As scientific concepts such as climate change became contentious political topics, Bill Nye, the television host of shows such as Bill Nye the Science Guy, is becoming an unlikely controversial figure in certain circles. Shortly after the debut of his new Netflix show Bill Nye Saves The World in 2017, a series of memes have emerged attempting to discredit him. One such meme compares the educational background of Nye and action star Dolph Lundgren:
This meme is largely accurate. Nye did study mechanical engineering at Cornell University, from which he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree. And Lundgren, who may be best known as an action movie star, has an impressive educational background. The credentials listed in this meme, however, are slightly inaccurate.
According to a biography on the actor’s old web site, Lundgren did receive a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Sydney and was the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship at MIT:
In the early eighties, Dolph graduated from The Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and completed his Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering on an exchange program with the University of Sydney in Australia. Graduating at the head of his class, Dolph was then awarded a Fulbright scholarship to the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, one of the world’s top engineering schools. He was finally on his way to America.
The University of Sydney said in a Facebook post that Lundgren was “our only alumnus (that we know of) who’s gone toe-to-toe with Sylvester Stallone.”
However, Lundgren did not receive a BS degree in chemistry from Washington State University. The school says on its web site that Lundgren spent one year (1976-1977) studying chemical engineering there as an exchange student, but he didn’t graduate from the school:
Dolph Lundgren, best known for his action roles in Rocky IV (as Ivan Drago) and The Expendables, spent the 1976-1977 school year at WSU as an exchange student, working on a chemical engineering degree. He was also a member of the Cougar Marching Band. Contrary to some reports, he did not actually graduate from WSU. Instead, he finished his coursework at Sweden’s Royal Academy and the University of Sydney in Australia.
Comparing Nye and Lundgren is also problematic. The meme appears to insinuate that Nye is not qualified to host a television show since his educational background does not match or exceed Dolph Lundgren’s. Yet, as far as we know, there is no “Lundgren Standard” for science television show hosts. This argument only makes sense if Lundgren, the more educated of the two, had criticized Nye or publicly disagreed with something Nye had said, yet we found no record of Lundgren’s expressing such a viewpoint.