From Boeing to Netflix: How Bill Nye built a science empire
The world has been shaped by scientific innovation, and fundamental to such discoveries, is the pursuit of a new idea.
But science is not limited to just those who are well-versed in the subject. In fact, some of the greatest inventions are sparked by curiosity, combined with trial and error.
In a recent episode of Sidelines, hosted by BNN Bloomberg’s Jon Erlichman, we heard from some stars who have shared their fascination with science with the world. From talk show personality Dr. Phil’s interest in human behaviour, to classical singer Sarah Brightman drawing inspiration from watching the first man walk on the moon, these celebrities’ careers have been shaped by science. Here’s a look at what they had to say:
Dr. Phil, talk show host and psychologist
“I can think back to the specific day that my life took a turn that has wound up with me being where I am today. I became interested in motivation, why people do the things they do and don’t do the things they don’t do. I knew if I understood that, I was going to have a tremendous edge in life.”
Alan Alda, actor and founder of the ‘Clear and Vivid’ podcast, which focuses on the science of communication
“I was always interested in science and when I did a science program on television for 11 years, I realized that I was bringing [my] actor training to the science interviews. Once I realized that that was possible, to be able to help science be communicated, I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be a great idea to try to train scientists to make that same connection with the audience, so those of us who aren’t in science can understand it better.’ It’s such a beautiful pursuit.”
Bill Nye, science television presenter and owner of multiple patents, including one for a ballerina shoe
“We did [a] show on bones and muscles, and these women had all these crazy injuries. And I realized that the toe shoe hasn’t changed in centuries. The real key to the future in toe shoes is 3D printing.”
Matt Damon, actor and founder of Water.org, which aims to build water infrastructure for underdeveloped regions
“People respond to ideas that work, right? It’s impossible not to see these kids and not think of your own kids, and think about the good fortune we had to be born in the West, and to have the opportunities that we’ve had. So much of it is unlocking the potential of these kids so they can be what they’re meant to be.”
Sarah Brightman, classical music singer and trained space tourist
On her space album Dreamchaser: “I was a kid in the ‘60s and when … [we] watched the first man land on the moon on our television sets, we thought we were all going to go. It changed a lot of us because we thought there were extraordinary things you could do. There was nothing like that, it was an extraordinary time. And it was pivotal for me because I started to really work hard and think, ‘I can do something special. There are all these wonderful opportunities.’”
Adrian Grenier, actor and co-founder of environmental organization Lonely Whale
“I’m really proud of ‘Lonely Whale.’ We’re on target to rid the world of eight billion single-use plastic straws in the next couple years, [and] arguably [we’ve] had a big influence on the movement to rid the world of single-use plastic.
“I think it’s just a matter of saying ‘Yes, I’m going to get up in the morning and I’m going to do something.’ At the end of the day you know that if you participate in goodness, goodness comes back to you. You have to have a fundamental faith in that principle.”