It's Bill Nye the Science Guy! He's also the inventor of a sundial on Mars, magnifying glass in classrooms, and toe shoes on ballerinas' feet!

Photograph courtesy Bill Nye the Science Guy

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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!
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    aerospace Noun

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

    atmosphere Noun

    layers of gases surrounding a planet or other celestial body.

    Encyclopedic Entry: atmosphere
    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


    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.)