Bill Nye (@billnye) is a lifelong champion of science who is determined to teach you something today that you didn’t know yesterday — whether it’s from a television screen or next to you at a dinner party. His latest series is Bill Nye Saves the World on Netflix, and his most recent book is Everything All at Once: How to Unleash Your Inner Nerd, Tap Into Radical Curiosity, and Solve Any Problem.
The Cheat Sheet:
- Why denying proven science — like climate change and the efficacy of vaccination — is in nobody’s best interest.
- On reinvention and pivoting: How Bill Nye went from Boeing engineer to television personality.
- Why episodes of Bill Nye The Science Guy are still being used to teach kids science two decades after they first aired.
- How to look at the world with radical curiosity.
- Why it’s key to internalize our fears in order to move forward.
- And so much more…
At a time when proven facts take a back seat to the sway of ideological division, science and education need champions now more than ever.
Joining us today is Bill Nye (aka The Science Guy), who has made it his life’s mission to keep the darkness of ignorance at bay and ensure that radical curiosity prevails over blind faith. His latest series is Bill Nye Saves the World on Netflix, and his most recent book is Everything All at Once: How to Unleash Your Inner Nerd, Tap Into Radical Curiosity, and Solve Any Problem. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
More About This Show
Jordan and Bill Nye first met at one of prior guest Jon Levy’s Influencers Dinners. At the event, guests aren’t allowed to introduce themselves, so it was driving Jordan nuts that he couldn’t identify why Bill Nye looked so familiar. It wasn’t until they were washing dishes and Bill explained how soap gets grease off of a pan that it clicked: it’s The Science Guy!
But the “science guy” moniker isn’t applicable just because Bill once had an Emmy Award-winning television program that used it in the title. Bill has been a lifelong advocate for science literacy, so these are the sorts of conversations you should expect if you ever happen to bump into him at a party, on the street, or in an elevator. For anyone curious enough to look, science can be found everywhere.
While Bill has seven honorary doctorate degrees, he gets a lot of flak from people who eschew science in favor of their own unsubstantiated beliefs because he lacks a PhD. They reason this somehow disqualifies him from dispensing knowledge about politically divisive issues like — for instance — the efficacy of vaccinations and the reality of climate change.
“It is fascinating the energy people have — the haters have — to hate,” says Bill. “Once in a while I look at the comments section on almost any page; wow, people have time to complain. But meanwhile, the climate is changing. Even if you hate me, there are seven-point-three billion people in the world going on seven-point-four going on nine billion people by 2060 and everybody wants to live the way we live in the developed world. And this takes a lot of energy, and right now our…electricity is mostly produced from burning stuff — coal and oil and gas; we can’t keep doing that anymore. Shoot the messenger if you like; we still can’t keep doing it.”
While science denial is concerning for a number of reasons, Bill believes the pendulum of disbelief is due to swing in the opposite direction as people start to realize that it’s in nobody’s best interest to deny the facts discovered through the process of science — no matter what political or religious beliefs one holds dear.
As Bill’s friend and past AoC guest Neil deGrasse Tyson is fond of saying: “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.”
Belief in science is part of the reason Bill made the pivot from mechanical engineer specializing in flight controls at Boeing to stand-up comic and eventual television personality. He saw the writing on the wall as computer software was increasingly taking over his branch of engineering and realized it was just a matter of time before the way he did his job would be phased out altogether.
On the other hand, episodes of Bill Nye The Science Guy — the Emmy Award-winning show he headed from 1993 to 1998 — are still being used to teach kids about the fundamentals of science.
“Kids still watch the old show,” says Bill. “I was at a book signing last night…and there’s a lot of very young people who are watching the old shows either online or in school. Many teachers still use the shows, which are over twenty years old — and I’m very proud of that. When it comes to science, you want to make videos that are about fundamental ideas in science that will stand the test of time.”
Listen to this episode of The Art of Charm in its entirety to learn more about why anti-vaccination activists aren’t only endangering themselves in their crusade against the establishment, why climate change is real, how a Steve Martin look alike contest factored into Bill making the pivot from engineer to television personality, why Pluto is no longer considered a planet (and why that’s okay), how to debunk flat earthers, what collaboration between Steve Aoki and Bill is in the works, why the bow tie is more of a mindset than a brand for Bill, how to develop radical curiosity, what Bill thinks is even more important for the future of humanity than Elon Musk’s drive to colonize Mars, why Bill devotes his life to education but has no children of his own, dealing with cognitive dissonance, the two things that always happen when we go exploring, and lots more.
THANKS, BILL NYE!
If you enjoyed this session with Bill Nye, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
Resources from This Episode:
- Transcript for Bill Nye | Radical Curiosity Saves the World (Episode 637)
- Bill Nye Saves the World
- Everything All at Once: How to Unleash Your Inner Nerd, Tap Into Radical Curiosity, and Solve Any Problem by Bill Nye and Corey S. Powell
- Other books by Bill Nye
- Bill Nye: Science Guy (documentary)
- Bill Nye The Science Guy (the Emmy Award-winning TV show that ran from ’93 to ’98)
- Bill Nye’s website
- Bill Nye at Twitter
- Jon Levy | The Influencers Dinner (Episode 351)
- Neil deGrasse Tyson | Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (Episode 617)
- Human Impact Has Pushed Earth Into the Anthropocene, Scientists Say by Adam Vaughan, The Guardian
- Roark’s Formulas for Stress and Strain by Warren Young and Richard Budynas
- International Astronomical Union
- Real Time with Bill Maher
- Steve Aoki
- NASA’s page for the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse
- Mars Exploration Rovers
- The observations of Nicolaus Copernicus and why they matter explained at Khan Academy
- Elon Musk’s Plan: Get Humans to Mars, and Beyond by Kenneth Chang, The New York Times
- Research on Ataxia Telangiectasia at the Kennedy Krieger Institute
- The Backfire Effect explained by The Oatmeal
- Humans Affect Earth System More Than Natural Forces, Australian National University
- AoC Toolbox | Imposter Syndrome (Episode 583)
- New Horizons
- James Cameron’s First Footage From the Deep Sea Floor
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