Let's give thanks to Bill Nye the Science Guy (It's his birthday!)
Bill Bill Bill, it’s your birthday! That’s right, everyone’s favorite childhood science teacher, Bill Nye, celebrates his big day today, conveniently on Thanksgiving this year. So while we’re all giving thanks for friends and family, let’s also give thanks to the guy who taught us all about volcanoes, wetlands, magnetism, amphibians, fossils and phases of matter, just to name a few. There are a hundred episodes alone of Bill Nye the Science Guy, so there are a hundred reasons to love him right there!
Our love for him reaches far beyond early morning shows on PBS, though. He’s done countless television specials, popped up on all sorts of newscasts throughout the years, and he’s a pretty big pop culture icon that we still love today. Our fondness for Nye and his bowties show no sign of slowlying down any time soon. So, in honor of his birthday, here are some of the most awesome things he’s done, and here’s to the many more yet to come!
Back to the Future: The Animated Series
Bask in the awesome VHS glory of yesteryear, before he was his own science guy, Nye actually helped out another scientist, Emmett “Doc” Brown. Spinning-off the Back to the Future series, the animated version show expanded the adventures of Doc and the gang, and sometimes they needed to do a little science experiment. Nye played the Doc’s live-action assistant. Why don’t they make Saturday morning television shows like this anymore?
“The Science Guy”
Here’s a fun fact that might blow your mind: “The Science Guy” originated as part of a sketch show. Nye, fresh out of college with his degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University, lived in Seattle and belonged to a television sketch show called Almost Live! One of the producers there suggested Nye start doing segments about science experiments, and the rest, you might say, is history.
Nye’s trademark bowtie He was once asked why he wears bowties all the time — he only ever seems to be seen in bowties! Nye responded with, “What happened was, at the girls’ athletic banquet in high school, the boys have to wait on the girls. I said, ‘If we’re going to be waiters, let’s wear bow ties.’ So my dad, who’s very good with knots, taught me how to tie a bow tie, and I tied everybody’s bow ties. After I had this idea to be Bill Nye the Science Guy, I wore straight ties the first couple times, and then I got this thing going and I started wearing bow ties. Cuz, I’m not joking with you: If you’re working with liquid nitrogen and your tie falls into it, it’s funny in a way to the audience but it’s also — pun intended — a little bit of a pain in the neck.” Soundtrack of Science
If you can remember way back to the last time you watched an episode of Bill Nye the Science Guy, you might remember that every episode featured a music video pegged to the episode’s theme. What you might be forgetting is the fact that each music video was an incredibly well done spoof of sorts of a popular song and artist back in the early ’90s. He did one for TLC’s “Waterfalls” re-titled, “Lavaflows” (for an episode about volcanoes) and another for Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” about buoyancy in the water. He loves dancing! Nye might have appeared on the 17th season of Dancing with the Stars, but his passion for dancing reaches far beyond just our television screens. He loves swing dancing! He would sometimes go, “two nights a week, often four.” His hero is Steve Martin Once, Nye won a Steve Martin look-a-like contest. Nye then once wrote Martin a note that read: “Dear Steve, I’m Bill Nye. I owe my career to you. I’d like to buy you lunch sometime. Your friend, Bill.” All that matters to my life now is making sure the two of these men meet for lunch one day. Internet, why aren’t we on this?? His climate change bit on “Last Week Tonight.” John Oliver, always one to go for the one-two punch, invited Nye onto the show to discuss climate (because, according to Oliver, Nye is the guy in charge of talking about science on the news). The set up was simple: Nye, a firm believer in the concern over climate change, would debate another scientist who’s against the idea. But then Oliver invited 96 other scientists to join Nye in the debate. Nye takes selfies with his friends, just like the rest of us. Just a casual day at the White House, hanging out with Neil deGrasse Tyson and taking a “President selfie.” Stuff like this happen all the time. Sundials and the Mars Rover Landings First off, Nye’s father loved sundials, so he is a big supporter of them as well. He even once assisted a NASA team in the development of a sundial to head to Mars. He also gave Cornel University a giant Solar Noon Clock — which doesn’t necessarily tell time, but rather the highest point of the sun during the day—which is pretty awesome. And still, who could ever forget this? Walk into the classroom like, what up oh my gosh are we watching Bill Nye today?? Thanks for being there for us during all of elementary school (and middle school, high school, and college, too). (Images via here, here, here, here, here, here and here.)