Stillwater News Press

Arts & Entertainment

February 20, 2014

Nye challenges students to ‘change the world’

STILLWATER, Okla. — With half of Gallagher-Iba Arena packed from the floor to the rafters Thursday night, Bill Nye, the Science Guy, dressed in his signature bow tie, challenged Oklahoma State University “cowpeople to go change the world.”

The program was sponsored by the OSU Speakers Board during the university's Reserach Week. Nearly 400 audience members received VIP floor tickets in a contest and at a free distribution on campus. T-shirts were passed out prior to the event and thrown at the eager audience who waited for Nye's appearance after flight delays detained the start of his talk, said OSU Speakers Board Chairman Logan Scott who was dressed in an orange bow tie.

Nye brought a political agenda along with his passion for the beauty and joy of science. Combining his education as a mechanical engineer and talent for comedy, he interspersed his scientific information with encouragement for students to vote in order to make a difference in support of his causes. Scientific data was presented as facts to back up his theories which were applauded with a standing ovation after his slide presentation. A lively question and answer session followed his comedic speech.

Nye said his legacy will be inspiring others to ask questions and do something to solve problems.

“I want one of you guys to change the world . . . build a better battery,” he said. Nye also mentioned it is critical for the planet to raise the standard of living for girls and women.

Debbie Williams, executive director of the Oklahoma WONDERtorium, asked Nye what things from his childhood gave him such a passion for science. He said watching bumblebees in the azaleas sparked his curiosity about flight with his research teaching him “grown-ups don’t know everything.”

Nye said he would make changes to the core curriculum philosophy by starting science education at a very young age and emphasizing algebra so students can learn to think abstractly. He was very supportive of Williams’ programs at the WONDERtorium which begin introducing children to science at 2 years old.

Even in science, he said it is important to have a sense of humor.

“He’s so funny,” said human resources student Kimberly Oliver.

She won special tickets on Twitter to meet Bill Nye.

“He brings back so many memories from watching his show and helping me understand and make science interesting,” she said.

Nye said the key to the future is not to do less but to do more with less — and embrace those ideas that seem crazy — because they just might work.

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