This is the next segment in the "Atheists Heroes" series, which began with the Amazing Randi.
Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of my all-time heroes. Neil is an astrophysicist, the Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space, and a research associate in the department of astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History. Since 2006 he has hosted the educational science television show NOVA scienceNOW on PBS, and has been a frequent guest on The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and Real Time with Bill Maher.
Neil has authored some of my favorite books on astronomy, including:
Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier
Death by Black Holes: And Other Cosmic Quandries
Origins: 14 Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution (with Donald Goldsmith)
I also am very impressed with Neil's philosophy, which is so eloquently captured in the following two quotes: