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On November 27, 1955, Bill Nye was born in Washington, D.C. Popularly known as “Bill Nye the Science Guy,” Nye is one of the most popular science educators in the world.
 
Nye is not just an educator or entertainer, however—he’s also a real scientist. He has a degree in mechanical engineering, and worked at the giant aerospace company Boeing before becoming a celebrity.
 
Nye is also a prolific inventor. He helped develop the “MarsDial,” a sundial that NASA uses on its Mars Exploration Rover missions. He invented a magnifying glass constructed from a clear plastic pouch that is shaped to form a convex lens when filled with water. After studying the way bones and muscles work, Nye even engineered a new type of ballet toe shoe!
aerospace
Noun

business concerned with the manufacturing and operation of vehicles that fly in and above Earth's atmosphere.

Noun

layers of gases surrounding a planet or other celestial body.

ballerina
Noun

female ballet dancer.

ballet
Noun

type of formal dance with detailed, precise movements.

celebrity
Noun

famous person.

codebreaker
Noun
person who solves (or "cracks") a code—a system of words, letters, numbers, or symbols substituted for other words, letters, numbers, or symbols.
construct
Verb

to build or erect.

convex lens
Noun

transparent substance (lens) with at least one surface bulging outward.

electricity
Noun

set of physical phenomena associated with the presence and flow of electric charge.

engineer
Noun

person who plans the building of things, such as structures (construction engineer) or substances (chemical engineer).

en pointe
Adjective

ballet technique where the performer dances with her entire weight supported by her fully extended feet.

fascination
Adjective

powerful, irresistable interest in something.

inherit
Verb

to receive from ancestors.

instrument
Noun

tool.

inventor
Noun

person who creates a new idea, machine, product, device, or process.

magnifying glass
Noun

lens that produces an enlarged image of an object.

Mars
Noun

fourth planet from the sun, between Earth and Jupiter.

Mars Exploration Rover
Noun

one of two robots (Spirit and Opportunity) sent by NASA to explore the surface and atmosphere of Mars.

mechanical engineering
Noun

study of the design, production, and operation of tools and machinery.

NASA
Noun

(National Aeronautics and Space Administration) the U.S. space agency, whose mission statement is "To reach for new heights and reveal the unknown so that what we do and learn will benefit all humankind."

prisoner of war
Noun

person captured and held by an enemy during a conflict.

prolific
Adjective

very productive or abundant.

provide
Verb

to give or make available.

riddle
Noun

puzzle or clever question.

scientist
Noun

person who studies a specific type of knowledge using the scientific method.

sundial
Noun

instrument that calculates the time of day by the position of a shadow cast by the sun.

toe shoe
Noun

specially made shoes worn by ballet dancers for en pointe dancing, when they are balanced on the tips of their feet.

World War II
Noun

(1939-1945) armed conflict between the Allies (represented by the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union) and the Axis (represented by Germany, Italy, and Japan.)

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