The Real King of the Nerds: Battle of the Science Guys
By Angela Dahl (@AngelaDahling)
TBS’s recent effort to court the nerds through a reality show features two teams of supernerds competing to sit atop the Throne of Games and be crowned King of the Nerds. This got me wondering about nerd icons of the present: if there was a battle for the title of king of all nerds, who would play in this game of thrones? Each week we’ll compare two rivals in a particular realm of nerdom. TO THE DEATH!!
William Sanford “Bill” Nye, or as those of us who grew up in the 90’s refer to him, “that awesome guy that taught me science is fun,” received his degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell and then went to work for Boeing. At the same time, he also began performing stand-up comedy, which evolved into the Bill Nye The Science Guy show. “Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill Nye the Science Guy” ran for five years. Each episode featured a specific scientific topic and song parody. What? You mean you don’t remember “Smells Like Air Pressure”?
The Science Guy’s curriculum vitae is available to look at online, and it is everything you could expect and more. Highlights include: two honorary PhDs, designed shit for the Mars Rover, is the current Executive Director of the Planetary Society, and has written five children’s books. I don’t care how old I am; I want to read Bill Nye the Science Guy’s Great Big Dinosaur Dig.
On top of all that has been said already, a hydraulic pressure resonance suppressor he developed for Boeing is still being used on 747s to this day. The Science Guy show won 18 Emmys. He developed a patent for ballet toe shoes. Basically, the man is a guy of all trades with a sense of humor to boot. And, ladies, if you haven’t seen that picture of him from high school, look it up. Your loins will thank me.
You probably know Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and science communicator, from his numerous appearances on The Colbert Report and The Daily Show, and from memes inspired by him. He’s also known as the man who relegated Pluto to dwarf planet status, meaning we’ll now never know what “my very eager mother just served us nine” of. What you might not have known about Neil deGrasse Tyson is that he received a doctor of philosophy in astrophysics from Columbia. Prior to this, he won gold in a national dance tournament in the Latin Ballroom style. Needless to say, he is a man of many talents.
Let’s do a head to head of CVs now. Tyson, as stated before, has a PhD in astrophysics, and his research area was in “galactic bulges.” Now, I’m not a woman of science, but “galactic bulges” sounds pretty impressive to me (especially coming from People Magazine’s Sexiest Astrophysicist Alive of 2000). And he has 18 honorary doctorates! I’m also not a woman of math, but I know that the time it would take for an average person to accumulate that many doctorates would be… galactic. He currently hosts a program called StarTalk Radio, which combines pop culture and science in a radio talk show format. His twitter following has a growth rate of approximately 1000 followers per day, and he has written 11 books, one of them on the rise and fall of Pluto’s empire. Regardless of your Pluto position, you cannot deny that this man has power, which is deadly when you combine that with his enthusiasm and eloquence. And that amazing vest he has with the gold suns. Awww yeeeee.
Who do you think will emerge victorious in a head to head nerdoff?