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Bill Nye

Science Educator
Bill Nye is an American science educator, engineer, comedian, television presenter, author, and inventor, with a mission to help foster a scientifically literate society and to help people everywhere understand and appreciate the science that makes our world work. Making science entertaining and accessible is something Bill has been passionate about his entire life.

Nye discovered that he had a talent for tutoring in high school. While growing up in Washington, DC in the 1970s, he spent afternoons and summers de-mystifying math for his fellow students. When he wasn’t hitting the books, hel was hitting the road on his bicycle. Now, he commutes by bike in both Los Angeles and New York. Nye’s fascination with how bicycles, airplanes and other things work led him to Cornell University and a degree in mechanical engineering in 1977. Soon after, Boeing recruited him as an engineer, so he went to Seattle. The U.S. Department of Justice also recruited Bill for his unique technical expertise and pedagogical skills.

It was in 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, Bill quit his engineering day job and made the transition to a night job as a comedy writer and performer on Seattle’s homegrown ensemble comedy show “Almost Live” in 1986. This is where “Bill Nye the Science Guy®” was born.

While working on the Science Guy show from 1992-1998, Bill won seven national Emmy Awards for writing, performing, and producing. The show won 18 Emmys in five years.

After a debate with a creationist who believes the world is only 6,000 years old, Bill wrote his first book for a general audience, Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation, which was featured on the New York Times’ Bestsellers List. He considers it a primer on the discoveries and principles of evolution. Bill shortly followed the book release with two other books – Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World, and Everything All At Once: How to Unleash Your Inner Nerd, Tap into Radical Curiosity and Solve Any Problem, both which made the New York Times’ Bestsellers List as well. And Nye has written eight kids’ books which weave real-world science in a fun accessible way for a range of ages from elementary to middle school.

After joining as a Charter Member in 1980, Bill is now the CEO of the Planetary Society, the world’s largest space-interest group. Under his leadership, the non-for-profit Society is growing and becoming more influential having members in 130 countries. Cofounded by Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman, the organization’s mission is to empower the world’s citizens to advance space science and exploration. Space exploration brings out the best in us, because we solve problems that have never been solved before. “If we were to discover evidence of life on another world such as Mars or Jupiter’s moon Europa, it would utterly change this world. People everywhere would think hard about what it means to be a living thing and our responsibilities as stewards of our unique planetary home,” Bill says. His engineering and management experience enabled him to take the lead and play a hands-on role in making programs like LightSail2® a success.

In the same year, Bill was the subject of the critically acclaimed documentary Bill Nye: Science Guy which premiered at SXSW. The documentary focuses on Bill’s life and his mission to stop the spread of anti-scientific thinking across the world. The film was a Documentary Spotlight at SXSW Film Festival and an official selection at HotDocs, Los Angeles Film Festival, and AFI Docs. The film opened theatrically in October 2017 and will be airing on PBS.

As an inventor, Nye has a few unusual patents – an improved toe shoe for ballerinas, a device to ease the motion of picking up baseballs, a magnifier made of water, and an abacus that does arithmetic like a computer – with only binary numbers.

Along with his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell, Nye joined his astronomy professor Carl Sagan when he was elected the American Humanist Association’s Humanist of the Year in 2010. He was also the honored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers with the Ralph Coates Roe Medal in 2012. Nye holds Honorary Doctorate degrees from six universities: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Goucher College, Johns Hopkins University, Quinnipiac University, Willamette University, and Lehigh University. He currently speaks at colleges regularly and discusses a variety of topical science matters on news and television programs such as ABC World News, NBC Nightly News, CNN, Good Morning America, MSNBC, TODAY, CBS This Morning, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and more. He fights to raise awareness of climate change and the value of critical thinking, science, and reason. Through all his work, Bill hopes to inspire people everywhere to change the world.

Find Bill on his website (www.billnye.com) and on Twitter and Facebook.

My Speakers Sessions

Thursday, April 11

7:00pm EDT