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Scientist and Comedian, Bill Nye "the Science Guy” is next UTPA Distinguished Speaker
By By Christy Mendoza, Writer/Intern, Office of Public Affairs
(956) 665-2741
Posted: 03/07/2014
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Scientist, engineer, comedian, author and inventor, Bill Nye, will be the next presenter in The University of Texas-Pan American’s Distinguished Speakers series April 1 at 7:30 p.m. at the UTPA Fieldhouse.


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For most of his life, Nye has entertained and helped many people, young and old, to have a better understanding and appreciation for the science that makes our world function. Through humor and insightful presentation, Nye is committed to help promote a scientifically literate society.

While growing up in Washington, D.C., Nye discovered his talent for making complicated subjects interesting and fun. As a popular high school tutor, Nye spent his afternoons and summers de-mystifying math and science for his classmates. His favorite hobby was taking apart his bicycle and then reassembling the parts just to investigate how simple machines would operate.

Nye’s early fascination and curiosity with mechanics led him to Cornell University, in Ithaca, N.Y., where he obtained a degree in mechanical engineering. After graduation, Nye headed to Seattle, Wash. to join the Boeing engineering team.

It was in Seattle that Nye’s passion for science collided with his flair for comedy. After winning a Steve Martin look-alike contest, Nye became engineer extraordinaire by day and stand-up comic by night.

His comedic talent and science background opened up a unique opportunity as a writer and performer on a local Seattle-based ensemble comedy show "Almost Live" – the laboratory that created the lab coat and bow-tie scientist “Bill Nye the Science Guy.” By popular demand, Nye appeared on "Saturday Night Live" and later on Comedy Central. The "Science Guy" show first landed a regular weekend spot on PBS then went on to air five nights a week and in syndication up to seven days a week.

While working on the "Science Guy" show, Nye won seven national Emmy awards for performing, writing, and producing. In his spare time, Nye also dabbled in children’s literature and published five science books for kids. In addition to his television success, Nye is the vice president of the Planetary Society, the world’s largest space-interest group. He holds two honorary doctorate degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York and Goucher College in Baltimore, Md.

Nye also hosted "The 100 Greatest Discoveries" on the Science Channel, "The Eyes of Nye" on PBS, and "Stuff Happens" on Planet Green. Nye recently garnered national attention with his debate with Ken Hamm, the founder of the Creation Museum. The controversial debate sparked almost as much media attention as Nye’s participation in season 17 of ABC’s "Dancing with the Stars" show in October 2013.

In addition, Nye is an inventor of two patents on educational products and a world-renowned speaker about space exploration.

The Distinguished Speaker Series offers students and the University community the opportunity to hear and engage speakers of the highest caliber who inform and inspire. Now in its 10th year, the series is underwritten by student fees as recommended by the Student Affairs Advisory Committee.

A Distinguished Speakers Series committee composed of faculty, staff and students select speakers who represent a variety of worldviews and backgrounds.

Past speakers have included former leader of Russia Mikhail Gorbachev, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, author and civil rights activist Dr. Maya Angelou and Emmy-award winning CNN host Larry King.

This event is free and open to the public with seating available to 1,500 persons. Doors will open at 7 p.m. for UTPA students, faculty and staff with a valid UTPA ID and at 7:20 p.m. for the general public. Overflow seating will be held in the Student Union Theater.

Nye's presentation will also be streamed live at utpa.edu/live.

For more information or special accommodations, call (956) 665-7989.