Bill Nye, known for his television show Bill Nye the Science Guy, spoke to a full Bovard Auditorium on Tuesday night about climate and global changes with his signature humor.
During the lecture, Nye fainted but woke up shortly after.
“What happened? How long was I out?” Nye said after standing up. “Wow, that was crazy. I feel like Lady Gaga or something.”
Though Nye was visibly shaken, leaning on the podium for support and eventually sitting down, he finished his lecture.
“The joy of discovery, my friends, is what science is all about,” Nye said.
Nye discussed mainly climate change and the issue of rapid global warming, but drew on examples from the climate of Venus to North Dakota windmills.
“This is not, as I like to say, rocket surgery. This is people not paying attention to what’s going on,” Nye said.
Addressing the audience as the “climate change generation,” Nye presented students with facts and solutions for the current climate situation and emphasized students’ abilities to change the world, particularly through technology.
“You guys can invent technology that could — dare I say it? — change the world,” Nye told the audience.
Nye balanced the lecture with humor and facts. Nye spoke in dramatic voices and one-liners, reminiscent of his popular television show.
Audience members applauded Nye for resuming his lecture after fainting.
“He kept trying to finish his speech though it was clear he was really woozy, and he did finish from a chair. What a trooper,” said Pierre Tasci, a sophomore majoring in engineering.
After the lecture, the audience gave a standing ovation and chanted “Bill,” a tribute to his show’s theme song.
Bill Nye the Science Guy, ran on PBS from 1993 to 1997. The popular show aimed at teaching different scientific concepts to its audience.
“I remember the little episodes; it was all do-it-yourself, [so] you didn’t need a kit. I remember the funny voices he did, his kid helpers, the cool sets he had … I wondered how things worked, and he explained it,” Sidhom said.
Corrine Tom, a junior majoring in biomedical engineering, said she would love to have Nye as a professor, and enjoyed his lecture.
“I thought it was really awesome; really seeing him in person was wonderful,” Tom said.
“[The lecture] was interesting — he brought in a lot of stuff from the show, like quirky voices. It was really cool to see one of my childhood heroes,” Sam Lin, a senior majoring in biomedical engineering, said.
The event was organized by the USG Program Board’s Speakers Committee and Academic Culture Assembly. Nye’s lecture lasted about 45 minutes, but the question-and-answer session was cancelled because of concerns about his health.
Some students lined up more than five hours before the doors opened just to see Nye speak.
“I love Bill Nye. He taught me English … and science, too. I’m ready, front and center,” Richard Sidhom, a freshman majoring in philosophy, policy, and law.
Sidhom was the first student in line, arriving at Bovard at 1:45 p.m.
Arya Shah, a freshman majoring in neuroscience, had been in line since 3:30 p.m.
“He’s my hero. My dad used to tape all his shows for me,” Shah said. “I loved him.”
Program Board organizers said Nye fainted because of exhaustion, but was not taken to the hospital.
“He’s doing fine,” said Frank Chen, director of Program Board’s Academic Culture Assembly. “He’s OK right now.”