OGDEN — Despite a rainy morning, Bill Nye “The Science Guy” drew a crowd to his moderated discussion Wednesday at the Dee Events Center.
The event was sold out and more than 5,000 people attended.
The audience was made up of people of all ages. Many parents had brought along children, who were able to attend because they’re on spring break.
Stacy Palen, a professor of physics at Weber State, moderated the discussion, drawing from questions that had been collected from the college of science and social media.
Palen told Nye she received several questions about his bowties and asked him about the tie he was wearing. Nye said he made sure to wear a spring tie with some purple in it.
“I thought it was a ‘sun is in the sky kind of tie,’ and it has a little purple in it,” he said. “I wore it for you,” he said, looking to the audience.
Nye’s main message was to use science to take action, the same call he makes in his book “Everything All At Once.”
He told the audience he started his famous children’s show, which aired on PBS from 1994–1999, to introduce them to science, and now “I want you to change the world,” he said.
A woman in the audience yelled out “Thank you, Bill!” to laughter and applause.
Just as he does in his books, Nye focused on climate change, among other issues.
“Just think of all the hurricanes” and the polar vortex, he said. If we didn’t know why these events were occurring more frequently, he continued, think “of how spooky that would be.
“We do know why, so let’s get to work, people.”
Palen followed up with a question that has been weighing on people’s minds.
When it comes to solving climate change, she asked, “Is there any hope?”
“Oh people, come on,” Nye responded. “We’re going to change the world. We have to be optimistic, or you’re not going to accomplish anything.”
Referencing the single-minded focus on victory that Americans had during World War II (both of his parents are veterans of the war), he said, “That model of how to adapt to a global problem is more relevant than ever today.”
Though some traditional students at Weber State were born after Nye’s show aired, many had watched it in elementary school and were excited to attend the event.
Ashley Martos, a freshman majoring in psychology at Weber State, said she attended because she “likes science,” she said. “I watched his shows and I thought ‘I want to see this guy in person.’”
Kyle Jacobs, a junior at Weber, posed for a picture with a life-size Bill Nye cut-out along with one of his friends. He had come with a group to see Nye speak.
Jacobs said he came in part because of the free student ticket, but he also “watched (Nye) a lot in elementary school and was curious” to see him live. He also likes “his ties and his views on climate change.”
The enthusiastic student, faculty and community response helped the university get its money’s worth — Nye’s speaking fee was $90,000.
Weber State students who acted fast were able to pick up two free tickets. Community tickets, which each sold for $10, offset the expense by $15,000.