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Ciaran O'Connor

Ciaran O'Connor

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There will always be a specific group of people - chiefly anyone who came of age between 1993 and 2000 - that will fondly remember Bill Nye, the Science Guy, the lovable character that educator and comedian Bill Nye created on a Seattle-based sketch comedy show in the 1980s. Nye is an irrepressible scientist, teacher, and entertainer who has built a lengthy career out of having fun with science. He might have branched off in other directions throughout his career, but the spirit of his blue-jacketed character has always been present. Nye grew up in Washington, D.C., born the son of two war veterans. After excelling in his early schooling, he traveled to Cornell for college and studied mechanical engineering, graduating in 1977. With a degree in hand, Nye went to work for Boeing, where he worked in aeronautics and managed to let his burgeoning comedic side hang out by starring in company training videos. Eventually, despite his talent and love for science, Nye left Boeing to write and act in "Almost Live!" (KING-TV 1984-1999) where he first debuted The Science Guy character. The character showed up again in the live action segments of "Back to the Future" (CBS 1991-92), the cartoon series based on the...

There will always be a specific group of people - chiefly anyone who came of age between 1993 and 2000 - that will fondly remember Bill Nye, the Science Guy, the lovable character that educator and comedian Bill Nye created on a Seattle-based sketch comedy show in the 1980s. Nye is an irrepressible scientist, teacher, and entertainer who has built a lengthy career out of having fun with science. He might have branched off in other directions throughout his career, but the spirit of his blue-jacketed character has always been present.

Nye grew up in Washington, D.C., born the son of two war veterans. After excelling in his early schooling, he traveled to Cornell for college and studied mechanical engineering, graduating in 1977. With a degree in hand, Nye went to work for Boeing, where he worked in aeronautics and managed to let his burgeoning comedic side hang out by starring in company training videos. Eventually, despite his talent and love for science, Nye left Boeing to write and act in "Almost Live!" (KING-TV 1984-1999) where he first debuted The Science Guy character. The character showed up again in the live action segments of "Back to the Future" (CBS 1991-92), the cartoon series based on the popular film trilogy. Nye worked with Doc Brown, played by Christopher Lloyd, to demonstrate experiments at the end of every episode.

Those segments were the most memorable part of the "Back to the Future" cartoon show, and eventually led to Nye being handed the reins to star in his own show, "Bill Nye, the Science Guy" (PBS 1993-98). Nye's show ascended to become one of the most popular educational shows on television, being shown in schools and airing on PBS long after it originally aired. During the show's run, Nye appeared on "Space Ghost Coast to Coast" (Cartoon Network 1994-2004) and "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" (PBS 1968-2001) as well as co-starring in the Disney World ride "Ellen's Energy Adventure" with Ellen DeGeneres.

After "Bill Nye, the Science Guy" wrapped after 100 episodes, Nye went back to focus more on scientific research, though he still kept his Science Guy character live on. He appeared on "Hollywood Squares" (CBS 1998-2004), "Battlebots" (Comedy Central 2000-02), and even hosted his own show again called "The Eyes of Nye" (PBS 2005), which was set at an older audience and didn't take off in the same way his original show did. In the intervening years, Nye continued to be active and outspoken in the field of science, specifically related to reducing our carbon footprint. He also became embroiled in the evolution vs. creationism debate, which came to a head in early 2014 when he debated with noted creationist Ken Ham.

While he didn't succeed in bringing "Bill Nye, the Science Guy" back to life in the 2000s, Nye still appeared in various shows either as himself or a fictionalized version of himself. He appeared in "Numb3rs" (CBS 2005-2010), a show that an earlier lecture of his supposedly inspired. He was also a contestant on the 17th season of "Dancing with the Stars" (ABC 2005- ) and portrayed himself on an episode of "Big Bang Theory" (CBS 2007- ).

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