More than 4,000 tickets were snapped up within days when it was announced that internationally known astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson was going to visit UIndy in October. Tyson spent nearly three hours on stage in the Nicoson arena, which he entered to whistles and a standing ovation from a packed-to-the-rafters crowd. Another 400-plus fans viewed the standing-room-only show on closed-circuit video in Ransburg Auditorium. Speaking—or rather, performing—well past the allotted time, the director of New York’s Hayden Planetarium roamed the stage and bantered with the audience while clicking through slides and breezing through a parade of topics, from the risk of asteroid collisions to his appearance in a Superman comic book.
At one point, Tyson took a cell call and held his phone up to the microphone. It was his comrade Bill Nye the Science Guy, who offered his own words of inspiration: “You can change the world,” Nye said to the astonished crowd. “Go Greyhounds!”
The whirlwind UIndy tour began with an informal hour-long chat before a select group of students. “I think of myself as a servant to the public’s appetite for the universe,” he said. He also addressed a VIP crowd at a reception preceding the main event.
Tyson’s visit was part of UIndy’s Blanche E. Penrod Lecture Series and was sponsored in part by Graystone Consulting, Monarch Beverage Co., Krieg Devault LLP, and RJE Business Interiors.