Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Know your scientist: Bill Nye "The Science Guy

Objective: Change the World

This was the mission that Bill Nye (the famous teacher, science educator, comedian, and author) set out on nearly 21 years ago. Since 1992, Bill Nye has been a key figure in science education, as well as a public icon for science and what it means to think critically – If you were around in the 1990s, you know Bill Nye simply as, The Science Guy.

How does one attain the title of “Science Guy”? Here’s how Bill did it.

William Sanford Nye, or ‘Bill’ Nye was born in Washington D.C., November 27, 1955. Bill’s mother, adept at science and math, worked as a code-breaker during WWII. His father, a veteran of the war, was held prisoner for four years in a war camp without electricity. Nye’s father became a sundial enthusiast, which he naturally passed onto Bill. During his teenage years, Bill was accepted to the prestigious Sidwell Friends School, which has a reputation of being the “Harvard of Washington’s private schools;” this is the school that the children of many US presidents attended.

Bill went on to university at Cornell to study mechanical engineering, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Science. Satisfying his childhood fascination with aircraft, Bill moved to Seattle and worked for Boeing, for whom he created a hydraulic pressure resonance suppressor (engineering is exciting!), which is still used in the Boeing 747 today.

Ok, ok – So how does one go from working as an engineer at Boeing, to being the enthusiastic, energetic, and highly passionate “Science Guy”? in 1986, Bill’s career took a drastic turn, when he appeared on a local Seattle comedy television show called “Almost Live,” which led to his famous naming of “Science Guy.” During the show, Nye attempted to correct the host’s pronunciation of “jigowatt” (gigawatt) for which the host responded: “Who do you think you are? Bill Nye The Science Guy?”, the name stuck ever since and Bill went on to be an engineer by day, and comedian by night.

Learn more about this amazing man at:

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