Bill Nye

My 5 Minutes with the President

Bill Nye is the Science Guy, but he is also a comedian, author, inventor and engineer. He is dedicated to helping make science interesting and easy to understand for people everywhere. Bill carried out this mission for 18 years on his show “Bill Nye, the Science Guy,” for which he won seven Daytime Emmys. He has appeared regularly as himself on numerous television shows, including “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” “Solving for X” and “Living With Ed,” and was a host and writer for the Planet Green series “Stuff Happens Hosted by Bill Nye.” Bill Nye is the executive director of the Planetary Society. He is also an avid biker and can be spotted riding to work every day in Los Angeles.

ROBIN BRONK: If you had five minutes in the Oval Office with President Obama, what would you discuss with him? What issue would you like him to know about? 

BILL NYE: With five minutes, I’d like to talk with President Obama about the connection between the exploration of planets, Venus, climate change, math education and U.S. technological and ideological leadership. Science literacy helped this country achieve great things. With more of us knowing and appreciating science and engineering, we can address climate change, develop intellectual and technical expertise and change the world.

RB: If you could give President Obama one piece of advice, what would that be? 

BN: Get around; see as much of the U.S. as you can. Our country has so many remarkable people and significant things to meet and see. Only by being there can a leader fully appreciate the people and places.

RB: If you could ask President Obama one question, what would that be?

BN: My question is, or would be, “How can the Planetary Society and I help you?”We need kids with deeper knowledge of the way everything works. I’m talking more algebra, more science and more understanding of civics and the process of democracy. RB: What book would you offer to lend President Obama? Why?

BN: I’d lend him The Two Mile Time Machine by Richard Alley.

RB: If you were going to send the president to one place in the United States for one day, where would that be? Why?

BN: One place to see is the Arecibo Radio Telescope in Puerto Rico. It is from a time when an audacious citizenry undertook great projects. It’s wonderful engineering and science. Its ability to watch asteroids may save the world for us.

RB: Would you ever consider a political career?

BN: People often ask me about a political career. Yes, if the circumstances were right, I would run for office. If I were successful, I would work hard for my constituents. I was raised with a deep appreciation for the democratic process and the importance of voting. I’m a believer in our Constitution and government, because just like systems in nature, the U.S. government has change built in.

Robin Bronk is CEO of The Creative Coalition — the leading national, nonprofit, nonpartisan public advocacy organization of the entertainment industry. Bronk is a frequent speaker on the role of the entertainment industry in public advocacy campaigns and represents The Creative Coalition and its legislative agenda before Members of Congress and the White House. She produced the feature film “Poliwood,” airing on Showtime, and edited the recently published book Art & Soul. Bronk pens this weekly column with assistance from Risa Kotek.