Bill Nye was the gentleman lucky enough to be tasked with engaging Gen Y in science. Bill Nye the Science Guy used quick cuts and silly gags to foster a love of science in young people starting in the mid-nineties. As a result, children everywhere irritated grown-ups by constantly correcting them. Bill has recently returned to our TVs appearing on shows like Dancing with the Stars and Dr. Oz . In honor of our great heroes return, here are ten Bill Nye facts!
1. Bill has a new web series!
Why with Nye! He tackles questions about NASA’s Mission Juno, like the Earth fly by, solar powered spaceflight, and planetary properties (does Jupiter have a core?) The episodes are only a few minutes, but as soon as you start watching, you’ll remember why he captivated you so much as a child. He seems to effortlessly engage you in SCIENCE!
2. Bill Nye the Science Guy has won a whopping 19 Emmy Awards.
The biggest repeat seem to be in sound editing and mixing. They did win the Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Series and writing a few times, but the sound editing/mixing is undoubtedly their forté. One of the trademarks of the series was the silly sound effects they peppered liberally throughout every scene. Check out this clip where they use over a dozen weird wooshing and slapping sound effects in one minute.
3. Bill Nye features in the Ellen’s Energy Adventure attraction at Epcot in the Universe of Energy.
It explains different forms of energy and their origins while the audience sits in a moving theatre. Bill Nye takes Ellen back in time to show her the Big Bang and dinosaurs. In a testament to the ’90s, a robot Ellen fights a dinosaur and Michael Richards shows up as a caveman. There are many Timelord jokes for the taking here!
4. Ladies go crazy for Bill Nye- literally!
In 2006, he had a surprise ceremony with speaker and musician Blair Tindall. For unclear reasons, seven weeks later California declared that their marriage licence was invalid and they were never technically married. Bill took it as a sign and left Tindall. She responded by sneaking back to his home and killing his gardens with weed killer. He had to get a restraining order against her… which she violated.
5. Bill Nye loves swing dancing.
Maybe that’s why he thought Dancing with the Stars was a good idea. He wrote on his blog at The Planetary Society: “I believe we can broaden awareness of the Society and thereby humankind’s exploration of the Cosmos one ballroom dance at a time.” Unfortunately, he had to be eliminated due to an injury in Week 3, but luckily he left us with some adorably awkward videos.
6. Bill Nye & Ed Begley Jr. have a neighborly carbon footprint-off to see who can have the smallest impact.
They both have solar panels and vegetable gardens, but Ed has an integrated solar heating and hot water system, composter, and something called a “xeriscaped” yard. Xeriscaping is a landscaping technique that uses as many local and drought-resistant plants as possible to save water. Due to the excessive amount of bow ties Bill Nye owns, I’m going to say that Ed Begley Jr. could be beating him. On his website, Bill contends that he should get points for style.
7. Bill Nye designed a new ballet shoe!
Among other inventions, Bill Nye has invented a ballet slipper that supports a dancer’s foot, toes and ankles, while en-point. The high-tech shoe includes a feature called the “toe box” in the toe of the shoe that includes “a foot encirculating tubular sleeve.” The shoe is designed to put less stress on the dancer’s feet with the goal of reducing pain and damage. (Do yourself a favor and never Google “ballet dancer feet,” unless you are into that sort of thing.) Check out full patent details here!
8. Bill once won a Steve Martin look-a-like contest.
He credits it with giving him the comedy bug. He pursued stand up comedy at night while working at Boeing as an engineer on control systems. A group of friends persuaded him into entering a Steve Martin look-a-like contest! That experience, combined with volunteering as a “science explainer” with the United Way Big Brothers at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, inspired the edutaining Science Guy persona.
9. Bill Nye is hooked on gnomonics!
His father developed a fascination with sundials while he was a prisoner-of-war in Japan during World War II. When he returned home he married a math-whiz who cracked codes for the Navy! Together they passed on their love to Bill. He is responsible for the MarsDials, which are affixed to Spirit and Opportunity. The words “Two worlds, One sun” is written on them in twenty-two languages. There is also a message to future space explorers who may come across them: “To those who visit here, we wish a safe journey and the joy of discovery.”
10. Bill Nye appeared in Season 5 of Stargate Atlantis along with Neil deGrasse Tyson, playing themselves.
Well, slightly more dickish versions of themselves. They tease Rodney McKay incessantly. It’s a bit like Mean Girls if it starred catty scientists instead of teenagers. Neil and Bill both act a bit lecherous toward our beloved Jennifer Keller. They try their best at acting, while Bill explains the declassification of Pluto, makes a Flock of Seagulls joke, and calls dibs on poor Dr. Keller.