Science & Tech

Science Changes Your Perspective

Bill Nye

Lesson time 04:07 min

Discover how science gives you a new perspective, helps solve problems, and offers a more optimistic outlook on the future. Bill shares a story from his high school physics class and uses an augmented reality hologram to illustrate his point.

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Topics include: Shift Your Perspective for New Possibilities · Choose an Optimistic View


- Guys, how tight is this freaking shot? Jeez. All right. No. I mean, It's OK. But I don't want to scare people. Our lives are full of problems or challenges, as I like to call them. Climate change is probably the biggest one. And it might feel impossible to overcome until you change the way you look at it. Science can give you a new perspective, this way of thinking. But this new perspective idea really came to me when I was in physics class in high school. And by the way, you know the old saying "everything happens for a reason"? That reason is usually physics. So as in Mr. Lang's class, and this as he puts pressure on you-- have you go up to the chalkboard-- this was before whiteboards. And he had me deal with an ellipse. Now, you're probably familiar with a circle. A circle looks like this. It's round. Well, there's also another shape called an ellipse, which looks like this. Now, I don't know how into circles and ellipses you are. But a circle has a radius and a diameter. But an ellipse has not just one number, it has two. It has a long axis, or major axis. And it has a short axis, or minor axis. And they're related with some x squareds and some y squareds, some A's, some B's. Well, one day in physics class, Mr. Lang, outstanding physics teacher, George Lang, had me go to the board and write an equation for an ellipse. But it wasn't like this. It was like this. So I started writing this thing. And when it's this shape, you get some cross terms, some x's and y's. And it gets pretty clumsy pretty quickly. Well, Mr. Lang stopped me. And he said, the ellipse isn't tilted. You're tilted. Just look at the problem like this. And when you do that, the equations are a lot more straightforward. So I've thought about that quite a bit. The way you look at a problem affects how you approach it. Ha! Isn't that straightforward? If you change your point of view, you can look at a problem a different way and maybe solve it more quickly. [MUSIC PLAYING] I'm optimistic for a couple of reasons. The first reason is young people are going to take action. You can't meet a young person that's not very concerned about climate change. And so when they are voting and becoming captains of industry, they're going to work on this problem very quickly. They're going to get it done. The second thing is I can see the technologies from here. And by that, I mean I can easily imagine a better power grid, better energy storage, electricity storage systems, better ways to desalinate seawater and irrigate crops with freshwater produced from the ocean. I can imagine all of that easily. I can imagine whole new ways to make electricity using fusion or some technology that's just emerging right now if we were to invest. I think about my grandparents. And when they were born, no one had a mobile phone. They didn't understand anything about the science that has led to the most commonplace ob...

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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