Astrophysicist lecture expects astronomical turnout

Neil deGrasse Tyson to speak at GVSU

By Erin Grogan | 10/20/13 6:46pm


Neil deGrasse Tyson, a well-known astrophysicist, will visit Grand Valley State University’s Allendale Campus on Nov. 13 to speak about the scientific process and the ways to make and discover answers to both small and large questions.

Tyson, who is currently the Frederick P. Rose director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, will present his lecture, “Science as a Way of Knowing,” to an audience anticipated to number in the thousands.

“As the only secular group on campus, we hope Tyson’s appearance will inspire people of all backgrounds to think broader on important scientific and life questions that surround us,” said Aziza Ahmadi, event planner of the Center for Inquiry, which is a student organization at GVSU involved with planning the event.

In addition to the Center for Inquiry, the Physics Club will also be co-hosting the speaker.

“It is said that he never gives the same talk twice, so we are really excited to see what he has to say,” said Amy Mohr, president of the Physics Club.

Tyson’s speaking fee is $40,000, and an additional $15,000 was spent to cover the rest of the cost for the event, said Maria Beelen, vice president of the Center for Inquiry.

The funds were covered by the event co-sponsors: Spotlight Productions, the Office of Student Life, the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Frederik Meijer Honors College and the Center for Inquiry Michigan.

“As far as I know, it is the largest event to come to Grand Valley,” Beelen said. “We are expecting around 3,000 to 4,000 people.”

Co-sponsors will have informational tables set up in the Fieldhouse before and after the presentation. After the event, Tyson will also be available to sign books and answer some questions.

Tyson has written 10 books on space exploration, hosted the “Nova Science Now” show on PBS and is working on a remake of Carl Sagan’s TV show “Cosmos” to be aired in the spring of 2014 on Fox Network.

Tyson’s lecture is not just intended for those interested in science. Ahmadi said Tyson communicates scientific ideas to those who would not normally be interested in science and suggested that students attend the event if they are interested in education in general.

Tickets for GVSU students are free and available today at the 20/20 Information Desk. There is a limit of two tickets per person, and they will be available free to the public starting Friday.

Tyson’s lecture will be held at 7 p.m. in the Fieldhouse. For more information, visit www.

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