Audience versions of this page: FamilyOn 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.
layers of gases surrounding a planet or other celestial body.
Encyclopedic Entry: atmosphere ballerina Noun
female ballet dancer.
type of formal dance with detailed, precise movements.
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.
set of physical phenomena associated with the presence and flow of electric charge.
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.
powerful, irresistable interest in something.
to receive from ancestors.
person who creates a new idea, machine, product, device, or process.
magnifying glass Noun
lens that produces an enlarged image of an object.
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.
(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.
very productive or abundant.
to give or make available.
puzzle or clever question.
person who studies a specific type of knowledge using the scientific method.
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.)