Hey Bill Nye! What is Our Place in the Future of the Universe?
The universe is going to keep going with or without us. All we can control is how much we learn and explore.
Bill Nye, scientist, engineer, comedian, author, and inventor, is a man with a mission: to help foster a scientifically literate society, to help people everywhere understand and appreciate the science that makes our world work. Making science entertaining and accessible is something Bill has been doing most of his life.
In Seattle Nye began to combine his love of science with his flair for comedy, when he won the Steve Martin look-alike contest and developed dual careers as an engineer by day and a stand-up comic by night. Nye then quit his day engineering day job and made the transition to a night job as a comedy writer and performer on Seattle’s home-grown ensemble comedy show “Almost Live.” This is where “Bill Nye the Science Guy®” was born. The show appeared before Saturday Night Live and later on Comedy Central, originating at KING-TV, Seattle’s NBC affiliate.
While working on the Science Guy show, Nye won seven national Emmy Awards for writing, performing, and producing. The show won 18 Emmys in five years. In between creating the shows, he wrote five children’s books about science, including his latest title, “Bill Nye’s Great Big Book of Tiny Germs.”
Nye is the host of three currently-running television series. “The 100 Greatest Discoveries” airs on the Science Channel. “The Eyes of Nye” airs on PBS stations across the country.
Bill’s latest project is hosting a show on Planet Green called “Stuff Happens.” It’s about environmentally responsible choices that consumers can make as they go about their day and their shopping. Also, you’ll see Nye in his good-natured rivalry with his neighbor Ed Begley. They compete to see who can save the most energy and produce the smallest carbon footprint. Nye has 4,000 watts of solar power and a solar-boosted hot water system. There’s also the low water use garden and underground watering system. It’s fun for him; he’s an engineer with an energy conservation hobby.
Nye is currently the Executive Director of The Planetary Society, the world’s largest space interest organization.
Meg Kelmendi: Hi. I’m Megi and I wanted to know what the future of the universe is and what is our place in it according to physics and engineering. Thank you.
Bill Nye: Maggie, the future of the universe. That's literally a big question. First of all the universe is accelerating and when I was your age, everybody thought that the universe was slowing down. Everybody thought that the universe was going slower and slower, but it turns out it's going faster and faster and nobody knows why. So when it comes to predicting the future of the universe, there's just got to be an enormous amount of information that we don't know anything about and that will help us figure out what the future might be. But I got to tell you I think the universe will keep going whether or not we're here. I mean that just is what it seems like. I've watched a lot of people come and go and it just seems like the world keeps spinning and the universe keeps circulating ever so slowly, actually at enormous speeds; perceptively it looks very slow to us.
With that said, it's a cool thing to think about and it's also reasonable Maggie that you will, in trying to find out what happens in the future of the universe, you will discover something amazing, something astonishing and it's very reasonable to me that you'll find some source of energy that we haven't thought about. Ninety four percent, depends who you talk to, 96 percent of the universe is dark matter and dark energy and nobody really knows what that is and it's very reasonable if somebody could figure out what that is — way out in deep space that same stuff is here somewhere, and if you can figure out what that is, you could, dare I say it, change the world. And I'm glad you're pondering this, but also think about your future. It's coming up a lot quicker than the next time the sun becomes a red giant, for example, but that's billions of years away.
This week's question is a big one. Perhaps the biggest one, considering there's nothing we know of that's bigger than the universe. So what's our role in this rapidly expanding chasm of space and time? The Science Guy explains that it's not an easily answerable query because there's still so much we don't yet understand. Why is the universe accelerating? What makes up dark matter? What does it all mean?
One thing we can be fairly sure of is that the universe is going to keep going with or without us. All we can control is how much we learn and explore. Bill has often advocated for humanity to become a spacefaring species and get off this rock before we inadvertently get ourselves killed. Perhaps when that happens, we'll be able to better understand where we fit within the broader universe.
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