Can you explain dark matter in layman's terms?
It's apparently the source of gravity that is at once holding galaxies together and pulling them apart at an accelerating rate. Hmm...
I thought dark energy was responsible for the expansion of the universe, not dark matter...?
Hey everyone. This is a reddit post. I am not able to offer connections to dark matter, dark energy, and darkons (particles responsible for their interaction) in just a few words. What ever it or they are, is largely unknown. Here's hoping you all figure it out in my lifetime.
What's the biggest problem you see science answering in the next decade?
Don't know... inherently unknowable. Science is done by humans; it does not exist without us. There are millions of scientists and engineers working on thousands of aspects of nature all the time. Who knows what will be discovered in the coming decade. I'd sure like it if everybody worked together on climate change. Right now, so many worthy scientists are compelled to spend so much good time responding to the political effects caused by climate change denial.
On the Nerdist podcast you talked about working with NASA to put a sundial on the Mars Rover, and a lot of it went whoosh over my head.
Could you explain your fascination with sundials, and why the Mars Rover needed one?
The rovers have "photometric calibration targets," "cal targets." We rendered them to be work as sundials as well as test patterns for the cameras. Check out planetary.org.
Mr. Nye is there any interesting event from your childhood, teens, or even adult life that you would be willing to share? If so what is it and how did it affect your life?
I watched bumble bees (Hymentoptera bombidae) for hours. How could such a relatively big animal fly with such relatively small wings? The answer was discovered in my lifetime. Their abdomens are springs, and their halteres provide vortices with allow the wings to swing up with hardly any aerodynamic drag. If I may, how cool is that?
What is your favorite scientific theorem or equation? (Example: theory of relativity, Hubble parameter, E=mc2)
Can't say I have a favorite. They are all so important to our understanding of nature and our place in space. With that said, Michael Faraday changed the world. We have electricity and these fancy computer machines as a result. BTW, Darwin discovered so much about how we came to be, and he didn't even know about DNA. Astonishing. It's the process of science that has changed the world. Science rules!
What field of science bores you the most?
Strongly encourage you never to use the word "bore" or "boring." It says a lot about a person. It's hard for me to imagine being "bored," ever. The world is so exciting and fascinating, yes?
Do you think that we could have a manned mission to Mars in our lifetime with all the factors such as time from Earth to Mars and with the amount of solar radiation that the men would face during the trip?
Were we to discover evidence of something alive on Mars, either fossil or even living now (!!?!!!), it would change this world forever. And... we'd mount a human mission to Mars. Check out #exploreplanets. Visit planetary.org to see how you can help make this discovery much more likely, to wit, by influencing space policy at NASA, the world's largest space agency.
I'm a mechanical engineer who does standup comedy. I'm interested in becoming the Bill Nye of the engineering world. Do you have any tips on how I might accomplish that?
Also, what is the most interesting thing that you took home from the set of your show?
You're a brilliant educator and I appreciate the brass that you've been displaying when confronting the gleefully ignorant constituency of this country.
Edit: Naturally, if anybody else wants to chime in with thoughts on this, I'd be glad to hear them.
The Smithsonian is "collecting" me. They have an outsider's perspective. Let's see what they pick. Lab coat? 3mm glass safety glasses. I work everyday to get people excited about the vital work engineers provide. In general we work to improve the lives of people everywhere.
Hi Mr. Nye! What made you chose doing stuff like kid shows as opposed to working solely in a lab?
(I've been watching Bill Nye the Science Guy since I was a kid, you got me through a few classes better than my teachers did.... Thanks.)
I worked at an engineering firm (which has since been absorbed) for people obsessed with making a profit every quarter (every 3 months). You cannot advance much with that outlook. So, I decided to affect the future as much as could; I shifted my focus to elementary science education. The objective 20 years ago, and the objective now, is to, dare I say it, change the world. The outcome is still to come I believe as people like you become engineers and captains of industry. I'm hoping you all will make the world great.
Thanks for the AMA! We're all mourning the crippling losses NASA has sustained recently.
Do you think the private sector can really pick up space exploration and research? What is the best thing the US can do to support a strong space program, regardless of the sector?
We at the Planetary Society (planetary.org) are working to preserve funding for planetary science. We are working to get at least $1.5 billion for planetary missions as spelled out in thoughtful detail in the Nat'l Research Council's Decadal Survey. I hope you'll join and help us influence the Powers that Be.
Bill Nye the Science Guy! So your show was one of the highlights of any day in science class through my K-8 schooling career, and I always thought being on a science show for kids seemed like an interesting way to feed a love of science. What was it like explaining some major scientific concepts in a way kids could understand?
Also, who wrote the parody songs at the end of each episode? Those were always groan-worthy in the best possible way.
I insisted on "Discipline in Vocabulary" (the D.I.V.) and Show-Then-Tell. For the parodies, we had terrific writers, all of whom have gone on to do great things in television, movies, and public relations. This year is the 20th anniversary of the show. Watch for the new iPod, iPhone, iEtcetera app. I'll be presenting it Friday next week at the World Wide Developers Con. in Fran San Isco (sic).
How does it make you feel knowing that your were a bigger influence on my life than my father was?
Yikes. That's gratifying. I hope you are a bigger influence on your progeny than your father was on you. By all accounts, it's the healthiest way to go. My dad sure made me who I am. Wow...
Hi Mr. Nye! I don't have a question, I just wanted to say thank you. I loved watching your show when I was a kid, and I use it as inspiration for lessons when I'm working as a tutor or camp counselor. Kids love science! Keep on rocking on :)
Thank you. Thank you indeed.
Thank you for doing this iAmA. You rock!! Here's my question, what is one of your favorite experiments to do?
I really do love to see a water balloon get pushed into a glass bottle by atmospheric pressure (as though by a giant's thumb). Check out Sophia.org
Thank you for doing this AMA.
My question is... I'm sure you've been approached by your fair share of fans. What was the most memorable moment in which you realized that your work has made a direct impact in one of your fans' life?
There have been many, many. It's wonderful. People say they became a physician, engineer, geneticist, and so on, because of the show. Wow. It's amazing to me. Thank you all...
Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill!
Are there any facts that you said on your show in the 90s that you'd take back if you did the show today, since the popular scientific opinion has changed?
No. We did our absolute best to focus on science rather than technology. That way, it stands the test of time, as well as being fascinating. There must be errors. I mean, we did a hundred shows. I sure wish I had been successful in convincing Disney executives to release the Sound Track of Science. I wish I could change "Light Optics" to "Light, Bending & Bouncing." I'd change "Oceanography" to "Ocean Currents." But all in all, the shows came out okay.
Hey everyone, I've got to get to the next adventure today. Thank you all for your thoughtful comments. Let's change the world. Science Rules!