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Science fanatic Lewis, 16, spends the day with Neil Degrasse Tyson

Lewis joking around with Dr. Tyson.

“ The lecture was so popular tickets sold out in 90 minutes, and students were trying desperately just to view a live stream of the lecture. But we had front row seats! ”

- Lewis

“I love science, and Dr. Tyson is the best person for it. They call him the ‘rockstar of science,’” said Lewis. Dr. Tyson, the star of Cosmos TV show, is a famous astrophysicist and science author and it was Lewis’ wish to spend time with his celebrity idol.

The wish trip started out just like any celebrity trip would -- Lewis and his family were picked up by a white Humvee limo for the ride to the airport. There, Lewis received a backpack of gifts from Southwest Airlines and was able got to sit in the cockpit with the pilot.

The plane took the family to Salt Lake City and the University of Utah campus, where Dr. Tyson was lecturing to a crowd of like-minded science “geeks.”

Because the lecture was in the evening, Lewis and his family visited and explored the Willard Eccles Observatory on campus. While they were there, a worker from the university gave Lewis a poster of the sun from that same morning, which he treasures.

Then, it was time for Dr. Tyson.

“The lecture was so popular tickets sold out in 90 minutes, and students were trying desperately just to view a live stream of the lecture,” said Lewis. “But we had front row seats!”

After Dr. Tyson’s lecture, Lewis was escorted to the VIP back green room to personally meet the astrophysicist. There, Dr. Tyson wrote Lewis a personal note in his new book, Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier, which had been gifted to Lewis by his wish granter. Lewis also showed him the poster he received from the observatory worker, and Dr. Tyson told him about sun flares.

In the weeks leading up to his wish, Lewis spent a lot of his time in Mesa’s Heatsync Lab, working on something he wanted to give to Dr. Tyson.

“I drafted and lasered a shape out of acrylic that ended up being Dr. Tyson’s favorite planet, Saturn,” said Lewis, who spends a lot of time exploring the “maker’s space” at Heatsync. The astrophysicist was very impressed with Lewis’s work, which he cherishes.

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