This morning my science communication class had breakfast with Mr. William Nye. We sat in a small classroom and for the most part, he spent the time asking us questions about what we do and why we’re in the class. When he got to me, and I explained my research on the minimal gene set (the smallest possible set of genes that can still support bacterial life), he asked me how large such a set would be. I said something like “well, we know there are bacterial species that have around 400 genes, so the smallest set is obviously smaller than that.” Bill called me out for that, firing back “it’s not obvious!!” He was just kidding around, but it was a good reminder that I shouldn’t use presumptive language when describing science.
It was impressive how kind and engaged Bill Nye is. As soon as he got to breakfast, he immediately hugged the instructor of our class, and another student in the class who he recognized. He really strikes me as a genuinely caring individual, who got into his business because he wanted to talk to people about important problems. Definitely an inspiration for how I’d like to behave as a scientist.
Note: I was holding off on this post because I wanted to post some pictures from the breakfast, but I haven’t gotten them yet. I’ll try to get them up in the next couple days.