite molecular biologist: Mary Yen Mark. I met her when she was working in molecular and cell biology research as a biologist in Palo Alto, California. She kept the testimony of Jesus Christ.

    Favorite astrophysicist: Micaiah Maulis. My son is well able to recognize the moon in any of its phases and can also identify the sun and stars. Though it doesn’t occur to him to use great swelling words to impress others, I know he is able to understand that which transcends language articulated by another this way:

    The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. [There is] no speech nor language, [where] their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which [is] as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, [and] rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth [is] from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.

    Runners-up for the astrophysicist would be the wise men that came from the east to Jerusalem because they had seen Christ’s star and came to worship him.

  2. Rodibidably says:

    I’m sensing a pattern in your choices. I’m curious if it’s the work done by these scientists that you respect, or their belief in the same god that you believe in.
    (i.e. if they were the exact same as they are now, but instead of christian, they followed vishnu or allah or l ron hubbard or the flying spaghetti monster, would you have listed them?

    Also fwiw, astrophysicist is not the same as astronomer. Astrophysicist implies using physics to better understand astronomy (or astronomy to better understand physics). Looking through a telescope (or up at the sky) does not make one an astrophysicist.

  3. Rodibidably says:


    Ok, I have to preface this comment a bit first…
    I had sent Neil deGrasse Tyson an email a while back about an astronomy / chemistry / physics question I did not quite understand. I got an email back from a student (I assume student) of his (at least according to the reply it seemed Dr Tyson asked this student to reply on his behalf). The student was able to perfectly answer my question, and apologized for Dr Tyson not being to reply himself, as he was quite busy. I totally understood this, as I had not expected Dr Tyson to reply himself, it was just that I figured somebody at the Hayden Planetarium would be able to direct me where to find my answer.
    But more than just pointing out where I could find the info, this student took the time to reply to my email point by point explaining where I was correct, and where I was missing information, and filling it in quite nicely for me.
    All in all it was a cool experience knowing that in the future if I have a question on something related to this, I have a ready resource.

    On to the point of this comment:
    Earlier today, I sent Neil deGrasse Tyson another email earlier today (unrelated to this particular post, and not a question this time, just an information email). From my last encounter I figured that Dr Tyson would likely have a student or somebody reply on his behalf, which I was fine with.

    However, less than 30 minutes after sending my email, I got a reply from Dr Tyson personally. The reply was short but that’s completely understandable considering the “celebrity” of Dr Tyson, and the fact that he’s under no obligation to reply to me at all.

    What made this reply so cool in my view, was that as a bit of a throw away line in my email, I mentioned this blog, and this particular post. I hardly expected any comment regarding that, since it was just a bit of a throw away and background for the email, and his email reply already covered the main purpose of my email to him. However in the email from Dr Tyson the following line was near the bottom:
    p.s. My favorite astrophysicist is Sir Martin Rees. One of the last “gentleman scientists”. Brilliant. Prolific. Kind. And numble.

    On one hand, now I have ot go out and get a few books on Sir Martin Rees. On the other hand… SO FREAKING COOL!

    I don’t know if Dr Tyson will read this comment. Actually let me rephrase that. I HIGHLY DOUBT there is any chance that Dr Tyson will read this comment, but I’d just like to say, that’s really cool of you.

    I said it in my original email to you, and I’ll sat it again, thank you Dr Tyson.

  4. Pingback: Eight Random Reasons To Follow Phil Plait « Rodibidably

  5. Ex Back says:

    This topic is quite trendy on the Internet right now. What do you pay attention to when choosing what to write about?

  6. Haha I’m really the only comment to this incredible article!

  7. Pingback: Eleven Random Reasons To Follow Phil Plait | Thinking Critically

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