On Christmas Day, Neil deGrasse Tyson, America's best-known and most rightly beloved scientist and educator, took to Twitter to offer a birthday salutation to one of our most important historical figures.
"On this day long ago, a child was born who, by age 30, would transform the world. Happy Birthday Isaac Newton b. Dec 25, 1642"
"Imagine a world in which we are all enlightened by objective truths rather than offended by them."
After what must have been a holiday hailstorm of criticism and angry subtweeting, Tyson took to Facebook to clarify, with a post titled "My Most Retweeted Tweet," in which he explained that Newton had discovered the laws of motion, the universal law of gravitation, and invented integral and differential calculus all before the age of 30. Which, led to the industrial revolution that would forever transform the world.
Tyson's kind of a Newton 'shipper, frankly. But, he's not his only hero. In a Reddit AMA, a reader asked Tyson, "Which books should be read by every single intelligent person on the planet?", and the astrophysicist and director of the Hayden Planetarium responded with a tight list of eight essential titles everyone should read (if they haven't already). Put his picks on your book-club list for a mind-expanding 2015.