Scientists Politely Troll Bill Nye The Science Guy, Bill Responds Brilliantly

Bill Nye has responded to scientists criticising him on Twitter. @Point_Mutation/Twitter

James Felton 23 May 2017, 17:46

Over the weekend, #BillMeetScienceTwitter started trending on Twitter. Scientists have been using the hashtag to introduce themselves to Bill Nye the Science Guy, as well as tell him a little bit about what they do as a scientist.

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The hashtag began trending on Twitter on Friday, with scientists – mainly from America – popping up to tell him a little about their field.

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So why were they all doing this?

Nye, who has been a science communicator and presenter since the 90s, recently got his own Netflix series, Bill Nye Saves the World. The show is advertised as "Emmy-winning host Bill Nye brings experts and famous guests to his lab for a talk show exploring scientific issues that touch our lives."

So far, so good. However, scientists of Twitter have been annoyed that the science show doesn't include enough actual scientists. The show has five correspondents as well as Nye – two comedians, one science YouTuber, a TV presenter, and a fashion model.

A discussion about popular science communicators, including Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson, then led to (gentle) accusations that they are not doing enough to engage with everyday scientists.

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Before long, scientists involved in the conversation decided to turn it into a hashtag and introduce themselves to Nye, with the hope of getting him involved in discussions with other scientists.

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And after that, the hashtag took off, with all sorts of scientists introducing themselves in a nice and friendly way.

This is trolling in the politest way possible.

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When Nye saw the messages, he responded by giving them a shout-out and telling them, in science speak, that they are the wind beneath his wings. 

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 Scientists, including astrophysicist Dr Katherine J Mack, thanked Nye for engaging with them. 

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All in all, the whole thing was a masterclass in being polite on the Internet, highlighting scientists and their work and how to respond to polite criticism. 

And as a bonus, everyone found a list of great new scientists to follow on Twitter.

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