Avis Lang

Writer and Editor, Hayden Associate


  • M.A. in History of Art, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • B.A. in English, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Research Interests

Since 2002, Avis Lang has been editing and collaborating with the ubiquitous space advocate Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City—initially as the senior editor responsible for his Natural History magazine column, “Universe”; subsequently as the editor of their book Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier (W.W. Norton, 2012); and most recently as coauthor of their book Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military (W.W. Norton, 2018). Several of the “Universe” essays produced during her years as editor of the column received awards from the American Institute of Physics or were included in the Best American Science Writing or Best American Science and Nature Writing annual anthologies, and some of the essays made their way into Tyson’s best-selling book Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (W.W. Norton, 2017).

In 2013, under her own name, Lang published an essay-length ebook, “Somehow, Someday: Prospects for Spacefaring,” intended for the lay reader willing to spend an hour acquiring a few basic ideas about space exploration. Working with the premise that, if asked whether humans will have colonized space by the year 2500, most people would say yes, the essay addressed how, in light of current realities, that goal might be achieved. It investigated the current state and long-term prospects of space politics and spacefaring, both within the United States and for humanity as a whole.

While working in Canada during the 1970s and 1980s as an art historian, essayist, curator, and performer, Lang taught fine arts and women’s studies at the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, the Banff Centre, and the University of Lethbridge. Her best-known curatorial project was Pork Roasts: 250 Feminist Cartoons (1981), an international traveling exhibition of work by more than a hundred cartoonists from thirteen countries. She now lives in New York City, where she has been an adjunct lecturer in English at the City University of New York and is currently a Research Associate at the Hayden Planetarium.


Recent Writings

Avis Lang, "The Ride Across the River," creative nonfiction, The Racket Journal, issue 66, April 11, 2022 

Avis Lang & Neil deGrasse Tyson, "The Pageant," short fiction, Orca: A Literary Journal, issue 7, Summer 2021

Avis Lang, " America Seeking Moon Miners to Dominate Space," op-ed, November 2020

Avis Lang, " The US Space Force and the Issue of Dominance," Zoom talk, June 2020

Avis Lang, " Accessory to War: A Brief Book Talk," 2019

Avis Lang, "America's Demand for Dominance in Space," op-ed, Globe and Mail, Sept. 29, 2018

Neil deGrasse Tyson and Avis Lang, Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military, W. W. Norton, 2018

Avis Lang, “Somehow, Someday: Prospects for Spacefaring,” Amazon Digital Services, 2013

Neil deGrasse Tyson, Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier (edited by Avis Lang), W. W. Norton, 2012