The Boe Forum on Public Affairs

Neil deGrasse Tyson, award-winning astrophysicist and author with speak at Augustana University in March 2017.

Augustana University and the Center for Western Studies today announced Neil deGrasse Tyson, award-winning astrophysicist, author, and host and narrator of FOX’s "Cosmos," will speak at the Boe Forum on Public Affairs, set for 7:30 p.m. on Monday, March 20.

Tyson will speak on the topic of “Science and Discovery” in the Elmen Center, located at 2505 S. Grange Ave. on the Augustana campus.


Free tickets for the public will be available at beginning at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 16.

Augustana students are eligible to receive one free ticket with their student ID during a pre-sale, to be held from noon to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 15, at the Augustana Box Office, located inside Morrison Commons.

Members of the Center for Western Studies will be sent information about how to reserve their tickets early. 

Science and Discovery

“Since its inception in 1995, the Boe Forum on Public Affairs has sought to provide access to individuals who can address events, issues or problems of worldwide or national concern and of broad public interest. On the subject of science and discovery, Neil deGrasse Tyson is a prominent scientist, world-class speaker and excellent choice for our next Boe Forum,” said Dr. Harry Thompson, executive director of the Center for Western Studies.

In its March 2014 Q&A with Tyson, Rolling Stone says: “Calling Neil deGrasse Tyson America's best-known astrophysicist isn't just recognizing his excellence and prominence in a fairly specialized field; it's in no small part due to his ceaseless efforts above and beyond his work at the Hayden Planetarium and the American Museum of Natural History, appearing everywhere from ‘Jeopardy!’ to ‘The Daily Show’ to wittily explain big scientific ideas with pop culture references and a purring baritone.”

The announcement comes just weeks after Augustana hosted nearly 500 alumni, friends and members of the campus community for the official dedication of the Froiland Science Complex, a 125,000-square-foot facility that features a high-fidelity nursing simulation center, multiple technology-rich “classatories” — rooms mixing traditional classroom elements and laboratory components — and state-of-the-art research areas for faculty and student collaborators in areas including physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics.

President Rob Oliver said the AU community is looking forward to Tyson’s visit.

“This is an exceptional year for science and discovery at Augustana and we are honored to host a scientist of such caliber as Neil deGrasse Tyson on our campus.”
— Rob Oliver

The Boe Forum on Public Affairs is an affairs program of the Center for Western Studies, along with the Dakota Conference on the Northern Plains and the Public Affairs imprint series. Whereas the Dakota Conference considers issues specific to the Northern Plains, usually in their historical and cultural contexts, the Boe Forum examines national and international issues of interest to residents of the Northern Plains.

About Neil deGrasse Tyson

Tyson's professional research interests are broad, but include star formation, exploding stars, dwarf galaxies, and the structure of our Milky Way.

In 2001, Tyson was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve on a 12-member commission that studied the Future of the U.S. Aerospace Industry. In 2004, Tyson was once again appointed by President Bush to serve on a nine-member commission on the Implementation of the United States Space Exploration Policy, dubbed the Moon, Mars, and Beyond commission. This group navigated a path by which the new space vision can become a successful part of the American agenda. And in 2006, the head of NASA appointed Tyson to serve on its prestigious Advisory Council, which will help guide NASA through its perennial need to fit its ambitious vision into its restricted budget.

In addition to dozens of professional publications, Tyson has written and continues to write for the public. From 1995 to 2005, Tyson was a monthly essayist for Natural History magazine under the title Universe.

Two of Tyson's recent books are the playful and informative “Death By Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandaries,” which was 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.

For five seasons, beginning in the fall of 2006, Tyson appeared as the on-camera host of PBS-NOVA's spinoff program NOVA “ScienceNOW,” which is an accessible look at the frontier of all the science that shapes the understanding of our place in the universe.

Recently Tyson served as Executive Editor and on-camera host and narrator for “Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey,” the 21st century continuation of Carl Sagan's landmark television series. “Cosmos” won four Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award, two Critics Choice awards, as well as a dozen other industry recognitions.

Tyson is the fifth head of the world-renowned Hayden Planetarium in New York City and the first occupant of its Frederick P. Rose Directorship. He is also a research associate of the Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History.

Tyson was born and raised in New York City where he was educated in the public schools clear through his graduation from the Bronx High School of Science. Tyson went on to earn his Bachelor of Arts studying physics at Harvard University and his Ph.D. in astrophysics from Columbia University.

About the Boe Forum

Through the Boe Forum on Public Affairs, the Center for Western Studies has hosted many of the world’s most influential leaders. View past Boe Forum speakers.