David Karp, Tumblr’s founder, dropped out of Bronx High School of Science at 14 to focus on computers. He just sold Tumblr to Yahoo! for $1.1 billion at the age of 26.

It’s the same story over again. Bright kid going to a prestigious school drops out, learns new technology, and becomes extremely wealthy. I don’t know if there’s any clearer message than that that shows you that you are ultimately in control of how successful or wealthy you become. Don’t blame the lack of schooling. Don’t blame your teachers. Don’t blame your parents.

If you really want to make it in this world, go out there and learn, innovate, and sell. If you’re seeking advice or a place to learn how to code, then I’ve already spent hundreds of hours providing those for you already:

Learning resources:

And when you are ready, and think you have what it takes, then pick up this book and learn from my mistakes and successes. It’ll save you a lot of time by not having to learn all the tips on your own like I had to do:

Interesting side note: David and I were in the same high school at the same time. Another person at that school at the same time, Grace Wong, went on to become a Hong Kong TV star. I was just watching one of her shows the other day. Maybe there was something in the air at the place at that time.

Dear HONY,

Jon Cruz is not a millionaire, nor a politician, and outside the little niche he has carved for himself and filled with many others he is not famous at all; yet, he is one of the one of the most important men in New York City. He is the coach of the Bronx Science HS Debate Team.

Every day he gives up his time to help his students form their own opinions, grow as citizens and as people. He runs the largest debate team in the country, spending countless hours raising funds for it so that everybody at our diverse public school is able to compete across the nation. He memorizes everybody’s first name after he meets them and will remember them for the rest of his life.

What makes him so memorable? He is a fabulous, unapologetic, Jewish gay man; a model for so many students who came out to him first for help. His style is inspired with equal parts of George Lucas, Walter Mondale, and Liberace. He can tell you the best place for sushi in Soho, pizza in Midtown, and gumbo in Georgia. But most of all, no person could ever do what he does, at least not with the same enthusiasm and care which he does it.

The Bronx Science HS Debate Team

[W]e really need to stop allowing the trope of the poor, bootstrapping Asian Americans to be appropriated by anti-diversity advocates as a political cudgel in defense of an unfair system of unequal educational access that flies in the face of all conventional understanding with regard to racial diversity, equal access and the purpose of public services like education. I am not your wedge.

Happy Birthday, Neil deGrasse Tyson!

Neil deGrasse Tyson (/ˈnəl dəˈɡræs ˈtsən/; born October 5, 1958) is an American astrophysicist, author, and science communicator. He is currently the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space and a research associate in the department of astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History. From 2006 to 2011, he hosted the educational science television show NOVA ScienceNow on PBS and has been a frequent guest on The Daily ShowThe Colbert Report, and Real Time with Bill Maher. Since 2009, he has hosted the weekly radio show Star Talk. In 2014, Tyson hosted Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, an update to Carl Sagan’s Cosmos: A Personal Voyage (1980) television series.[2]

Tyson was born as the second of three children in the borough of Manhattan in New York City and was raised in the Bronx.[1] His mother, Sunchita Marie (Feliciano) Tyson, was a gerontologist of Puerto Rican descent,[3] and his father, Cyril deGrasse Tyson, an African American, was a sociologist, human resource commissioner for New York City mayorJohn Lindsay, and the first Director of Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited.[4][5]

From kindergarten through high school Tyson attended public schools in New York City, all in the Bronx, which included PS 36, PS 81, Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy (MS 141), and The Bronx High School of Science (1972–76)[6] where he was captain of the wrestling team, and editor-in-chief of the school's Physical Science Journal. Tyson had an abiding interest in astronomy since he was nine years old, following his visit to Pennsylvania and seeing the stars, saying “it looks like the Hayden Planetarium”.[7] He obsessively studied astronomy in his teens, and eventually even gained some fame in the astronomy community by giving lectures on the subject at the age of fifteen.[8] Tyson recalls that “so strong was that imprint [of the night sky] that I’m certain that I had no choice in the matter, that in fact, the universe called me.”[7]

Tyson revisited this moment on his first episode of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. Pulling out a 1975 calendar belonging to the famous astronomer, he finds the day Sagan invited the 17-year-old to spend a day in Ithaca. Sagan had offered to put him up for the night if his bus back to the Bronx didn’t come. Tyson said, “I already knew I wanted to become a scientist. But that afternoon, I learned from Carl the kind of person I wanted to become.”[10][11]

Tyson chose to attend Harvard University, however, where he majored in physics and lived in Currier House. He was a member of the crew team during his freshman year, but returned to wrestling, eventually lettering in his senior year. In addition to wrestling and rowing in college, he was active in dance, in styles including jazz,balletAfro-Caribbean, and Latin Ballroom.[12] Tyson earned a Bachelor of Arts in physics from Harvard in 1980 and began his graduate work at the University of Texas at Austin; he was unable to complete his Ph.D. because his thesis committee voted to dissolve itself[13] and he received a Master of Arts in astronomy in 1983. In 1985, he won a gold medal with the University of Texas dance team at a national tournament in the International Latin Ballroom style. He was a lecturer at the University of Maryland from 1986-1987.[14]

In 1988, Tyson was accepted into the astronomy graduate program at Columbia University, where he earned a Master of Philosophy in astrophysics in 1989, and aDoctor of Philosophy in astrophysics in 1991[15] under the supervision of Professor R. Michael Rich (now at UCLA). Rich obtained funding to support Tyson’s doctoral research from NASA and the ARCS foundation[16] enabling Tyson to attend international meetings in Italy, Switzerland, Chile, and South Africa[14] and to hire students to help him with data reduction.[17] In the course of his thesis work, he observed using the 0.91 m telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, where he obtained images for the Calán/Tololo Supernova Survey[18][19][20] helping to further their work in establishing Type Ia Supernovae as standard candles. These papers comprised part of the discovery papers of the use of Type Ia supernovae to measure distances, which led to the improved measurement of the Hubble constant[21] and discovery of dark energy in 1998.[22][23] He was 18th author on a paper with Brian Schmidt, a future winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, in the study of the measurement of distances to Type II Supernovae and the Hubble constant.[24]

During his thesis work at Columbia University, Tyson became acquainted with Professor David Spergel at Princeton University, who visited Columbia University in the course of collaborating with his thesis advisor on the Galactic bulge.[25][26][27] Tyson was a postdoctoral research fellow at Princeton University from 1991 to 1994 and it was during this period that the project to renovate the Hayden Planetarium was conceived.

Tyson’s research has focused on observations in cosmologystellar evolutiongalactic astronomybulges, and stellar formation. He has held numerous positions at institutions including the University of MarylandPrinceton University, theAmerican Museum of Natural History, and Hayden Planetarium.

Tyson has written a number of popular books on astronomy. In 1995, he began to write the “Universe” column for Natural History magazine. In a column he authored for a special, “City of Stars,” edition of the magazine in 2002, Tyson popularized the term “Manhattanhenge” to describe the two days annually on which the evening sun aligns with the street grid in Manhattan, making the sunset visible along unobstructed side streets. He had coined the term in 1996, inspired by how the phenomenon recalls the sun’s solstice alignment with the Stonehenge monument in England.[28] Tyson’s column also influenced his work as a professor with The Great Courses.[29]

In 2001, US President George W. Bush appointed Tyson to serve on the Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry and in 2004 to serve on the President’s Commission on Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy, the latter better known as the “Moon, Mars, and Beyond” commission. Soon afterward he was awarded the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by NASA.[30]

In 2004, he hosted the four-part Origins miniseries of PBS's Nova,[31] and, with Donald Goldsmith, co-authored the companion volume for this series, Origins: Fourteen Billion Years Of Cosmic Evolution.[32] He again collaborated with Goldsmith as the narrator on the documentary 400 Years of the Telescope, which premiered on PBS in April 2009.

As director of the Hayden Planetarium, Tyson bucked traditional thinking in order to keep Pluto from being referred to as the ninth planet in exhibits at the center. Tyson has explained that he wanted to look at commonalities between objects, grouping the terrestrial planets together, the gas giants together, and Pluto with like objects and to get away from simply counting the planets. He has stated on The Colbert ReportThe Daily Show, and BBC Horizon that this decision has resulted in large amounts of hate mail, much of it from children.[33] In 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) confirmed this assessment by changing Pluto to the dwarf planet classification. Daniel Simone wrote of the interview with Tyson describing his frustration. “For a while, we were not very popular here at the Hayden Planetarium.”

More Information on Neil deGrasse Tyson


Wake up after three hours of sleep

Miss your train

Get off the train, you’re late to school

Got late slip from the machine

Teacher’s don’t check your homework, the one you actually did

Find out about a test that nobody told you about

There’s a yellow slip on your door


Back to class

End of school

Assigned SGI?

Hours of homework

Finally get to bed at two in the morning


“Speaking and debating competitively is the best way to hone so many important skills for life. Confidence in front of an audience? Yes. Poise under pressure? Yes. The skills needed to research? Yes. The ability to speak extemporaneously? Yes. The chance to make friends with peers from across the city, state, and country? Yes. Training to be the leaders of tomorrow? Definitely.

Bronx Science has one of the very largest teams in the United States. We have been lucky to be ranked #1 in the country before and we’ve won national titles. I can’t express how awesome it is to work with so many humble, bright kids from so many backgrounds who all share a passion for such a valuable, enjoyable activity.”

-Jon Cruz, Coach of the Bronx Science Debate Team

Although drugs are usually associated with failing schools and poor neighborhoods, I’ve never been more surrounded by them more than at Stuy. From pot all the way up to heroin, drugs coursed through the school. They were stored in lockers, exchanged in empty hallways and taken in bathrooms. The relative affluence of Stuy families supplied the funding, the reputation of the school created a haven, and the constantly reaffirmed intelligence of the students reinforced the will to go ahead with even the worst ideas—after all, we were so fucking smart; what could possibly go wrong? Even our education was an enabler; preparing ketamine is a lot easier when you know a thing or two about chemistry.
  • 57% of 1960 Bronx Science graduates think they are environmentally conscious whereas 41% of 2011 graduates think they are environmentally conscious
  • 29% of 1960 Bronx Science graduates think they were great students where as 43% of 2011 grads think they are great students
  • 83% of 1960 grads are able to express themselves whereas only 49% of 2011 grads are able to express themselves
  • 75% of 1960 B.S. grads are book readers whereas only 52% of 2011 grads are.
  • 91% of 1960 BS grads are newspaper readers whereas a mere 39% of 2011 grads do.
  • 9% of 1960 BS grads believe in an afterlife but a shocking 35% of 2011 grads believe there is an afterlife.