May 4, 2018

Bill Nye, Not so Science Guy

Bill Nye has long been known for his children's show Bill Nye The Science Guy and recently for his views about climate change. He has a BS degree in mechanical engineering. He is an entertainer, and although known as the 'science guy' he does not claim to be a scientist. In order to earn the privilege of calling yourself a 'scientist' one normally has to have an earned PhD in the natural sciences.

Nye started doing standup comedy during 1978 while working at Boeing as an engineer. He eventually left Boeing and began writing and performing jokes and bits for a local sketch television show Almost Live!, where he would regularly conduct wacky science experiments, such as what happens when you eat a marshmallow that has been dunked in liquid nitrogen. He moved from that show to do eight segments for the Disney Channel's All-New Mickey Mouse Club.

Throughout it all, he had his eyes on bigger things and went on to star in Bill Nye Science Guy for public broadcasting station KCTS-TV in Seattle. It became part of a package of syndicated series that local stations could schedule to fulfill Children's Television Act requirements. It ended in 1998. He was also host of an eight-part Discovery Channel series called Greatest Inventions with Bill Nye and appeared in a number of other TV shows. In addition, he holds several United States patents, including one for ballet pointe shoes and an educational magnifying glass created by filling a clear plastic bag with water.

During 2012, Nye supported President Barack Obama's reelection bid and frequently consulted with Obama on science matters during his presidency. He has also received a number of honorary degrees, including one in pedagogy, although he has never contributed any research to the scientific community.

Incidentally, there are many other entertainers who have honorary degrees, including Ben Affleck, P, Diddy, Alec Baldwin, John Legend, Aretha Franklin, Kanye West, Jon Bon Jovi, Conan O'Brien, LL Cool J, and Jimmie Fallon, among others.