'Science Guy' encourages students to change world

Wednesday, April 4, 2012
'Bill Nye the Science Guy' speaks to a crowd of around 3000 Tuesay night, April 3, 2012 during the final 2011-2012 Southeast Missouri State University speaker series at the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau. (Laura Simon)

"The Science Guy" wants students to observe the world around them and seize opportunities they find.

"With the joy of discovery, understanding your place in space, with this understanding you can -- dare I say it? -- change the world," Bill Nye told about 2,500 people Tuesday at the Show Me Center.

Nye holds patents for designs on a magnifying glass made of water and improved ballet shoes. While working on "Almost Live," where "Bill Nye the Science Guy" was created, Nye won seven Emmy Awards for writing, performing and producing. The show went on to win 28 Emmys during its five-year run on syndicated television. Nye's accomplishments include hosting Science Channel's "The 100 Greatest Discoveries" and PBS's "The Eyes of Nye." Nye is the author of five children's books, most recently "Bill Nye's Great Big Book of Tiny Germs."

He began Tuesday by talking about his father being on Wake Island on Dec. 7, 1941, and ultimately being taken prisoner by the Japanese. After being a prisoner of war for 44 months, his father returned home with a fascination for sun dials.

The fascination was passed on because the younger Nye has been a lifelong sundial enthusiast. He worked extensively to set up and promote the EarthDial Project, a set of sundials around the world linked together through the World Wide Web.

He worked on the two Mars Dials that are on Mars and on one more on its way that will land on Mars on Aug. 8.

On the Nye Labs website there are instructions you can download for building your own Mars Dial.

Karen Vivet came with her children, Thierry, 9, and Joshua, 6, from St. Louis.

"They began reading at an early age, and just really love science," Karen said. "They both want to be scientists."

Both boys are homeschooled. They all really like Bill Nye so she Googled his name and found out he was going to be in Cape Girardeau.

"It was 122.2 miles away," 6-year-old Joshua said, adding, "I love chemistry."

This was the final presentation of the Southeast Missouri State University's 2011-2012 Speaker Series. University president Ken Dobbins told the crowd they are already working on the speakers for the next series. The one guest he could confirm for next April is Animal Planet host Jeff Corwin.

"I thought it was real good," Larry Hendershott of Burfordville said of Nye's presentation. "My boy's a scientist, and I'm a biologist. Thought it was good."

Pertinent address:

1333 N. Sprigg St., Cape Girardeau MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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