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Monday, June 14, 2010

Who is William Sanford Nye?

Who is William Sanford Nye?The world knows him as Bill Nye, he is an American comedian, television host, science educator and mechanical engineer. He is best known as the host of the Disney children's science show Bill Nye the Science Guy (1993–1997) and for his many subsequent appearances in popular media as a science educator.

Education and early career

Nye was born born on November 27, 1955. He started in Washington, D.C. as a fourth-generation Washingtonian on his father's side of family. After attending Lafayette Elementary and Alice Deal Junior High in the city, he was accepted to the private Sidwell Friends School on a partial scholarship, graduating in 1973. He studied mechanical engineering at Cornell University's Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, where one of his professors was Carl Sagan,and graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1977.

Nye began his career in Seattle at Boeing at which point, among other things, he starred in training films and developed a hydraulic pressure resonance suppressor still used in the 747. Later, he worked as a consultant and in the aeronautics industry. Nye told the St. Petersburg Times in 1999 that he applied to be a NASA astronaut every few years but was always rejected.

The Science Guy

Nye began his professional entertainment career as an actor on a local sketch comedy television show in Seattle, Almost Live!; Nye attempted to correct the host of Almost Live! after the host pronounced "gigawatt" as "jigowatt". The character name came from the host's comment, "Who do you think you are? Bill Nye the Science Guy?" and Nye was thereafter known as such on the program. His other main recurring role on Almost Live! was as Speedwalker, a speedwalking Seattle superhero.

Coincidentally, in 1992–1993, he appeared in the live-action educational segments of Back to the Future: The Animated Series with a non-speaking role as an assistant to Dr. Emmett Brown, played by Christopher Lloyd, where he would demonstrate science with Lloyd's voice-over.

This national popularity led to Nye hosting the educational television program Bill Nye the Science Guy from 1993 to 1997. Each of the 100 episodes aimed to teach a specific topic in science to a preteen audience, yet it garnered a wide adult audience as well. The show was somewhat popular as a school resource and is still used to this day. He has written several books as The Science Guy. In addition to hosting the show, he was also a writer and producer for the series, which was filmed entirely in Seattle.

When portraying "the Science Guy", Nye wears a light blue lab coat and a bow tie and takes on the personality of an excited, jocular science educator. This popular image of Nye has been parodied by numerous sources, including the webcomic xkcd and the satirical news organization The Onion.[10][11] In response to the fake headline "Crack Nearly Killed Me", Nye took the joke in good humor and sent The Onion an email thanking them for "dealing compassionately with this matter."

His Science Guy persona appeared alongside Ellen DeGeneres and Alex Trebek in Ellen's Energy Adventure, an attraction that has played since 1996 at the Universe of Energy pavilion inside Epcot at Walt Disney World. He also has a voice-over at the DINOSAUR attraction in Disney's Animal Kingdom park, where he tells guests about the dinosaurs while they queue for the ride. In addition, he appears in the "Design Lab" of CyberSpace Mountain inside DisneyQuest at Walt Disney World where he refers to himself as "Bill Nye the Coaster Guy."

Post-Science Guy career

Nye remained interested in science education through entertainment. He created a 13-episode PBS KCTS-TV series about science, called The Eyes of Nye, aimed at an older audience than his previous show. Airing in 2005, it often featured episodes based on politically relevant themes such as genetically modified food, global warming, and race.

He played in Disney's 1998 TV movie The Principal Takes a Holiday; he made a hovercraft, in order to demonstrate science in an unusual classroom manner. From 2000 to 2002, Nye was the technical expert in BattleBots. In 2004 and 2005, Nye hosted 100 Greatest Discoveries, an award-winning series produced by THINKFilm for Discovery Channel-spinoff The Science Channel and in high definition on the Discovery HD Theater. He was also host of an eight-part Discovery Channel series called Greatest Inventions with Bill Nye.

Nye has guest starred in several episodes of the crime drama Numb3rs as an engineering faculty member. A lecture Nye gave several years ago on exciting children about math was an inspiration for creating the Numb3rs show which he made multiple guest appearances in.

Bill joined the American Optometric Association in a multimedia advertising campaign to educate parents on the importance of getting their children a comprehensive eye examination.

He was a regular in TV Land discussions. He has also made guest appearances on the VH1 reality show America's Most Smartest Model.

Nye appears in segments of The Climate Code on The Weather Channel telling his personal ways of saving energy. He still makes regular appearances on the show, often asking quiz questions.

As of fall 2008, Nye also appears on the daytime game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, as part of the show's re-introduced "Ask the Expert" lifeline. He currently hosts Stuff Happens, a show on the new Planet Green network.

In November 2008, Nye appeared in an acting role as himself in the fifth-season episode "Brain Storm" of Stargate Atlantis alongside fellow television personality and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Nye has appeared numerous times on the talk show Larry King Live, speaking about topics such as global warming and UFOs. He argued that global warming is an issue that should be addressed by governments of the world in part because it could be implicated in the record-setting 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. On UFOs he has been skeptical of extraterrestrial explanations for sightings such as those at Roswell and Malmstrom Air Force Base (1967).

In 2009, portions of Bill Nye's shows were used as lyrics and portions of the second Symphony of Science science education music video by composer John Boswell.

Nye recorded a short YouTube video (as himself, not his TV persona) advocating clean energy climate change legislation on behalf of Al Gore's Repower America campaign in October 2009.

Nye (as his TV persona) also made a guest appearance on The Dr. Oz Show.

Life outside television

Nye speaking at the University of Florida in 2007.

In the early 2000s, Nye assisted in the development of a small sundial that was included in the Mars Exploration Rover missions. Known as MarsDial, it included small colored panels to provide a basis for color calibration in addition to helping keep track of time.[20] Since 2005 Nye has been the vice president of The Planetary Society, an organization that advocates space science research and the exploration of other planets, particularly Mars.[21]

He holds several United States patents, including one for ballet shoes and another for an educational magnifying glass created by filling a clear plastic bag with water.

From 2001–2006 Nye served as Frank H.T. Rhodes Class of '56 University Professor at Cornell University.

When Pluto was reclassified from a planet to a dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union in 2006, Nye came out in favor of the change. Nye held a conference in 2006 discussing his opinion on the issue.

Since 2006, Nye has lived in Los Angeles in a 1930s stucco home with ecologically-friendly modifications. As of July 2007, Nye and environmental activist Ed Begley, Jr. are engaging in a friendly competition "to see who could have the lowest carbon footprint," according to Begley. In a 2008 interview, Nye joked that he wants to "crush Ed Begley" in their environmental competition.] Nye and Begley are neighbors in Los Angeles, and sometimes dine together at a local vegetarian restaurant.]

Nye is a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, a U.S. non-profit scientific and educational organization whose aim is to promote scientific inquiry, critical investigation, and the use of reason in examining controversial and extraordinary claims.

Personal life

Nye announced his engagement during an appearance on The Late Late Show with Craig
Ferguson
, and was married briefly to his fiancée of five months, Blair Tindall, author of Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music, on February 3, 2006. The ceremony was performed by Rick Warren at The Entertainment Gathering and took place at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Yo-Yo Ma provided the music. Tindall left the relationship seven weeks later when the marriage license was declared invalid; their impromptu ceremony that preceded the license purchase violated California state law, said Tindall in a radio interview.]

Nye enjoys baseball and occasionally does experiments involving the physics of the game. He is said to have been a fan of the Seattle Mariners, although recently he has voiced his preference for the Washington Nationals. His greatest loves are science, baseball and ballroom dancing. He also has a fondness for model trains and rockets.


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