Science Guy talks to students who learned from him as children


As Bill Nye stepped on stage to address the eager UVU students, he was welcomed with a standing ovation before he even said one word. The introduction to his television show was projected behind him and the crowd sang along, knowing every word. Hundreds of students pulled out their phones to take a picture of the famous scientist, while Nye pulled out his phone to take a picture of them. There was a special connection between the students who learned from him in their youth and the educator who returned again to instruct a group he began teaching years earlier.

Coming to campus by invitation from the UVU Student Association, Nye, the popular entertainer, famous educator and bow tie enthusiast, spoke for nearly two hours to a crowd that filled every seat and standing space available in the Grande Ball Room.

Nye spoke of his parents’ history and their passions for science, his personal and professional experiences and concluded by addressing current challenges facing not only the scientific world, but the world at large, focusing specifically on the threats of climate change. Ever the motivator and teacher, Nye emphasized regularly the need for the upcoming generation to change the world.

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Bill Nye the Science Guy speaks to a packed audience on Tuesday at the UVU Grande Ballroom in the Sorensen Student Center.
“It is up to us, my friends, to take care of the world,” Nye said. “It is up to you to change the world and leave it better than you found it.”


Addressing a potentially controversial topic like climate change in a way that was neither confrontational nor reproaching, Nye seemed to create an atmosphere of open communication and one that was meant to expand the knowledge of everyone in attendance. During the lecture and while answering questions afterward, he encouraged the students not to take his word at face value, but to test it themselves and come to their own conclusions.

“With your brain you can know your place in space,” Nye said. “And with your brain you can, dare I say it, change the world.”

Students who wanted a seat at the event had to come almost an hour early, like Jake Van Vliet, from Harpers Ferry, W. Va., studying information technology at UVU.   Like nearly every student attending, Van Vliet watched Nye’s popular television show in his childhood and relished the chance to hear from a childhood hero in person.

“The forum went exceptionally well,” Van Vliet said. “It was very informative.  He made a lot of valid points on controversial subjects.  Very funny, just like the show — but better in real life. To know that you are fifty 50 away from the most well known TV kid’s show host, it’s  powerful.”

When answering a question about scientific education, Nye stated that most people who get interested in science do so before they reach the age of 10. Kenlynn Carter, 19, from New Harmony, Utah, studies exercise science at UVU and fits that description. She joined laughing with the rest of the audience whenever Nye made one of his jokes, which he made early, often and often repeated, while still rekindling her passion for science.

“He’s just how I imagined, he hasn’t changed,” Carter said. “I feel really motivated to do my chemistry homework. I’m not dreading it.  I’m actually looking forward to going to three hours of lab.”

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