William Sanford Nye tends to be much better-known to people as Bill Nye. This is because he was the host of Bill Nye the Science Guy in the 1990s, which was a children’s science show that managed to make a strong impression on a lot of children as well as a surprising number of adults. Combined with other activities, the show is believed to be responsible for a net worth of around $6.5 million.
How Did Bill Nye Reach His Current Net Worth?
For those who are curious, Nye was born in 1955 to a couple living in Washington, D.C. His mother was one of the codebreakers who helped the U.S. Navy crack the codes used by the Japanese military as well as the German military. Meanwhile, his father was a contractor who had been captured by the Japanese military, with the result that he developed a personal passion for sundials because he had been forced to learn how to tell the time by using the shadow of his shovel handle during his four-year stay in a Japanese POW camp. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Nye was very interested in science even when he was a child, though it is interesting to note that he didn’t go on to study science but rather applied science at Cornell University. As a result, Nye came out of school with a BS in mechanical engineering in 1977.
As such, Nye spent some time working for Boeing. There, he put his skills to excellent use, as shown by the fact that he came up with a hydraulic resonance suppressor tube that went on to see use in Boeing 747s. However, it was clear that Nye had other interests besides his engineering work. For example, it is known that he applied to become a NASA astronaut four separate times but was rejected each time. Likewise, Nye developed an interest in comedy after he won a look-alike contest for Steve Martin in 1978, with the result that he found out how much he liked to make people laugh after his friends started asking him to do Steve Martin impressions. Due to this, Nye eventually made the choice to stop being an engineering in preference for focusing on his comedic work in 1986.
Nye’s interest in a science show was his own. However, it is interesting to note that he got the idea to focus on science rather than tech from Carl Sagan, who he got the chance to meet when he returned to Cornell University for his 10-year reunion. As for his nickname, he got that from the Seattle-based comedian John Keister, who asked him if he thought he was “Bill Nye the Science Guy” when he corrected Keister on his pronunciation of “gigawatt.” In any case, Keister was the one who got Nye his big break on a local sketch comedy show called Almost Live!, which put him on the path to raising his profile more and more until he was able to get his self-named show off of the ground.
Even now, Bill Nye the Science Guy remains Nye’s single best-known project, which makes sense because it managed to win 19 out of 23 Emmy nominations. On top of that, the show managed to be both educational and entertaining, which explains much about why a lot of people still remember it with fond memories. In any case, Nye has continued showing up on the screen for various reasons, as shown by the fact that he has had a Netflix show. However, he tends to be better-known for his science advocacy, which has seen him make appearances in a wide range of contexts. In this, it is interesting to note that Nye remains engaged with our ever-improving understanding of the sciences, as shown by how he is known to have changed his mind on GMOs very recently in 2015.
It seems probable that Nye will continue to advocate for the sciences in the times to come. As such, while it seems safe to say that he will continue to contribute to the world in a positive manner, it is unlikely that this contribution will be matched by huge upswings in his finances anytime soon.