Bill Nye visits Murray State, discusses importance of education

Fumi Nakamura/The News
Fumi Nakamura/The News

Fumi Nakamura/The News

What happens when mixing vinegar and baking soda? The answer would be a reaction.

Just like the science behind the vinegar and baking soda, Bill Nye The Science Guy sparked quite the reaction from the students, faculty and community members Monday evening in the CFSB Center.

With more than 3,000 attendees, laughter echoed through the arena from approximately 8 p.m. until 10:30 p.m.

The goal of the Presidential Lecture Series is to invite the Murray community to learn more about a specific academic department or issue within education.

As the guest speaker for the Presidential Lecture Series, Nye addressed the audience with his valuable insight on multiple issues such as science education, innovation and the joy of discovery.

Though students and teachers both proposed questions about core standards of science education in Kentucky, Nye had responses specifically catered for each. Nye addressed the students with a challenge to be the best they can be. The message even seemed similar to the Murray State tagline “take your place.”

“I am a speck, standing on a speck, orbiting a speck with a bunch of other specks in the middle of specklessness. I suck,” Nye said. “But with your brain you can know and appreciate your place in the cosmos, your place in space.”

However, his response to those who teach the students was vastly different. Instead of facing the issue pushing students to do more homework and study more, his response was to make the students passionate about the subject, instead.

“Blow stuff up,” Nye said. “I’m not kidding. Everybody loves science and when you have a demonstration that is something you don’t expect. Blow something up and have people try to figure out why it happens.”

In following, Nye began speaking on innovation. He especially pointed out that technology today has evolved and without these innovations, things would always stay the same.

“Most people who own phones, own phones with cameras,” Nye said. “Is there anyone here who doesn’t? Is there anyone here who hasn’t benefited from medical science? We wouldn’t have any of that without science – without this way of knowing nature. So we want to embrace that.”

Furthermore, Nye’s innovation lecture turned into excitement for the future and the joys of discovery. He stated that students who are open to learning new things and discovering them for themselves, often become the innovators of a generation, who then change the world.

With each example, Nye held the attention of the audience with jokes and voice inflections.

After the lecture, audience members were able to ask questions. Some of the questions were more serious in tone, such as Nye’s stance on science education in Kentucky and his thoughts of life on other planets.

Others asked Nye about his experiences on Dancing with the Stars and his bow tie collection, which is composed of more than 200 bow ties. Nye replied to each and every question asked by the audience with a witty and humorous tone, while also answering the question.

As the night drew to a close, Nye shook hands and posed for pictures with many Murray community members and students. Social media sites were flooded with pictures of the science guy and quotes from the lecture accompanied by the hashtag #NyeatMurrayState.

Though the audience may have laughed through a good portion of the lecture, many left feeling inspired. This is one presidential lecture that in Nye’s words, “could, dare I say, change the world.”

Nye went on the next night to battle Ken Ham, founder of the Creation Museum.


Story by Hunter Harrell, Features Editor