Hey Bill Nye! Does the Universe Go on Forever?
Young Aaron asks the Science Guy about the uncountable lengths of space. Bill responds with a challenge.
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.
Aaron Hernandez: Hi Bill Nye the Science Guy. I’m Aaron the Science Guy and I want to know why does space go on forever?
Bill Nye: Aaron the Science Guy. Good to see you. Why does space go on forever? That’s a great question. It’s a deep question and no one really knows the actual answer to that. Maybe you’ll be the one that figures it out. The nearest we can tell, the farther we look into space, the farther it seems to go. With that said we can see that all the stars are moving apart and so people have figured out that they must have all been in one place about 13.6 billion years ago. And so people can observe light that we believe is 13.5 billion years old. But nobody knows what’s beyond that or if it’s even a meaningful question to ask what’s beyond that. Like what would the world be like if there were no world? It would be different. And so these are deep, deep questions and the people who think about these questions are called astrophysicists. They study the motion of stars. "Physics" is the study of motion and "astro" has to do with stars. So perhaps you will be an astrophysicist who figures this out. Cool question.
In this week's edition of #TuesdaysWithBill, Young Aaron asks the Science Guy about the uncountable lengths of space. Why is it like that? Why is it so big?
Bill responds with a challenge. No one really knows the answer now, so maybe Aaron can become an astrophysicist some day and find out.
Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.
- There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
- CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
- Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
- Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.
Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.