Neil DeGrasse Tyson is about as close to a celebrity as an astrophysicist can get. Tyson is the director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City; he also makes frequent appearances on PBS, National Georgraphic, and Fox. He is a well-respected, even beloved figure. So it came as a shock to many when multiple women came forward to accuse Tyson of sexual misconduct.
One woman, Tchiya Amet, accused Tyson of drugging and raping her back in the 1980s, when they were both graduate students at the University of Texas. A second woman said that Tyson tried to feel her up at a party for astronomers. And a third woman has claimed that she had to quit working for Tyson after he propositioned her.
On Saturday, Tyson wrote a long, detailed defense and published it on his Facebook page. You can read that here. Tyson’s wife, Alice Young, has stood beside him amid the allegations. Here’s what you need to know about Alice Young:
1. She & Tyson Met in a Physics Class in Graduate School
Neil and Alice were both graduate students at the University of Texas, Austin. Neil said that he has a very clear memory of when he first saw Alice: it was in a physics class. But Alice apparently took longer to notice Neil. She told People Magazine that she didn’t notice him until much later. Alice said that was probably because they had very different styles. She said, “He was a back-of-the-classroom kind of guy, and I was definitely front-row.”
Another one of Neil’s classmates later accused him of having drugged and raped her while they were in graduate school. Neil said that the two of them dated briefly but that it never got serious; he completely denied ever assaulting her.
2. Alice Young Trained as a Mathematical Physicist & Worked for Bloomberg
Young earned her undergraduate degree in physics from Rice University and went on to get a PhD in mathematical physics from the University of a Texas, earning her degree in 1985. She and Tyson met during a class on relativity (Tyson eventually left the University of Texas, which he says treated him badly and was a hotbed of racist attitudes.)
3. Young & Tyson Have a Son & a Daughter
Young and Tyson named their first child — a daughter — Miranda, after one of the moons of Uranus. They also have a son, Travis. The family lives in lower Manhattan.
Miranda Tyson graduated from Harvard University, where she majored in East Asian studies. She works as a special education teacher in New York.
4. Young & Tyson Married in 1988
Alice Young and Neil DeGrasse Tyson first met in 1985, in a physics class at the University of Texas. (Neil said he noticed Alice right away; Alice said she was more focused on her studies and took longer to notice Neil.)
The couple married in 1988. They have two children and live in New York City, in lower Manhattan.
5. Young & Tyson Are Often Photographed at Red Carpet Events Together
Tyson and Young are often seen attending galas and premieres together. In photographs, the couple typically looks close and happy. You can see them attending the Grammys together here, and attending other galas, here.