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Thomas Harriot Voyages of Discovery Lecture Series Brings Famed Astrophysicist to ECU

In the Premier Lecture of the Thomas Harriot Voyages of Discovery Lecture Series on Oct. 6, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City, will present “On the Origins of the Universe” at 7 p.m. in East Carolina University’s Wright Auditorium.

The lecture is being held in honor of the late Dr. W. Keats Sparrow, dean emeritus of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences from 1990-2005, who passed away in November 2009.

Tyson earned his bachelor of arts degree in physics from Harvard University and his doctorate in astrophysics from Columbia University. His professional research interests include star formation, exploding stars, dwarf galaxies and the structure of our Milky Way. He obtains his data from the Hubble Space Telescope as well as from telescopes in California, New Mexico, Arizona and the Andes Mountains of Chile.

In addition to dozens of professional publications, Tyson frequently writes for the general public. Among Tyson's nine books is his memoir “The Sky is Not the Limit: Adventures of an Urban Astrophysicist” and “Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution,” co-written with Donald Goldsmith. “Origins” is the companion book to the PBS/NOVA 4-part mini-series “Origins,” for which Tyson serves as on-camera host.

He is also the author of “Death By Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandaries,” a New York Times bestseller, and “The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet,” chronicling his experience at the center of the controversy over Pluto's planetary status. The PBS/NOVA documentary “The Pluto Files,” based on the book, premiered in March 2010 at the American Museum of Natural History.

Over the years, Tyson has received numerous awards and recognitions. He is the recipient of 12 honorary doctorates and the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal. Also, he is the first person to hold the Frederick P. Rose Directorship of the Hayden Planetarium.

Complimentary tickets to the lecture are available to ECU students, faculty and staff, and are $10 for the general public. Tickets are available through the ECU Central Ticket Office by calling 252-328-4788, 1-800-ECU-ARTS or (voice/TTY) 252-328-4736. Individuals requesting accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should call 252-737-1016 (voice/TTY) at least 48 hours prior to the event.