Phil Plait

On this date in 1964, astronomer, blogger, and skeptic Phil Plait was born in Washington, D.C. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Virginia in 1994. He worked with the Hubble Space Telescope for 10 years, then got involved with astronomy education.

Plait frequently gives talks that focus on astronomy and debunking myths and skepticism. The last slide of his presentation at TAM 6, a skeptic conference in Las Vegas, said, “The Universe is cool enough without making up crap about it.” His blog, Bad Astronomy, has won many awards and was named one of the 25 best blogs of 2009 by Time magazine. He became the president of the James Randi Educational Foundation in 2008 but left after a short stint to pursue television projects. He has been a part of many science documentaries, and the Discovery Channel featured him in the documentary “Bad Universe.”

His books include Death from the Skies!: The Science Behind the End of the World (2009) and Bad Astronomy: Misconceptions and Misuses Revealed, from Astrology to the Moon Landing Hoax” (2002) and 27 Nerd Disses: A Significant Quantity of Disrespect (with Zach Weinersmith, 2013). He is married to Marcella Setter, with whom he runs Science Getaways based in Boulder, Colo., which provides vacation adventures.

Erlend Aakre photo of Plait at TAM 9 in 2011. CC 2.0

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