Dec 10 2011

A Male Counterpart?

Published by at 5:53 pm under Uncategorized

As part of an analysis of Mimi Koehl’s success, we should compare her to a male scientist to determine if gender plays a part in their respective accomplishments. I chose to compare her to William Sanford Nye, more commonly known as Bill Nye the Science Guy. Both have a background in mechanics and engineering, and were born around relatively the same time.

Bill Nye the Science Guy:

  • Early Life: Bill Nye was born on November 17, 1955, and raised in Washington DC. His parents, Jacqueline and Edwin Nye, were both veterans of World War II. His mother was haired as a code-breaker for the US Navy because of her excellent math and science skills. His father spent 44 months as a prisoner of war, and used sundials to keep track of time. His father fostered an interest in sundials and horology (the science of keeping time) in his son that Bill still carries today. Both of his parents encouraged Bill to pursue his love of science. Some of his interests as a child included sundials, bicycles, and airplanes; he was especially interested in knowing how things worked. His father recalled one summer day when young Bill stood for hours out in the yard trying to adjust the settings of his rubber band-propelled airplane in such a way that when released, it would fly in a circle and come back to him.
  • Education: Bill Nye attended the Sidwell Friends School in Washington DC after earning a scholarship. Sidwell Friends is a prestigious, Quaker-founded private school that attracts families from all over the country. Other notable students include Nancy Reagan, Japan’s princess Setsuko Chichibu, and President Obama’s daughters Sasha and Malia. He later earned his bachelors of science degree from Cornell University in mechanical engineering, and occasionally returns to his alma mater as a guest speaker. Nye also holds numerous honorary degrees from institutions such as Wilamette University, Renesselaer Polytechnic Institute, Goucher College, and Johns Hopkins University.
  • Career: After graduating, Bill Nye worked for the airplane manufacturing company Boeing, where he created and patented the hydraulic resonance suppressor (a device that keeps the plane stable when the hydraulics for the wings and landing gear are in use) for the 747 model, which is still in use today. He began his work as a comedian on the late-night television show “Almost Live!”, where he first came up with the idea for his Science Guy character. He later expanded on this character and used it to educate children in his popular show “Bill Nye the Science Guy”. Nye also served as the Vice President for the Planetary Society, the largest international organization for astronomy and space exploration. He was later promoted to Executive Director, where he remains today.
  • Achievements: Most of Nye’s recognition comes in the form of honors. In the academic world, he is a widely sought-after guest speaker for presentations and graduations. He has also held numerous guest appearances on television and is currently hosting his own show, The 100 Greatest Inventions. His work as Bill Nye the Science Guy has won him several Emmy Awards, for Outstanding Children’s Series, Best Writing in a Children’s Series, and Best Acting in a Children’s Series. Nye has patented a few of his own inventions, which include: a water-based microscope that is easy to build, specialized ballerina slippers designed to relieve stress from a dancer’s toes, and a machine that teaches people to throw a baseball with greater accuracy.

You can learn more about Bill Nye the Science Guy at his website.

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