(See what I did there?)
Bill Nye the Science Guy was on TV a little after my middle-school tenure, but my early students requested his videos constantly, even when they were really too old for the level of presentation. Even xkcd loves him.
Be still, my little nerd-heart, where it says Bill Nye and Dr. Tyson count each other as best friends! The NYTimes has an article about Nye’s new activities as a science-literacy advocate. Highlight:
“When people call [evolution, climate change, etc.] ‘controversial topics,’ that’s misleading,” he continued. “They are only controversial politically. And politics is not necessarily evidence-based.”
They also had a mock-clash, where Mr. Nye pinned Dr. Tyson’s arms back so Brian Greene could take a couple of swings. The whole lecture on storytelling in science (which I’m still working through) is fascinating, but the wrestling clip is here in case you’re impatient.
I sorta almost worked for Bill Nye. During college, I had an internship at a large paper product company. For their back-to-school launch of facial tissues, Bill Nye was the official brand that year. He was going to present to the marketing people and executives and give them some sort of pep talk. A marketing guy heard I ran a chemistry show for my college and maybe I’d like to help make a demo for Mr. Nye to use. Would I?? The happy-nerd-dance was probably embarrassing, but fortunately, cellphone cameras weren’t yet around. As per the marketing guy’s instructions (“something like, baking soda and vinegar makes bubbles or fizz or something, right?”), I made some instructions for his marketing experiment, and warned him that it wouldn’t work the way he wanted, so I also included some alternatives. He promised to call me when Mr. Nye came to campus for the event, but he never called. I guess that was my almost-brush with greatness. I might still be a little bitter.
So here’s the thing: did it work? Did Bill Nye really change the world? We’ll see what current mid-20-somethings do with it.