Inventions You Had No Idea Bill Nye Came Up With

Airplane parts to ballet shoes. Mars Rover calibration gear (it involved a sundial) to a digital abacus. Bill Nye, famously the Science Guy, is also the Busy Guy.

Biography tells us his Bill Nye the Science Guy show took in 19 Emmy awards; he earned seven personally. It was during his tenure on that show that he visited a Seattle ballet school where Jenna Elfman had studied, for an episode on bones and muscles. According to, he met one dancer who had to undergone multiple foot surgeries as a result of her training, inspiring Nye to design an en pointe ballet shoe, for dancing on the toes, that offered a toe box which enclosed and protected a dancer's toes while also offering additional support along the sole.

Nye isn't just a charming kids TV host. He has been, and remains, a working scientist, with a degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University. While an engineer at Boeing in Seattle he invented a hydraulic pressure resonance suppressor for use on the Boeing 747 aircraft.

Science, but also sports

His work for the Mars Rovers utilizes a sundial which, as sundials tend to do, tracks time, but which also includes color panels that help the Rover calibrate its cameras. He also holds a patent for an educational tool, a magnifying glass created by filling a plastic bag with water. And while Nye doesn't look particularly athletic (despite competing on Dancing with the Stars), he holds another patent on a device that helps train athletes to throw a ball better. His digital abacus is actually a design patent, awarded in 1996.

As he told Fast Company magazine, his life has been like the lines on a parachute. "You see parachutes. Any one of those shroud lines is not enough, it just wouldn't do it. But somehow, if you have enough of them, they'll hold you up." He's benefitted. And so have the rest of us. Everybody say it, all together now: Science rules.