The '90s were a time when kids could start garbage fires, melt things with a magnifying glass, drop Mentos into Coke bottles and construct baking soda volcanoes all in the name of science. In perfecting our scientific experiments, who did we look to for inspiration? The bow tie-clad scientist himself, Bill Nye the Science Guy.
Bill Nye was the king of '90s edutainment television, but it seems like we need Bill's positive and upbeat approach to science now more than ever. True scientific facts are lost in the modern swarm of pseudo-science and "alternative facts" that dominate news headlines. Thankfully, Bill Nye is returning to the air waves after 19 years — this time with a mission: To save the world. That's exactly what #BillNyeSavesTheWorld promises, and us '90s kids know he will deliver.
Bill Nye's Beginnings
Bill Nye the Science Guy discovered the formula for teaching kids about science and engineering: Make it fun. The show — with its quirky host, frenetic energy and highly chant-able intro — was a staple in American households from 1994–1998, earning it 19 Emmy Awards over the course of its syndication. The show took a more practical look at how science can be found in our everyday world, and illustrated scientific principles at work through try-it-at-home experiments with the help of Bill's school-aged scientists.
Nye's new show may look and feel more modern than his '90s entry — with an all-star cast of assistants from runway models to YouTube personalities — but it aims to deliver the same message that its predecessor drove home: science rules. More than just the importance of science, Bill is using his new show as a platform to let the facts lead the way for informed discussion about real-world issues.
Saving The World, One Fact At A Time
In today's world of political unrest, fear and utter confusion, nostalgia can be a comfort. While we welcome the return to familiar memories and pastimes that make us feel safe, what we need now are facts and truth.
According to the #Netflix press release for Bill Nye Saves The World:
Each episode will tackle a topic from a scientific point of view, dispelling myths, and refuting anti-scientific claims that may be espoused by politicians, religious leaders or titans of industry.
Issues like global warming, vaccinations, GMOs, evolution vs. creationism and nuclear energy have come under recent scrutiny, news coverage and heated debated. With a plethora of supporters bolstering both sides of the argument, it seems as if we'll never reach a mutual agreement about many of these hot-button issues.
While this increased attention sounds like it would pave the way for constructive arguments and thoughtful discussions, these debates are often rife with baseless reasoning that yield no agreeable conclusion. How, then, are we to make sense of what's happening in our world? The answer — as Bill would undoubtedly suggest — rests in scientific fact:
"My concern right now is, generally, scientific illiteracy. That is to say you [the public] don't have enough rudimentary knowledge of the universe to evaluate claims."
The takeaway message here? In a time where "alternative facts" run the country, science is the last bastion of intelligent thought and inspiration.
The Bill Nye Approach To Science
Part of what makes Bill Nye such an important figure in the scientific community is his ability to remain approachable and relatable, a trait that he's retained in the time since his tenure on The Science Guy. Instead of presenting science in a way that feels condescending or too "smart-guy," Bill's take on science has always been focused on "getting people everywhere excited about the fundamental ideas in science":
"It's very easy to be cynical. That's not going to bring people to our point of view. We have to embrace people...We have to be patient, we have to keep the message going in a positive way."
Positivity is a precious commodity in today's all-too-bleak world, and only serves to retard our forward progress. Bill's comedic delivery and high energy is perfect for diffusing the tension surrounding hotly debated issues and presenting the facts in a way that (hopefully) appeals to both sides of the discussion.
While Bill is one to certainly put on a show, the science will always be his main focus. That's what makes Bill Nye the perfect person to spearhead a scientific revival that can generate the positive discussions we need to improve — and ultimately save — our planet.
Bill Nye Represents More Than Just Entertainment
Bill Nye Saves the World isn't just a revival of childhood science, but a call to action that we need to think critically about the important issues impacting our world. By examining scientific facts, we can make informed decisions about what's happening and motivate us to make some real changes in our world.
Bill Nye has an ability to present scientific information in a fun and attainable way that everyone can understand. Sure, the Science Guy skits were wacky and frantic, but the science was real and made lasting impressions on young critical-thinkers watching at home. We have no doubt that Bill will bring that same energy and enthusiasm to his next experiment, and prove that the answer to today's big issues "isn't magic — it's science."
All together now: BILL! BILL! BILL! BILL!
Bill Nye Saves the World will premiere on Netflix on April 21, 2017.