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How Did Bill Nye Become the Science Guy? 220

An anonymous reader writes "Whether he's debating creationists, taking selfies with President Obama, or 'Dancing with the Stars,' Bill Nye the Science Guy is no stranger to the spotlight. But what about the man behind the public persona? How did Bill Nye become the Science Guy?(video) Bill Nye has made his debut on the PBS series, The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers, to reveal the story of how he rose from being a young comedian from Seattle to becoming a science icon. In his profile, Bill Nye talks about his early days impersonating Steve Martin, why bow-ties are important in the lab (and with the ladies), and how Carl Sagan's advice helped to shape his hit television show."
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How Did Bill Nye Become the Science Guy?

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  • captain obvious reporting for duty.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 20, 2014 @10:15PM (#46540213)

    He was created by God just as you see him now.

  • John Keister (Score:5, Informative)

    by LynnwoodRooster ( 966895 ) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @10:17PM (#46540221) Journal
    Almost Live - a weekly half hour comedy skit show in Seattle in the 80s is what made Bill Nye.
    • Lame! Lame! Lame!
    • Re:John Keister (Score:4, Interesting)

      by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @10:32PM (#46540281)

      I remember the first season or so when Almost Live was hosted by Ross Shafer and was a lackluster Seattle-area clone of Letterman's Late Show on NBC.

      But the reboot with John Keister and the rest of that gang was great! Speed Walker; Mind Your Manners with Billy Quan ("be like Billy - behave yourself!"); Worst Girlfriend in the World; and Bill Nye the Science Guy! The reruns are still pretty funny, although some of the old jokes don't work without the temporal political context. And also unfortunately, the old jokes about the Seattle Mariners being awful still work just fine...

    • by Daetrin ( 576516 )
      Still to this day, every time the Daily Show starts with "I'm Jon Stewart" i can't help but mentally fill in "here's my report." I really wish they'd put the show out on DVD. I'm glad that you can find some of the sketches on YouTube, but it's a rather limited selection.

      And has anyone seen "The (206)" [] yet? Is it anywhere near as good? If so i need to figure out a way to watch that. (Preferably a legal way that will help convince them there's a demand and keep the show from being canceled.)
      • The 206 has some hilarious stuff; but it's not as good as Almost Live was overall. I really like Pat Cashman, and Keister is great - but not having some of the other guys like Bob Nelson and Bill Stainton is definitely a minus.

  • by Billy the Mountain ( 225541 ) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @10:19PM (#46540237) Journal
    My favorite comedy from Bill Nye was Speeeeeeed Walker, a super hero that always adhered to the rules of the International Speed Walking Association: Heal Toe! Heal Toe!
  • links (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 20, 2014 @10:51PM (#46540385)

    Please, editors, for the love of science, do not allow links in summaries. []
    is []
    "Bill Nye: Change The World" by user "NOVA's Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers".

  • It rhymes! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 20, 2014 @11:15PM (#46540489)

    How did he become "The Science Guy" Because nye rhymes with guy, and he probably has a penis.

  • by Handover Phist ( 932667 ) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @11:19PM (#46540515) Homepage

    Need I say more?

  • In Summary.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by formfeed ( 703859 ) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @11:38PM (#46540591)

    ...he's not much of a "science" guy, ...
    ... captain obvious ...
    ... He's no scientist. ...
    ... Bill Nye the Attention Whore ...
    ... Mr. Bill Nye is NOT and has NOTHING to do with science ...

    This out of 31 posts so far.
    This on a guy who makes science fun for kids.

    Beta might not be Slashdot's biggest problem,
    but going the way of kuro5hin is.

    • This on a guy who makes science fun for kids.

      True. But much of what the person you quoted is true too. Denying the facts isn't going the way of kuro5hin, it's going the way of the creation "scientists".

  • Give Bill a break... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Brad1138 ( 590148 ) <> on Thursday March 20, 2014 @11:43PM (#46540609)
    I have always enjoyed Bill Nye. Watching him in his early days on his show and on a local Seattle show "Almost Live". He was witty and funny.

    From Wiki: "He studied mechanical engineering at Cornell University (where one of his professors was Carl Sagan) and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 1977. Nye occasionally returns to Cornell as a professor to guest lecture introductory level astronomy and human ecology classes."

    I would think that is sufficient education to be "the Science Guy". Why do we need to tear him down?
    • by CohibaVancouver ( 864662 ) on Friday March 21, 2014 @12:16AM (#46540715)

      Why do we need to tear him down?

      Because, according to a bunch of Slashdot neckbeards, he's not a 'real' scientist.

      • Why do we need to tear him down?

        Because, according to a bunch of Slashdot neckbeards, he's not a 'real' scientist.

        I think it's actually because a bunch of Slashdot neckbeards didn't get enough nurturing as a child, so they've gotta run around and tear people down to feel better about themselves. Haters gonna hate, and masturbators... you know

    • In case anyone is curious, a taste of Bill Nye [] on Almost Live [].
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      First of all, the Science in "Bachelors of Science" means nothing. Many scientists do not have Bachelor of Science degrees they have Bachelor of Arts degrees -- usually referred to as a BA. Many non scientists have Bachelor of science degrees. It mainly depends on where you get your degree.

      Secondly, much of what Nye does is not science but engineering. Blurring the distinction like that is harmful to science.

      For example an older child may try to build a robot using an Arduino and fail. He correctly deems hi

    • And now he's one of the biggest advocates for science and technology in the country (CEO of the Planetary Society), of which there are far too few. Remember people, you are not born a scientist, actor or comedian. These are things learned over time. Plenty of people switch jobs when they find something more enjoyable. Bill Nye happens to be in a position where he supports science and has influence because of his past roles.

      I, for one, applaud his effort to bring science to the masses. One doesn't have
  • by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Friday March 21, 2014 @12:42AM (#46540775)

    Because bow-ties are cool [].

  • He was an engineer at Boeing before turning to comedy and then to science education. He also is at least partly responsible for a "marsdial" instrument that was both a cheap and interesting experiment/tool on a Mars lander/rover.

  • WTH is Bill Nye? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Martin Spamer ( 244245 ) on Friday March 21, 2014 @02:21AM (#46541085) Homepage Journal

    Massive cultural assumption or what. What about international science presenters like David Attenborough or Brian Cox

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Ozoner ( 1406169 )

      I totally agree. I had never heard of Bill Nye until this debate controversy blew up.

      One thing I notice with Americans is that their whole conversation is based around U.S. TV shows.
      Unless you watch USA TV, their conversations make very little sense.

      In the rest of the world, TV just isn't that important. It certainly doesn't inform intelligent debate.

    • by CaptainLard ( 1902452 ) on Friday March 21, 2014 @10:52AM (#46543277)
      Oh don't get your bloomers in a bunch ol' chap. I don't bother when TopGear has some random nobody (otherwise known as a British Celebrity) on as their guest or continues to use the word Lorry. Perhaps you can convince Brian Cox (who is no slouch) to do a "how did I become a physicist" over some tea and crumpets and then that story will be posted too. Do you feel at home now? (note: I'm assuming you're British since both of your "international presenters" are from England. Apologies if you're a true international citizen).
  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Friday March 21, 2014 @03:21AM (#46541247)

    he's now more about harassing religious fundamentalists and flame baiting people in the climate change debate.

    I have very little regard for any of the so called scientist media personalities that spend most of their time engaging in various topics that are unproductive and rarely about science.

    Religious fundamentalists cannot be argued against with science. Its utterly pointless. Their interpretation of their religion means they will not agree. End of story.

    Possibly they can be argued off of it on philosophical, ideological, or theological grounds. But science is utterly futile in dealing with this issue. Yet many do this, piss off the fundamentalists for no reason, accept the applause of some atheist supporters, and then take a victory lap like they accomplished something.

    As to the climate debate, that isn't a scientific debate either at this point. Its a political, economic, and ideological debate. Science doesn't even really come into it.

    You have one faction that says the solution to fixing the climate is to nationalize everything, give the government sweeping control over the economy, jack up taxes hugely, and grant lots of power to non-democratic international organizations.

    So... spoiler alert... many people have a problem with that. If you removed all of that from the climate change rhetoric, most of the opposition would be gone tomorrow. Yet, it is pretended that the issue can be solved by explaining the science again. Waste of god damn time.

    Bill Nye was fun once... when he explained little science experiments on tv. He was great. But he hasn't done that in a long time and frankly since he stopped doing that I fail to see why anyone should give a damn about him.

    Now I'm about to get attacked by some people that think I'm supporting creationism or anti global warming science or both. Right off, anyone that makes that accusation after reading the above post is a fucking retard. But this site is full of them. So let me explain again, IT DOES NOT MATTER and THAT IS NOT MY POINT. My point is that indifferent to the science, science is often not a viable answer to various debates. In matters of belief, politics, or economics you can't just cite the science and expect everyone to fall into instant obedient lockstep with whatever you want. That's foolish.

    If you ACTUALLY want to solve the creationism issue... you need to respect the religious rights of people that find evolution to be a threat to their theology. We have a freedom of worship in this country which means people can believe the universe came from a cooked potato if it makes them happy.

    Yes... public schools and public money... well, that's a problem because the government isn't allowed to infringe on their beliefs. Which means you might need to give them money to run their own home schools or whatever. I know... you're not happy about that. But you'd only need to give them their share of the education money which after all came out of their own taxes. So they're hardly taking anything away from you.

    That is how you coexist. You either are happy to grant that or you want to dominate people and force your own beliefs on people... yes, your beliefs are backed by science. Show me where in the constitution that matters. It doesn't. Being right doesn't mean you get to force people to agree with you. They're going to be contentious. Tolerate their differences and demand the same in return.

    In regards to climate change... We really need to go over some solutions to the issue that don't instantly piss everyone off.

    Obviously we need to reduce our usage of sequestered hydrocarbons. So... to that end, nuclear power really needs to be put back on the table. If only as a stop gap until energy storage systems become more practical.

    Doubtless that makes some people unhappy... its called a compromise... you're not supposed to be happy. In addition to that, we should look at syngas/biogas to produce carbon neutral hydrocarbon fuel. That will further reduce our dependence on sequester

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by DerekLyons ( 302214 )

      Now... tell me why its oh so much more productive to piss everyone off for no reason while offering nothing constructive to any discussion?

      Most of the "pro-science" crowd doesn't give a damm about being productive or constructive. Being right is their goal, and because they're right anyone who doesn't believe as they do is completely wrong. (And even though they admit that "science isn't perfect" in the abstract.... they're loathe to deal with it in the concrete. It's all about the ego and the self ima

      • Most of the "pro-science" crowd doesn't give a damm about being productive or constructive. Being right is their goal, and because they're right anyone who doesn't believe as they do is completely wrong.

        Which is why the pro science crowd went out of their way to confront every religious fundamentalist they ran into over the last 1000 years and told them they were wrong.

        Oh wait, no they didn't.

        This is mostly a new development. Its a game. Its like bear baiting only with theologists.

        It accomplishes NOTHING bu

  • by aaaaaaargh! ( 1150173 ) on Friday March 21, 2014 @05:52AM (#46541605)

    Really, news for nerds? I've never heard that name before in my life. And what is a "science guy" anyway? Sounds pretty stupid to me.

    Anyway, got to go to work now - science calls.

    • science calls.


      Science called. It said not to make a quick dismissive judgement on something you know nothing about.

    • Seriously? What, is this the first time you've come out of your basement during your entire life?
  • Never understood why Bill's TV show was ever popular. Beakman predates him, and that show was both sciency and a lot more fun. [] []

  • I remember watching bumblebees. But Nova was too pathetic to find video of a bumblebee, so here's some pictures of a honeybee.

  • by bplipschitz ( 265300 ) on Friday March 21, 2014 @12:54PM (#46544569)

    to Bill Nye.

    Beakman's assistant was *way hotter* than any bunsen burner Nye had. . .

Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work. -- John G. Pollard