Bill Nye the Science Guy comes to Utica

Bill Nye presenting at Mohawk Valley Community College. Photo by Rebecca Souza
Bill Nye presenting at Mohawk Valley Community College. Photo by Rebecca Souza

Scientist and television personality, Bill Nye, visited Utica, New York to give a talk on the environment, politics and how students can “change the world” on Sept. 12.

Bill Nye the Science Guy spoke to a sold-out crowd at the Robert R. Jorgensen Athletic and Events Center. The event was part of Mohawk Valley Community College’s cultural series, which will also host Sawyer Fredericks, the winner of NBC’s “The Voice”.

Nye walked on stage to enthusiastic applause and the crowd chanting “Bill”, referencing the scientist’s popular television show. He kicked off his presentation with a story about his parents and how their careers greatly influenced his. Nye’s father was a prisoner of war during World War II who, during his this time, gained an interest in constellations and sundials. Nye’s mother also played a part in the war when the United States government recruited her to help break the Nazi Enigma Code.

The main focus of his talk was about global climate change and what the human race can do to reverse its effects. Nye mentioned his infamous debate with Ken Ham several times during the lecture, shaming those who thought that climate change was not real. Nye also offered several solutions the students in attendance could work on to, dare he say, “Change the world”.

Among the solutions he offered, Nye focused heavily on improving solar power. Nye even said that research shows that the U.S. has the solar and wind resources to power the entire country. Nye informed the audience that larger solar panels are only 15 percent efficient and that if the students in attendance worked to increase their efficiency to 50 or 80 percent, it would revolutionize the solar energy industry.

Nye’s lecture also had political elements in it, criticizing the oil industries’ hold on the government and their denial of climate change. He proposed that a fee system be put into effect. This system would implement a carbon monoxide fee that would then be redistributed to help the environment and help even out the wealth distribution in the United States.

After his lecture, which was full of comedy and scientific facts, Bill Nye answered questions from the audience. These questions ranged from his thoughts on farming’s effect on the environment, requests for selfies, and whether or not he would ever run for president. The latter question received an overwhelming reaction from the audience, causing them to begin chanting the scientist’s name again.

Nye responded to this question by neither confirmed nor denying whether he would run and that the audience has clearly thought about it more than he has. During the Q&A, a camera operator taped the audience and Nye. He would later reveal he was filming a movie and that this footage would possibly be included. Nye did not disclose the subject matter of the film or what it would be named.

Nye graduated from Cornell University in 1977 with a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering. Nye is most popularly known for his television show “Bill Nye the Science Guy” which aired from 1993 to 1998. During his time on the show, Nye received seven Daytime Emmy Awards.

Currently, Nye serves as CEO of the Planetary Society alongside famous astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.