Bill Nye, the College-Frenzy Guy

To the credit of his wild fans, Nye did give a pretty compelling lecture on the "serious biz" of climate change. For global warming doubters, he talked about how his work with ice cores convinced him the Earth is getting warmer at a pretty scary rate.


And, cleverly disguised behind his wit and jocularity (he's a lot funnier than I remember), Nye implored the audience to embrace new technologies that could help save the planet. They ate it up. By the end of the night, he had everyone repeating his mantra: "We can change the world!"


I would usually shudder at the thought of a two-hour science lecture, but I have to admit, Nye was pretty cool. Science rules!

A frenetic energy pulsed through the line of people wrapped around the second floor of USF's Marshall Student Center the other night, complete with crazed college-age fans squealing in delight as they discussed the man they were about to watch.

Some major celebrity? No. Just a person that these students grew up with. A trusted TV friend. The white-jacketed brainiac who taught us how to create an exploding volcano out of some baking soda and vinegar.

That's right: It was Bill Nye, the Science Guy.

About 800 people jam-packed the Marshall Center Ballroom to see the University Lecture Series speaker on Tuesday night, and another 500 overflowed into a separate room where the lecture was being broadcast live. At first, sitting five or six rows from the stage, I felt like I was attending a tween-infested Hannah Montana concert, not a lecture by one of America's most famous geeks. (My friend, a self-proclaimed biologist, informed me that Nye truly is a "diva" in his own right.)

In anticipation of the Science Guy, there was clapping, stomping, chanting ("Bill! Bill! Bill!" "Nye! Nye! Nye!") and a few kids in the second row started The Wave. But the loud, stadium-style antics didn't hide the fact that the audience was primarily composed of hardcore science nerds. Every time Nye mentioned a particular profession, 10-20 kids would "Woo!" in support. (Losers for the night: Physicists, who got a big yell from only one really geeky guy. Really, it was kind of sad.)

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