Happy birthday, Bill Nye!
Bill Nye, everyone's favorite "Science Guy," turns 58 Wednesday. The former host of the iconic science education show that shares his nickname, Nye has remained in the spotlight as a result of his forceful and always colorful opinions on the importance of science literacy and hot-button issues such as climate change and evolution.
William Sanford Nye was born on Nov. 27, 1955. As a teen, he attended Washington, D.C.'s Sidwell Friends School before earning a degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University. He first endeared himself to millions of children -- and their parents -- with his educational television program, "Bill Nye the Science Guy," which aired on PBS and local stations between 1993 and 1998.
Just last year, Nye garnered national headlines for his outspoken defense of evolution and scorn for the concept of creationism. In an exclusive interview with The Huffington Post last August, Nye said "creationism cannot predict anything, and it cannot provide satisfactory answers about the past ... Teaching creationism in science class as an alternative to evolution is inappropriate."
In his 58th year, Nye doubled down on these comments, ultimately provoking the ire of one of America's most high-profile creationists, Ken Ham.
But Nye's biggest star turn in recent months came on the dance floor, rather than in a lab or a classroom. Last fall Nye returned to television as a competitor on the hit show "Dancing With the Stars."
The fancy-footed Cornell alum failed to wow judges with his mad scientist-themed, Cha-cha-cha version of the song "Weird Science." He also injured his quad during that performance and was eventually sent home in week 3. But at the very least Nye seemed to be having a lot of fun out there.
Proving that his dancing detour did not mean the science educator would be slowing down on the political side, however, Nye was quickly back in the spotlight with comments just days ago regarding a battle in Texas over science textbooks.
"This textbook business is, to my way of thinking, a very serious matter, because of the economic impact," Nye told The Huffington Post in email in November. "Everyone should take a moment and think what it will mean to raise a generation of students who might believe that it is reasonable to think for a moment that the Earth might be 10,000 years old."