Science & Tech

Everyone You’ll Ever Meet Knows Something You Don’t

Bill Nye

Lesson time 10:15 min

Learn the value of being willing to seek out experts and being open to changing your mind. Bill explains the importance of words, and shares a device he helped design in his youth, which wouldn’t have been possible without help from machinists.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Seek Out Experts · It’s Okay to Change Your Mind · Rehab Your Vocab


- When it comes to climate change, it's all about machinists. Machinists are the key. We should consult with everybody. [MUSIC PLAYING] Sooner or later, we all hit the limits of our own knowledge. But just remember, you're not on your own. Seek out experts. Draw on history. Draw on your community. Keep up with the latest science, and your knowledge will increase. [MUSIC PLAYING] Everyone you'll ever meet knows something you don't. These are words I do my best to live by, and this has to do with respecting each other, of course. One example from my past is this device that another engineer and I designed. I think about working on this instrument to navigate or steer a drill in a mine, all right? The instruments had to be held in a very straight line, almost perfectly aligned. And in order to do that, there were constraints. There were problems. This is called a centralizer. There's a very stiff spring, and these wheels roll against the inside of the pipe-- the drill string. So it had to seal under very high pressure. You know, mines are often filled with water. It had to have a passageway for electrical wires. It had to have lubricant made of molybdenum disulfide, and the big thing was it had to be aligned as perfectly as possible. And that required that these pins be fitted just so. And it was complex, because it was a trade off-- changing the o-ring groove affected where the pins went. Changing lubricant affected the clearance on where these linkages fit together. All these things started to work against each other, and I was having trouble figuring it out. I was consulting design manuals. I was looking up the characteristics of precipitation, hardened stainless steel. And I was chasing my tail. So what I did, I went to the machine shop, and I talked to the machinists. And I guarantee you they knew a lot more about machining metal than I ever will. And working together, we came up with a very elegant design that precisely fits together and maintains the instrument's alignment. So this, to me, became a metaphor for just about everything in life, especially climate change. So every one of us-- every one of us involved here on Earth as citizens of this planet are gonna know things that the other people don't know. We're gonna have to work together with electrical engineers, with politicians, with voters, and taxpayers to get systems in place to provide clean water, renewable electricity, and access to the internet for everyone. Because when you acknowledge that everyone you meet knows something you don't, it means you're gonna respect them. And when we have respect for each other, then we can communicate. You know, we all have a tendency to think we know the answer when we really don't, but this leads to problems. But if we respect each other-- if we acknowledge that other people have knowledge that we don't, then we can address these big issues. Sure, this is one problem with...

About the Instructor

With his 19-time Emmy Award–winning show, Bill Nye the Science Guy introduced the joy of scientific discovery to a worldwide audience. Now, for the first time, the beloved educator is teaching his framework for scientific thinking and everyday problem-solving. Learn Bill’s approach to navigating information through “critical filtering” and embrace a science-based, optimistic response to some of the planet’s biggest challenges.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Bill Nye

Emmy Award–winning science educator Bill Nye teaches you his method for solving everyday problems, evaluating information, and thinking like a scientist.

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