WORDS BY HILLARY STARK
As part of the Distinguished Lecture Series, the one and only Bill Nye the Science Guy graced Denton with his presence in the UNT coliseum, to have a chat about all things science, with a few thousand students on Wednesday night. Covering topics such as sundials, global warming, and rovers on Mars, Bill entertained and educated, just the way we remember his afternoon show as children of the 90’s. We've gathered a few fun facts shared by that Bunsen burner toting, bow-tie wearing scientist who believes that “the joy of discovery is the essence of science” just for you, so that you can keep reliving the science-y goodness all weekend.
1. His home in California has both solar water heating and solar electric panels on the roof, and his average electricity charge is only $10 every other month. We’re more than a smidge jealous, and perhaps now motivated enough to add some panels to our roof.
2. Want to get rich? Bill’s suggestion is to go into the solar hot water business.
3. His mom was recruited in WWII to work as a cryptographer on the Enigma (Cue all Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch fans who loved The Imitation Game).
4. Bill’s father, Edwin Darby Nye, was held as a prisoner of war in WWII, in a camp without electricity. Through this harrowing experience he developed a fascination with the night sky, as well as the use of sundials to tell time. His obsession was so great that he suggested that the Washington Monument be turned into the world’s largest sundial… unfortunately the North American Sundial Association couldn’t approve his plea, as the White House is in the way. If you also have a secret love of sundials, you too can become a member of NASS.
5. Bill is currently filming a documentary about his efforts as a scientist extraordinaire, and his cameraman just so happens to be a UNT alum. We’re pretty sure he even threw up a talon to show some Mean Green pride.
6. While only holding bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University, over theyears Bill has also received 7 honorary doctorates in science and pedagogy.
7. His third grade teacher once said that there are more stars in the sky than grains of sand on the beach, and that fact really stuck with Bill. So much so that he wanted to figure out exactly how many stars are in the sky. Turns out it’s about a 100:1 star to sand ratio.
8. Bill spent quite a bit of time in TX in his early career, as an engineer for oil and gas companies. We were pretty proud to find out that TX is in the lead when compared to the rest of the 49 states for our use of wind energy, which is currently providing approximately 10% of all of our energy in the state.
9. Enough energy is available from the sun and wind, that by the year 2050, TX could get 100% of its power from these sources. This would also create approximately 450,000+ new jobs across the US in fields such as construction and engineering, as these types of positions cannot be outsourced and must be filled locally.
10. Bill believes that the 2016 presidential election is paramount to the future of sustainability and the exploration of life on other planets. His closing remark was a call to action that if you want to see change in the world, then you need to be the ones to make it happen. Get out there and vote y’all.