Bill Nye the Science Guy
Making science entertaining and accessible is something that Bill has been doing for most of his life. Humor runs rampant in his family “...we just get together and laugh” - and his parents make sure he knew the value of education. Bill discovered he had a talent for tutoring in high school, and while growing up in Washington, D.C., he spent his summers de-mystifying math and science for fellow students. When he wasn’t hitting the books, he was hitting the road on his bicycle, which he spent hours taking apart and rebuilding, to “see how it worked.”
Bill’s fascination with how things work led him to Cornell University and a degree in mechanical engineering. After graduation, he headed for Seattle to work as an engineer at Boeing. “I’ve always loved airplanes and flight,” says Bill. “The space program was really important to me as a kid. I still have a photo of Armstrong and Aldrin on the moon in my living room.”
It was Seattle that Bill began to combine his love of science with his flair for comedy, when he won a Steve Martin look-alike contest and developed dual careers as an engineer by day and a stand-up comic by night.
Eventually he segued into a fortuitous combination of both science and comedy as Bill Nye the Science Guy, performing and writing on KING-TV’s late-night ensemble comedy show, Almost Live! (also seen on Comedy central), guesting on The Disney Channel’s Mickey Mouse Club, and answering science and science-related questions on local and national radio programs. With fellow KING-TV alumni Jim McKenna and Erren Gottlieb, Bill has made a number of award-winning educational videos and programs for school-age and adult audiences, among them Fabulous Wetlands for the Washington State Department of Ecology.
Along with his duties as head writer of Bill Nye the Science Guy, for which he has received five Daytime Emmy Awards, including Best Performer in a Children’s Series, Bill is also the author of Bill Nye the Science Guy’s Big Blast of Science, an introductory science text from Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, and Bill Nye the Science Guy’s Please Consider the Following from Disney Press. He will release his third book, Big Blue Ocean, published by Disney Press (September 1999). Outside of the Science Guy realm, is career as an inventor is off to a flying start: Bill was recently issued a patent on a collapsible, water-filled magnifying glass.
In the space of 43 short years, Seattle’s favorite stand-up scientist hasn’t changed much from that kid growing up in Washington, D.C. He still rides his bicycle to work (he also serves on the Mayor’s Advisory Board in Seattle) and has tutored inner-city pre-teens and teens as part of the “I Have a Dream” program aimed at keeping kids on track towards college and university studies.
With everything he’s accomplished so far, Bill feels his work has really just begun. “My modest little goal,” he chuckles, “is to change the world.” Sharing the wonder and the joy of learning is what keeps Bill on the go.
In the coming year, Bill and his production team hope to develop a series of specials aimed at an adult audience. In the Nye fashion, these programs would present science concepts to adults in a humorous and engaging manner. Bill Nye is a man with a mission: to help foster a scientifically literate society. And as long as Bill is fascinated with how the world works, it’s a safe bet that viewers will be, too.
Bill Nye is a graduate of Cornell University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. He also holds two honorary Doctorate degrees from Rensellear Polytechnic Institute and Goucher College.