“The Science Guy.” William Sanford Nye who goes by his more popular moniker Bill Nye is a science educator who began his career in science as one of Boeing’s mechanical engineers. He is most popularly known as Bill Nye the Science Guy where he hosted the Disney/PBS science show for children. Bill Nye is also a comedian, actor, scientist, and a writer. He has gained popularity for his many appearances in today’s media as a fun to watch science educator.
Early Life and Education
Bill Nye was born in November 27, 1955. His mother was a codebreaker named Jacqueline Jenkins, and his World War II veteran father was named Edwin Darby Nye. His father survived Japanese prisoner-of-war camps and while interned he made sundials to tell the time. This later on had a significant influence on one of Bill’s scientific works.
For a year, Bill attended Lafayette Elementary then he moved to Alice Deal Junior High in Washington. He graduated from school in 1973 from Sidwell Friends School. Four years later he earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University. While at Cornell, Bill was a student of Carl Sagan’s astronomy class.
Bill Nye’s career began in Seattle when he worked for Boeing taking a part in their training films. Also, he developed a resonance suppressor making use of hydraulic pressure which was used in the Boeing 747 airplane. Bill left his engineering position in 1986 to concentrate on his entertainment career. In an interview for the St. Petersburg Times in 1999, he said that he applied to become one of the astronauts of NASA every once in a while but was never accepted.
Bill Nye the Science Guy
His name is always associated with “The Science Guy,” which is the character in a children’s science show. His professional career in entertainment began when he had to correct the pronunciation of “Almost Live’s” show host for the word “gigawatt” and said it as “jigowatt.” The host of the local sketch comedy program of Seattle then replied “Who do you think you are—Bill Nye the Science Guy?” which then earned him this moniker.
From 1991-1993, he appeared in the segments of “Back to the Future: The Animated Series” as Dr. Emmett Brown’s assistant. He demonstrated the science activities that Christopher Lloyd, who played Dr. Emmet Brown, was explaining. Because of the segment’s popularity, Bill Nye was given a show of his very own called “Bill Nye the Science Guy” which was aired from 1993-1998. While the shows were aimed to catch the attention of younger audiences, it gained viewership from adults as well and were even used as effective educational aids for school science classes.
Bill himself wrote and produced his show which was filmed entirely in Seattle. His image as a jocose science educator made it possible for him to reach out to more audiences while conveying factual scientific principles and elements. Whenever he portrayed The Science Guy, he wore a lab coat in a light blue color with a bow tie. This image has been parodied by several sources, which gained The Science Guy even more recognition.
Edutainment Career and Scientific Work
After his work as The Science Guy, Bill still kept his interest for teaching science utilizing entertainment. In the 1998 Disney Movie called “The Principal Takes a Holiday,” Bill made a hovercraft while demonstrating scientific applications in a novel classroom setup. From 2000-2002, he was the technical expert of “BattleBots”, and in 2004-2005, he hosted the award winning series for The Science Channel called “100 Greatest Discoveries”. He also hosted the 8-part series on the Discovery Channel called “Greatest Inventions with Bill Nye”. For older audiences, he featured in the 13-episode series from PBS KCTS-TV which was called “The Eyes of Nye”.
In the more recent years, he appeared in an acting role, portraying himself, in Stargate Atlantis’ fifth episode called “Brain Storm” where fellow astrophysicist Neil de Grasse Tyson also appeared. In 2012, he made appearances in “Here Comes the Summer” by Palmdale and in “The Dr. Oz Show”. In 2011, he appeared on CNN to talk about the nuclear issues in Japan caused by the tsunamis in the area.
His scientific works included helping with the development of a small sundial which was part of the missions of the Mars Exploration Rover. It was called the MarsDial and it had small panels of different colors. It was used for calibrating colors and as a timekeeping device. In 2005, Bill became The Planetary Society’s vice president, and this society advocated space research especially on other planets—Mars in particular. In 2006, Bill was a supporter of Pluto’s reclassification from being a planet to a dwarf planet.
In 2010, he became the face of Oakland, California’s Chabot Space & Science Center where his Climate Lab featured the Clean Energy Space Station where he was the commander. The exhibit aims to show people the impact of climate change, and opens the eyes of the viewers on what can be done regarding energy consumption and how smart innovations can change the state of the world.
Bill Nye holds several U.S. patents which include ballet pointe shoes and an educational magnifying glass which can be created by filling a plastic bag with some water. In addition to his career as a host and television personality, he served as a university professor at Cornell University.
While he is a member of several academic and scientific organizations, he is also a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. This is a non-profit educational and scientific organization which promotes science and scientific inquiry, critical thinking, science education, and the use of reason in examining important issues.
Bill Nye has lived in Los Angeles since 2006, and married Blair Tindall on February of the same year. He has received an honorary doctorate award from the Johns Hopkins University, and an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from Willamette University among other awards. He is a self-proclaimed lover of swing, and has been spotted having fun in dancing venues in the Los Angeles area.