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The Science Guy plans to get serious in new show

January 21, 2003|Patrick Kampert | Chicago Tribune

To the under-30 crowd, Bill Nye the Science Guy is as much a childhood staple as "Blue's Clues." He's an Emmy winner who made science fun for kids, mixing his experiments with the wit of the stand-up comic he once was in Seattle. Now he's zipping around the country, taping episodes for "The Eyes of Nye," an upcoming PBS show in which he'll do his science thing for adults.

Why the change of focus? The fate of the world.

"We have so many serious problems in society right now: global climate change, overpopulation, antibiotic drug resistance. The future could be quite grim," he said. "These problems have to be solved by the people who control the money: voters.

"That's why I'm doing the show."

Yet, typical of Nye, there is the inevitable follow-up joke. "I don't want everybody to start driving on the left side of the road in the U.S. I don't want to go that far," he deadpanned. "But I would like to get people involved."

Take cloning, for example.

"It's quite possible that you could clone a person," Nye said. "It's definitely possible, but it's absolutely reckless, in my opinion. The adult show is going to do more topics that appeal to taxpayers and voters. Everybody should have enough scientific knowledge of cloning to make a decision.... But if you have people who are scientifically ignorant of these questions, then you're going to make bad choices."

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