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Bill Nye Wants To Help You Understand The Science Behind The Coronavirus

Bill Nye hosting the National Park Foundation's 'View-A-Thon' at Mashable in 2016. (Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for National Park Foundation)
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Bill Nye, your favorite Science Guy, wants to help you understand the coronavirus in a new podcast miniseries. As part of his regular podcast, “Science Rules! With Bill Nye,” he’s running a three-month series — two episodes a week — dedicated to exploring and fact-checking the latest in pandemic news.

Are masks effective? How long does the virus live on various surfaces? These are the questions Nye is trying to help listeners navigate with the help of experts, be it an epidemiologist, economist or fluid mechanics expert.

“The thing that we also get into in detail is the mathematics of it, which fascinates me —this business of the reproduction rate, which is an epidemiological term for how many people you can give it to if you're infected," Nye said on KPCC's AirTalk.

Nye’s programs on TV and through his podcast have always served to help make science more accessible to the general public. And when asked if there could potentially be a silver lining with the pandemic — the public taking science more seriously — Nye gave an emphatic yes: “Exactly, my friend. That is, you have hit the nail on the head.”

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“The first thing is, people will take science seriously, [because] nobody, nobody — [a] raving, crazed, progressive who wants two chickens in every pot for free, or [a] raving conservative who thinks everybody should have his own fire department and build his own sewer lines — everybody on either side of that spectrum and everybody in the middle does not want to get sick or die from this virus. Everybody shares that.

And everybody, I think, no matter how rabid a science denier you may be, you see the value of science in this case. You see the value of conventional medicine and the understanding and frankly, the mathematics, of public health. And so that's the first thing about this that has potential to be really good.”

Another silver lining he sees:
“The second thing is, we are going to see the benefits of not burning fossil fuels at the aggressive rate that we've been burning them. The last couple centuries, we are going to see the value of clean air and less traffic and fewer health problems associated with dirty air and dirty water — kind of by accident. And so maybe this will be the time at last when humankind decides to go renewable.”

Nye also talked about the latest projects from the Planetary Society and answered a six-year-old’s question about how lava erupts from a volcano. You can hear the full interview below.

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