Bill Nye the Science Guy To Head the Planetary Society

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Television personality Bill Nye the Science Guy will take the helm of the Planetary Society when long-time Executive Director Louis Friedman steps down in September, the Pasadena, Calif.-based advocacy organization said June 7.

“As my astronomy professor Carl Sagan used to say, ‘When you are in love, you want to tell the world,’” Nye said in a statement announcing his selection. “I’m a charter member of the Planetary Society. Now as Executive Director, I’ve been given the chance to share the passion, beauty, and joy of space exploration with other members and the world.”

Nye studied astronomy under Sagan at Cornell University in Ithaca N.Y., where Nye earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.

Nye has been a member of the Planetary Society’s board of directors for more than a decade and has served as the group’s vice president since 2005. He will be replaced in the latter capacity by Heidi Hammel, a senior research scientist and co-director of research at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

Friedman previously announced plans to retire as head of the organization he helped found 30 years ago.