Bill Nye

Boasting a keen, inventive mind and charismatic personality, Bill Nye is easily one of the most visible personalities in science and engineering. This Saturday, Chicago will welcome Nye and celebrate his contributions to the industry throughout his colorful career, as the Chicagoland Engineering Awards Benefit, part of Chicagoland Engineers Week, will hold its 101st presentation of the Washington Award at The Palmer House Hilton, Feb. 21 at 5:30 p.m. This year, Nye receives the prestigious award.

The Washington Award is presented to the individual who has best fostered a scientifically literate society, to help people everywhere understand and appreciate the science that makes our world work.

A scientist, engineer, comedian, author and inventor, Nye is most well-known for his work on the show "Bill Nye the Science Guy®," for which he won seven national Emmy Awards for writing, performing and producing. The show itself won 18 Emmys in five years. In between creating other shows, Nye has also written five children's books about science, including his latest, "Bill Nye's Great Big Book of Tiny Germs."

Bill Nye

After graduating from Cornell University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, Nye headed to Seattle to work for Boeing. There, Nye combined his love for science with his unique comedic talents, working as an engineer by day and stand-up comic by night.

Currently, Nye hosts three television series: "The 100 Greatest Discoveries," airing on Science Channel; "The Eyes of Nye," airing on PBS stations across the country; and Planet Green's "Stuff Happens," which centers on environmentally responsible choices that consumers can make in daily shopping.

As an inventor, Nye has a patent on a magnifier made of water and an abacus that does arithmetic like a computer. He also has a patent pending on a device that helps people learn to throw a baseball better. A forthcoming patent is an improved ballerina shoe.

A native of Washington, D.C., Nye holds three Honorary Doctorate degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Goucher College and Johns Hopkins. He is currently Executive Director of the Planetary Society, the world's largest space interest organization.