For students around the world, the phrase "Bill Nye the Science Guy" meant you were about to have a good day. It meant you were about to learn something new and have fun doing it.
Bill Nye was the host of the Emmy-winning educational series for five years. The popular staple of education continues to be used in classrooms across America.
Good Day Chicago's Jake Hamilton got the chance to catch up with Nye while he was in Chicago to accept the Washington Award, one of the highest honors of engineering.
Although he has attained a respected status as a scientific pioneer in his own right, he said he owes the success of the series to a teacher of his own.
"I had Carl Sagan for astronomy. He was starting out in television. I wanted to do this educational show. I had not taken shape yet and I made arrangements to meet with him at my 10th college reunion," Nye said. "He said focus on pure science. Don't do engineering or technology. Do science, because kids resonate to pure science. That was the verb he used - ‘resonate.'"
Nye has become more than just a VHS science teacher. He recently made national headlines as a supporter of teaching evolution, entering into many heated debates with those who support the teaching of creationism.
He told FOX 32 News that his recent showdown with Christian author Ken Hamm proves that it's hard to convince those who refuse to listen to facts.
"They're not being reasonable. They've made up their minds. I'm not being dismissive, but how do kangaroos get to Australia? On that alone, they've got nothing. So they have another, something else going on," Nye said. "I'll tell you - I guess on camera, this may end my career - I think in that recent debate those people are deeply troubled. There's something else going on in their lives that makes them not want to use their common sense."
But Nye said the battle between evolution and creationism does not have to be a battle between science and faith.
"There's billions of people who are devoutly religious who are enriched by their religion. They get a great deal from their community and they accept and embrace evolution," Nye said. "Enjoy your religion and enjoy your community especially. That's what I think most people get out of religion. But it's separate from science and especially separate from evolution."
Despite the heated headlines, Nye said would he return to an educational series, and it might already be in the works.
"I would do one in a second," Nye said. "Not full disclosure, but partial disclosure, I'm going to be in New York next week and I'm meeting with people about doing a new show."
So for now, as the world awaits the return of "Bill Nye the Science Guy," we still have years of past episodes that continue to educate, enrich, and most importantly, entertain the future science guys of the world.
"A lot of people, individuals, tell me they became an engineer, a doctor, physician, whatever, because they love science because they used to watch the show, which is great," Nye said. "But my dream is that one of these people goes on to cure cancer, invent the better battery, change the world!"
You heard him. Let's get to work!