I Failed Year 9 Science But Interviewed Bill Nye the Science Guy

12 September 2017

In year 9 everyone got their Bunsen burner licence. Everyone except for me. I looked around and saw laughter, joy, happiness – people were quite literally getting ‘lit’ all throughout the class room. In the cold dark corner of the science room I sat with my little ‘safety flame’ which was designed to ensure the most special of children didn’t get ‘too lit’. Kind of like the lock-out laws in Sydney, but on a more localised, fifteen-year-old scale.

I was bloody livid.

I snuck over to my friend Riley’s table, hastily pushed him out of the way, muttered ‘peasant’, and started getting jolly with the flame. It ended with the fire brigade hosing down broken scientific dreams. People called me ‘Bunsen’ for weeks.

The email telling me I’d got the Bill Nye interview was more out of the blue than Moonlight winning Best Picture.

‘Friday at 8am. You have 20 minutes.’

Is this a practical joke? The podcast was doing well on iTunes but I kept having flashbacks to the illuminated lights of that bloody fire truck reminding me to never attempt or talk about science again.

“What’s the worst thing that could happen?” I asked a close friend.

“You could severely embarrass yourself talking to the poster-boy of science.”

“Well, I mean there is that?” I replied to my now former friend.

The interview started well, I cracked a Trump joke, followed by one too many Trump jokes, which saw Bill quickly change the topic back to science.

Bill told me the science behind why our toilets go the opposite way, for about eight minutes. Which is a long time in a twenty-minute interview. But he was getting so much joy out of the water pressure and causation etc. so I just listened in awe. Bill could never be labelled dispassionate. The man loves science.

Bill Nye is coming to Australia with his new show ‘Bill Nye Live In Australia’. I told him I hoped for a more creative show than that title, to which Bill laughed.

“I’ve never been to Australia, I’m excited. We’ll talk about cosmic exploration, evolution and…”

“Trump?” I stupidly interrupted him like an idiot.

“Well, maybe a bit of Trump but more so science, Ferg” Bill replied very politely.

Bill has an amazing way of explaining science in an informative, yet funny and captivating way. His message has gone out to millions around the world, and he’s outspoken dialogue on climate change has been an inspiration to watch. It’s probably why he’s been nominated for 23 Emmy’s and has a net worth $6.5 million dollars.

If you search Bill Nye on YouTube you’ll likely see him on a split-screen with a climate-change denier courtesy of the Fox News network. Bill creams them every time.

A testament to Bill’s show and ability to explain science, is the fact that ‘Bunsen,’ aka yours truly, learnt something off this incredible man.  If Bill can explain science to me, everyone will gain knowledge from attending his show, which promises to be both gripping and inspirational in carrying Bill’s mission to spread science to the world.

I ask Bill what his plans are for when he comes out to Australia.

“I’d love to go swing dancing,” Bill tells me.

I quickly think to myself that Australia is most certainly not famous for swing dancing, but I know if I tell him that he might not come to Australia, and that would be quite bad.

“Well Bill, when you come out here; you, me, and Trump – we’ll go out swing dancing, and visit some vegemite bars.”

Ferg. Firstly, what the hell is a vegemite bar? I still have no idea. But I got so caught up in being an Australian talking to an American that I got lost in a stereotype.

Bill murmurs a quick reply, then shouts into the phone, “I can’t wait to see Australia, I’m excited!”

Bill, I hope I showed you love, and you’re not walking for hours looking to find that mythical vegemite bar. We cannot wait to learn more about science from your show live in person!

To listen to the podcast of this interview, search ‘The Ferg Neal Show’ on iTunes.

You can see ‘Bill Nye Live in Australia’ at The Comedy Theatre on 7 October and Hamer Hall on 10 October.  You can buy tickets on


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