Not so long ago Neil deGrasse Tyson was a Twitter celebrity of the highest caliber. People looked to him for science facts when they were needed most, and he gave them exactly that. Now, however, people's taste for scientific commentary on life's little joys seems to have waned. The famous astrophysicist tweeted a thought that seemed positively cantankerous and Twitter was pretty annoyed by it.
The Tweet, which sounds as if it's straight out of the mouth of a cartoon grandpa, reads:
In my day, the word 'Awesome' was reserved for things like curing Polio and walking on the Moon, not for food or TV shows.
Tyson is undoubtably a genius, but this tweet is just... oof.
Even Merriam-Webster, the popular dictionary, felt compelled to throw some shade at deGrasse Tyson.
They chose to take a simple route: "Neil." That period really landed the tone. If I were Mr. deGrasse Tyson, I'd feel suitably shamed.
Twitter took Merriam-Webster's lead and pretty quickly piled onto deGrasse Tyson.
Tyson also drew comparisons to a certain animated grandfather.
Neil has gone after people's use of "awesome" before.
What's more, he's not completely innocent of this particular misstep.
Perhaps we should give what he's saying a listen? After all, his website's biography outlines some of his many accomplishments:
Neil deGrasse 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 BA in Physics from Harvard and his PhD in Astrophysics from Columbia.
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 Bush to serve on a 12-member commission that studied the Future of the US Aerospace Industry. The final report was published in 2002 and contained recommendations (for Congress and for the major agencies of the government) that would promote a thriving future of transportation, space exploration, and national security.
And that's not all. He was also voted "Sexiest Astrophysicist Alive!"
Tyson is the recipient of twenty honorary doctorates and the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest award given by NASA to a non-government citizen. His contributions to the public appreciation of the cosmos have been recognized by the International Astronomical Union in their official naming of asteroid 13123 Tyson. On the lighter side, Tyson was voted Sexiest Astrophysicist Alive by People Magazine in 2000.