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In 1676, Sir Isaac Newton wrote "If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of Giants." In this blog, we take Newton's words to heart, and recognize the many great engineers and scientists upon whose shoulders we stand.

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Bill Nye the Science Guy

Posted March 18, 2013 12:00 AM by Chelsey H

On Wednesday March 13th, I saw one of my childhood heroes- Bill Nye, as in, Bill Nye the Science Guy. He gave a free, open to the public speech to a full house at Union

College in Schenectady, NY. I remember watching Bill Nye the Science Guy when I was a kid and feeling like the coolest person in the world when my science teacher showed us an experiment we learned with Bill. The show, which ran on Disney/PBS from 1993 - 98, showed kids that science was all around us and it was cool to be a little nerdy.

Bill Nye. (Sorry for the graininess- It's an iPhone with zoom). Personal image

In his speech, Nye talked about his childhood, his father's unhealthy obsession with sun dials, his slightly less unhealthy obsession with sun dials, and how his obsession got a sundial on the Mar's rover. Nye spoke about the history of Mars exploration and how space exploration is critical to the future. He tied this together by talking about the recent Chelyabinsk meteor and the flyby Asteroid 2012 DA14. Both of these anomalies were small by space standards, but if a meteor the size of 2012 DA14 hit Earth, it could destroy a large city. Nye went on to say that "We are the first generations of humans who can do something about an asteroid or comet impact. We have learned enough about the cosmos and our place in space that we can understand the danger and make a plan."

Image Credit: Amazon

On top of all of his quips, rants, and "that's not Mars, it's a picture of Mars" jokes was a theme of changing the world. Nye stressed that the young generation of today will be presented with all kinds of crazy ideas to solve the serious problems of the world. And while I didn't agree with everything he said (Pluto will always be a planet in my solar system), he had me convinced that we all need to take care of amazing planet that we call home. That hamburger meat shouldn't be cheaper than lettuce and that taking care of the thin layer of atmosphere which keeps Earth from turning into Venus should be a top priority.

Image Credit: scientificamerican.com

Seeing Bill Nye the Science Guy live, hearing his familiar voice, and seeing his signature bow tie brought me back to my childhood. A time when I didn't have to worry about the pollution that my car contributed, or where my meat came from, or that it doesn't really snow during the summer anymore. His speech was a call to action, not for us to go home and solve the Earth's problems (although I don't think he would stop us); it was a call for us to keep an open mind when presented with other peoples' solutions, and to support leaders who favor renewable energy.

More about Bill Nye:

Bill Nye is a graduate of Cornell University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. He holds three Honorary Doctorate degrees: from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Goucher College, and Johns Hopkins. He has delivered commencement addresses at the University of California Santa Barbara, RPI, Goucher, Hopkins, Harvey Mudd College, and Caltech.

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#1

Re: Bill Nye the Science Guy

03/19/2013 10:42 AM

I instantly lost all respect for the man the moment he waded into politics.

It is certainly his prerogative to speak his mind but he could have just as easily kept his message in furthering science education to all.

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#2

Re: Bill Nye the Science Guy

03/19/2013 11:33 AM

I too have always enjoyed Bill Nye, as well as the not as old show Beakman's world (Paul Zaloom), but something you wrote there struck me as being very out-of-place. A SUNDIAL is solely an Earth based invention, and has no relevant "time telling" ability on Mars. I can only deduce that he sent it there strictly as an Earthling created antique, and for personal, sentimental reasons.

None the less, Bill Nye is still one of my and my childrens favorites, as is Paul Zaloom, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sundial

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Bill Nye the Science Guy

03/19/2013 2:01 PM

The Sundial was more used to observe the shadows and color of the rocks are on Mars.

He does a great job of explaining this in his blog on http://www.planetary.org

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#4

Re: Bill Nye the Science Guy

03/20/2013 12:34 AM

Bill Nye is fine for the youngsters in the group, but does anyone remember "Mr. Wizard"?

Bill

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#5
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Re: Bill Nye the Science Guy

03/22/2013 11:38 AM

I have a bunch of vhs tapes that I made in my younger days, with many many episodes of Don Herbert, aka Mr Wizard recorded on them, I have seen most if not all of the episodes.

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