Bill Nye speaks about atmosphere, Internet, revolution at Kent State University Stark


“And dare I say, change the world!” said Bill Nye at Kent State’s Stark campus during his presentation “The Earth is a Great Home, But We Have to Make Some Changes,” March 6. Photo by Grace Jelinek.

Maggie Thurston

Bill Nye, the beloved, hilarious science guy from middle school science classes, came to teach us once again an important lesson about the world we live in during a lecture Tuesday at the Stark campus.

A scientist, inventor, engineer, author, comedian, TV host and producer, Nye has a very calming, humbled presence that makes you feel like you’re a part of his family or team of scientists, even referring to himself as our “Uncle Bill.”

In his early career, Nye worked as a scientist during the day and a stand-up comic at night. He then discovered he could combine his two passions into “Bill Nye the Science Guy.”

Prior to the presentation, the energy in Timken Great Hall was electric and full of anticipation, and students shared why they came to see Nye speak.

“Being able to see him live takes me back to the nineties when kids’ TV was actually good,” said Joel Howe, junior marketing major.

Oliver Miday, sophomore integrated science major, said he came to see Nye because “he’s Bill Nye the freaking science guy.”

“Only a real man can pull off a bow tie, let alone a light blue bow tie,” Miday said.

As the hall lights dimmed, a group of students attempted the slow clap but were immediately hushed by a few older people in the crowd. Nye walked in from a side door, and cheers erupted as he realized he was too early and backed out laughing.

Nye started his talk with background on his parents, who are both very talented in mathematics and science.

His father was a prisoner of war, and during his time in prison there was no electricity. This fueled his future passion with sundials, later continued by his son when Nye created the EarthDial Project to promote the production of sundials, giving people a deeper sense of geography, astronomy and timekeeping.

Nye continued to tell stories by mimicking voices and even jumping up on the podium when re-enacting a childhood game where he pretended the floor was lava.

When announcing his call to action, he showed pictures of his home, covered in solar panels, and explained that he now only pays $10 a month on his electric bill.

Nye said the rate at which carbon is being added to the air is alarming. To fix it, people can do one of two things.

“Yes, we could run in circles screaming, or we can change the world,” he said. “We need to find ways to take carbon out of the air.”

Towards the end of the presentation, he gave a very exciting outlook on the world today. So much has changed over his lifetime, he said, and that’s without the Internet. Now, we have the opportunity to have any information we want at our fingertips. With global sharing so accessible, we can accomplish incredible feats.

Referencing the May 4 shooting at Kent State, Nye said today a revolution isn’t a revolution unless you can read about it on Twitter. We may think we alone can’t bring a revolution to the world, but together we can contribute a piece to bring a huge change, he said.

“My third grade teacher Mrs. Cochran said, ‘there are more stars than grains of sand on a beach,’” he said. “I wouldn’t have phrased it this way, but I was like, ‘Mrs. Cochran are you high?’”

While people are incredibly tiny and insignificant in the universe, he concluded, we could still change the world.

“I’m a speck, on a speck, orbiting around other specks, in another speck, in the middle of speckness; I suck,” Nye said. “But with your brain, you can imagine all of this. You can know your place in space that does not suck.”

Contact Maggie Thurston at [email protected].