The Bill Nye Fact No One Will Be Surprised About

Take a second to guess who taught Bill Nye astronomy. I'll give you a hint: Carl Sagan.

"Focus on pure science. Kids resonate to pure science." Carl Sagan

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Bill Nye: I took astronomy from Carl Sagan. His classes were just fantastic. If you saw the series "Cosmos," the original "Cosmos," his lectures were like those television shows. He would bring these pictures from the Jet Propulsion Lab you'd never seen before, from Mars. These would be on slides, technology using translucent images with light projected through them in focus.

At my 10th reunion, I met with him for a few moments, and I said, "I want to do this show about science for kids." He said, "Focus on pure science. Kids resonate to pure science." That was his verb, "resonate." So the "Science Guy" show has a little bit about bridges and dams and civil engineering works and gears, but it's mostly about science.

Now, the currents set up by warm and salty water sinking and rising in the ocean are called thermohaline currents.

The Planetary Society, empowering the world's citizens to advance planetary science and exploration was started by Carl Sagan. I became a member back in 1980, and I've been a member ever since. Then when Carl Sagan died, I was asked to speak at his memorial. Then after that, I got on the board of directors. Then I left the room or something, and I became vice president. And then three years ago, there was a dinner party. There was wine, or something. Now I'm the CEO. I'm the head guy of The Planetary Society.

So, Carl Sagan is deep within me. I am part of his legacy. And what he emphasized to everybody was the process of science. This is how we know nature. It's the best idea humans have ever come up with.

There may be small errors in this transcript.

This clip is from The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers, a web series by PBS that features Bill Nye. See more clips on the Secret Life YouTube page.

Apr 01, 2014

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