“Nerd Culture”, Bill Nye, and Apple Pie

Math, Science, History; Unraveling the Mystery…It all starts with the Big Bang. One of my LEAST favorite shows of all time continues America’s dislike or distancing from what has been dubbed “Nerd Culture”. Why does it seem that Americans find those they determine to be smart as  ‘dumb’ or ‘weird’? This idea seems to be very prevalent especially in Generation X and Baby Boomers but not so much for Generation Y’s and Millennials. Why?

Bill Nye was an absolute favorite of mine growing up. He made ‘science’ fun for kids for the first time in years. Instead of kooky gadget making or silly blow stuff up experiments, Bill Nye was able to captivate children and adults alike with REAL Science. He made science…Cool! This started to change the way people think about scientists in this country. Most of my generation and the generation after me seem to grasp scientific thoughts and ideas more readily than the generation before us only because I believe that it was distributed to us in digestible fun ways as children. This has continues as we have reached further into adulthood.


“Cosmos” is one of the most influential and important pieces of science distributed to the masses in modern times. Originally kicked off by Carl Sagan in the 1980’s, “Cosmos” told the tale of how we came to be. It was the most widely watched scientific program of all time at the point of its release. Neil Degrasse Tyson (NDT) gave it the reboot it needed to a modern audience. The crazy fact of this program was, it’s main viewership was by people under the age of 30. For educational programming, that is unheard of (unless we are talking about little kids educational programming). NDT is now one of the most searched name on the internet, becoming one of the very few science “Stars”. He almost near universal approval from everyone who also believes that Pluto is not a planet.

NDT and Bill Nye have done something that a generation before would have been impossible, They made science cool! They made sure our generation understood the importance of science yesterday, today, and into the future. They made sure we came to realize a joy in our Math, Science, and History…even if we didn’t like them on the surface, we could dig our teeth into them further, and find joys we didn’t know were there. They are a major reason as to why our generation is FAR more likely to understand why the climate change discussion is so important and it cannot be ignored. They are the reason that ‘Nerd Culture’ is the new “cool”. Carl Sagan, Bill Nye, and NDT made us realize that if you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe. That is quite a feat.

-Matthew J. Schiesl-


4 thoughts on ““Nerd Culture”, Bill Nye, and Apple Pie

  1. I would definitely say that Bill Nye had a significant impact on my childhood. And I’m sure I can speak for a lot of people when I say that watching those videos in science class in elementary/middle school was one of the greatest things ever. But, more importantly, they taught us things. We didn’t notice, because they were entertaining and engaging to watch, but we learned a lot of fundamental principles about our world through that show. I think it would be awesome to see more of this stuff nowadays. Good post!

    -Drew Sliger


  2. Bill Nye was definitely the guy back in the day you wanted to imitate to your friends when you saw those science videos in class. Liked the post a lot because I feel kids today feel ashamed to be smart or like anything related to science. Kids today should be praised more for their science skills then sports at times. We need kids to get their confidence back.

    -Matthew Wurzelbacher


  3. I like this post! Even if kids didn’t find science necessarily “cool” watching Bill Nye, he definitely made it easy to understand and way more enjoyable to watch than a regular lecture. I watched Bill Nye all the way up to my sophomore year. More things like this need to be realized and shown to classes. Learning should be fun!
    -Alli Stamper


  4. I loved Bill Nye as a kid (still do). In elementary school science class, I wished and wished that my teacher wasn’t there for the day so our substitute teacher would let us watch an episode of Bill Nye. I’m not sure how “cool” he made it in terms of social status but it definitely made science interesting and more fun than a regular science class (usually). I think there has been a shift from the stigma of “nerd culture” even at young ages. I look back on my high school days and recall that about half of the “popular kids” all did really well in school. They were on the honor society, took only advanced and AP classes. I don’t think we’re necessarily at a point where being smart and working hard in school is “cool” but we’ve come a long way, especially with the anti-bullying policy and procedures taking place in school nowadays.

    -Allison Loayza


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