Heard on Campus: Bill Nye on science

November 20, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Bill Nye the Science Guy — with a career spanning engineering, science, comedy and television-series hosting — entertained a sold-out crowd at Penn State’s Eisenhower Auditorium on the evening of Wednesday, Nov. 18, speaking on topics ranging from climate change to Mars and sundials. The Student Programming Association hosted the event. 

In his pre-lecture press conference, Nye was asked, “What is the most important scientific concept for non-scientists to grasp?" He answered, "The method. How will we know nature? … We all have been exposed to it. Make an observation. Come up with a way you think it happened. Come up with a hypothesis. Come up with a way to test the hypothesis, to compare what happened to why you thought that happened. That’s the main thing. If we could get everyone to embrace that."

Nye explained that, compared to when he started out, audiences today “are more knowledgeable. My audience is certainly more enthusiastic about science, but those are people that come to see me. That is an imperfect sampling. People that come to see me are not generally astrologers; they're not people who generally believe in psychics. They come to see Bill Nye.” To his audience, he exhorted, "I want you to get together and embrace technologies that will change the world.”

— Bill Nye hosts two television series: "The 100 Greatest Discoveries" on the Science Channel and another nationally on PBS stations called "The Eyes of Nye." He earned a mechanical engineering degree from Cornell University, worked for Boeing in Seattle, did stand-up and wrote for the Seattle comedy show, "Almost Live." Nye is a member of the Planetary Society’s board of directors. He also created the EarthDial Project, a set of Internet-connected sundials that people everywhere can build or use.   

The event's host, the Student Programming Association, enhances the student experience with co-curricular events like free-with-ID movies, provides programming resources and brings entertainment from lone comedians to large-scale concerts to Penn State's University Park campus.

Last Updated November 20, 2015