Renowned American scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson makes history


Neil deGrasse Tyson has made history as the first American scientist to take home the Stephen Hawking Medal.

Tyson received the award on Tuesday for his skills and achievements in Science communication.

He won it for his work on his TV series "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" and his podcast turned TV show "StarTalk."

Hawking, a legendary British theoretical physicist, handpicks the recipients of the award himself, but he's never given one to an American before.

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The award is designed to highlight the stellar efforts of scientists, artists and storytellers who help translate the sometimes-complicated world of science into a more palatable form to help educate the general public.

Tyson and the other honorees will be celebrated later this month in Norway at the Starmus Festival, where Hawking will hand out the award.
Tyson said he's deeply moved by the award, especially to be honored by Stephen Hawking himself.

See Neil deGrasse Tyson through the years:

In an interview with WIRED, he said he does not ask himself daily how he can help bring science to the public, but instead tries to feed the natural curiosity he encounters.

"I see myself as a servant of the public's appetite for the Universe, not so much a leader of their interest," he said.

Other honorees this year include Jean-Michel Jarre, a French composer who focuses on space, and the popular CBS sitcom "The Big Bang Theory."

In the 1980s, Jarre planned to feature a saxophone part recorded by astronaut Ron McNair on the Challenger Space Shuttle, which would have made it the first piece of music recorded in space. Unfortunately, the Challenger explosion of 1986 sabotaged those plans, so Jarre converted the album, "Rendez Vous" into a tribute for the deceased crew members.

See Hawking through the years: