If you told my young, elementary-school self back in the day when I watched his show religiously that Bill Nye the Science Guy would one day come to my college and give a talk hosted by CEC which I’d be fortunate enough to attend, and at which I would have had the opportunity to shake his hand, I wouldn’t have believed you. Even my present self had trouble believing that THE Bill Nye was coming to UCLA to give a talk in Moore 100, our largest lecture hall here.
His talk was titled “The World is An Amazing Place, But We’ve Got to Make Some Changes“. The line to enter began more than an hour before the start of the event, and soon it wrapped all around Moore Hall, extending past the North-South boundary reaching into South Campus. The standby line was even crazier, beginning long before the reservations line appeared, for those who weren’t able to make it onto the Reservations List and counted on no-shows that would open up seats for the standby line.
The attendance was not only impressive, but also diverse; students from all over campus came to the event, not only science students who had been inspired by Mr. Nye’s television show. As we waited anxiously inside the hall for his arrival, the air was so filled with excitement that it would have combusted had someone lit a match. As soon as Mr. Nye peeked his head into the hall, it erupted with cheers and applause. The rest is history.
The theme of Mr. Nye’s talk was extremely engaging and inspiring. Through his use of personal anecdotes and enthusiasm, he showed us that he was the Bill Nye we had always remembered, except better, because now he was speaking to us right in front of our eyes. His presentation was personable and relatable, and everything he talked about came back to his slogan of the night: Change the world. Mr. Nye is clearly extremely inspired by youth and the potential for young people to innovate and explore new possibilities. Everything he said, including the way he said it, was incredibly empowering that it was hard to leave the presentation feeling pessimistic.
When asked what inspired him to teach children science through television, Mr. Nye answered that the moment a child understands what you’re teaching him and makes the knowledge his own, you know you’re doing something right. And it’s moments like those that inspire him to be “Bill Nye the Science Guy”. Needless to say, it was an evening I will never forget, especially the moment my friend pestered him enough to finally shake my hand.