Bill Nye may not have been born in Seattle but the city made him nerd royalty. A Boeing engineer with a penchant for comedy, he joined the cast of Almost Live!, Seattle’s answer to SNL, in 1986. His KCTS children’s show Bill Nye the Science Guy geeked out over home experiments in the 1990s, and he’s since brought his signature geek look to Netflix, The Daily Show, and public science advocacy.
Now in his sixties, Nye's fired up about climate change denial, announcing, “Safety glasses off, motherfuckers” on HBO last year. He planned to lecture about Mount St. Helens in Seattle in May, but the lecture was cancelled due to the coronavirus quarantine; he and the Mount St. Helens Institute hope to reschedule, and he'll do a livestream version of the event on May 16. But be warned—to Nye, science is no kiddie show.
On entering the Mount St. Helens crater.
You know, it’s like Russell Stover candies, where you bite into it to see what’s inside. The mountain has bit into this area of ancient eruptions. The science in it is just elegant and wonderful.
Remembering the mountain before it erupted.
When I graduated from engineering school, I was so excited to get a job in Seattle. I had this dream of climbing all these peaks in the Northwest. I skied down Mount St. Helens a few times, on randonnee skis. These glorious snow slopes, this granite, this relatively young geology you can walk on!
On climate change.
We need to preserve the world for us. Whether we like it or not, humans are running the show now. Climate change is caused by humans, not really on purpose, and in order to do something about it we’ll need to take steps.
His favorite thing to teach.
I do this talk: If we could do one thing to address climate change, it would be to raise the standard of living for women and girls around the world. They have fewer kids, and the kids have a better quality of life. And that’s fewer people leaning on the [earth’s] resources.
What new science excites him.
The concept of very hot fusion. It would be limitless [energy production]. The more I read about it, the more enchanted I become.
► Bill Nye Live 2020, May 16 at 6pm