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Campus Abuzz for Bill Nye the Science Guy

February 09, 2015

As the crowd cheered and stomped, Bill Nye took out his phone and filmed a panoramic video of the standing ovation. “Oh, you kids are crazy!” he said, posing for a selfie in the final shot of the video.

Bill Nye, the beloved “Science Guy” of many childhoods, came to Lewis & Clark’s campus on October 25. Best known for his acclaimed TV show of the 1990s, Nye is also a scientist, engineer, comedian, author, and inventor. His visit was sponsored by the Campus Activities Board, President Barry Glassner, and Dean of Students Anna Gonzalez.

Word of Nye’s visit spread quickly on campus and throughout the Portland community. On the big night, more than 1,900 guests packed Pamplin Sports Center, with nearly 100 additional guests viewing the simulcast in Agnes Flanagan Chapel.

After a performance of Nye’s TV show theme song by Lewis & Clark a cappella group the Merryweathers—and introductions by Sierra Adler CAS ’16 and President Glassner—the heralded “Springsteen of the nerds” came on stage. “You are going to have the opportunity to—dare I say—change the world!” exclaimed Nye. It was a message to be repeated 
often in his talk.

Nye shared stories of his father, Ned, a sundial enthusiast who still inspires him today in his current role as CEO of the Planetary Society. He also spoke about the importance of science-literate citizens, touching on his emphatic support of evolution and 
his highly publicized 2014 debate with creationist 
Ken Ham. Nye considers his newest book, Undeniable, to be a “primer” on evolution. He says a comprehensive understanding of evolution is crucial to the study of science in the future.

Showing how he has delved into previously 
uncharted territory through Undeniable and his work with the Planetary Society, Nye explained that we 
all have an innate need to explore the unknown. 

“Nobody here has not asked themselves, where did we come from? And are we alone?”

According to Nye, the journey of exploration is 
just beginning. “That joy of discovery is deep within us. It is how you are—dare I say—going to change the world!”

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