‘The science guy’ draws large crowd at Mossman lecture

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Bill Nye, scientist, educator and television host, delivered the inaugural Ken and Blaire Mossman Distinguished Lecture at the University of Tennessee on Oct. 29 in the Thompson-Boling Arena.

The theme of the lecture given by Nye encouraged students to change the world through science. To deliver this message, Nye talked about a multitude of issues the world is facing today, such as renewable energy.

“It turns out there’s enough energy in the United States in wind, solar and tides, and to a limited extent geothermal energy, to power North America: Canada, Mexico, US, many times over, some estimates are five times over…,” Nye said.

He also focused on two of his more recent media appearances in regards to his stance against creationism: his controversial video for Big Think, and his debate with creationist Ken Ham.

“If you’re out there and you think that the Earth is 6,000 years old, knock yourself out,” Nye said. “But don’t make students believe that because it’s obviously wrong, and we need students to change the world.”

Students wait in line to hear Bill Nye’s lecture.//Photo by Thomas Delgado

He made the claim that it is inconceivable that millions of people can watch those videos and believe that creationism is real opposed to evolution.

Nye also made statements regarding the denial of climate change.

“The deniers have to be skated off the play. In football, we would block them. In baseball, we would tag them out. In politics, we would not vote for them.”

Nye stated that he does not care peoples’ political affiliations nor their political philosophies, but urged that voters consider climate change when elections come around.

“When it’s time for you to vote, I’m asking you to take climate change into account,” he said.

What seemed to get the biggest reaction from the audience came at the end where Nye shifted the direction of the lecture towards space exploration, the New Horizons mission to Pluto, water on Mars and what Nye referred to as “…our place in space.”

“Everywhere we look on Earth and we find water, there are living things,” Nye said. “Everywhere on Earth. It’s not crazy to suggest — it’s extraordinary — but it’s not crazy to suggest there once were living things on Mars.”

On the topic of the possibility of life being on Mars, Nye remarked that he did not want to wait for people to find out, he wanted for us all to know about it now.

At the end of the lecture, Nye reiterated the key point of the lecture that he kept referencing throughout it; “With your brains, you can, dare I say it, change the world!”

Nye’s new book “Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World” will be available on Nov. 10.

Featured image by Thomas Delgado

Edited by Jessica Carr

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