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Standing Ovation for 'Science Guy'

Bill Nye Wows Sold-Out Student Crowd With His Passion for Science

March 21, 2014

Bill Nye "The Science Guy" gives a sold-out keynote presentation at the March 20 "Explorations in Citizens Science" symposium.

Cal State Fullerton students cheered loudly and chanted "Bill!" "Bill!" ''Bill!" as the bow-tie wearing "Science Guy" Bill Nye took the stage Thursday (March 20) before a standing-room-only crowd. The popular scientist, engineer, comedian and author had a simple, yet powerful message for Titans: "I want you to change the world!"

Rousing applause and whoops echoed inside the Titan Student Union's Portola Pavilion as Nye greeted the next generation of scientists and engineers, many of whom donned bow-ties in honor of their favorite scientist, who inspired them to pursue science and related fields.

President Mildred García welcomed the Cornell University grad to campus and quickly quipped, "And why am I not getting a bow tie?" Laughter filled the room.

David Bowman, acting dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, hustled onto the stage and offered his bow tie. The crowd cheered, and García smiled as she sported the bow tie, citing the special event to bring Nye to Cal State Fullerton as an example of how "Titans reach higher."

Through Nye's work to help the world understand and appreciate science, García said he "sparked the passion for science" and put students on the path to upward mobility, while adding fun and laughter to learning.

"His work continues to inspire all of us to reach higher," she said.

Nye was the keynote speaker for the "Explorations in Citizens Science" symposium, presented by the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Inter-Club Council. Garcia led a public thank-you to the student group, noting that the two-day symposium showcasing student research and faculty lectures is "high-impact education at work."

Nye, executive director of the Planetary Society and well known for his educational science show for young audiences in the 1990s, spoke about "our place in the cosmos," and students' responsibility to make the world a better place.

With his characteristic humor and affability, Nye talked about the threats to Earth's future posed by global warming and the ever-growing human population and the pressing need to use innovation, "big ideas" and the "joy of science" to drive changes. "The key to the future is to do more with less," he said.

"With your brain you can know the cosmos, can know your place within it, know your place in space. ... With your brain, do I dare say it? You can change the world!"

In the brief question and answer session that followed, one student asked what he could do to help. Nye responded: "Everybody is responsible for his or her actions. Do all you can to leave the world better than you found it — and you'll have a satisfying life."

At the end of Nye's talk, physics major Bobby Wright, chair of the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Inter-Club Council, presented him with a parting gift from the students: a white lab coat emblazoned with "CSUF." Nye wrapped the lab coat around him like a cape — and bolted from the stage like the superhero he is to CSUF students. .

For more photos from "An Evening With Bill Nye," visit online

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