[APPLAUSE] MARTHA POLLACK: Good afternoon. Thank you for your patience. This is so popular that we've also filled Call Auditorium, so we're waiting for everybody to stream in there, and we're livestreaming this. So it's great.
For those of you who I haven't met yet, I'm Martha Pollack, I'm the new president of Cornell, and it is my real--
It really is my pleasure to welcome you to Bailey Hall for this very special event, which was organized by the fabulous class of 1977--
--to welcome their classmate Bill Nye back to campus. Bill Nye, as I think everybody knows, is a scientist, an engineer, a comedian, an author, and an inventor, someone whose mission in life is to help people everywhere understand and appreciate the science that makes our world work. Most of us know him as Bill Nye the Science Guy, from his Emmy-award-winning show on PBS that we and our children grew up with.
When Bill's classmates discovered that he was planning to attend his 40th Cornell reunion, they worked with him to put together an event that everyone at the reunion and our online audience could enjoy. So again let's give the class of 1977 another round of applause.
Making science entertaining and accessible as a way to promote science literacy and create a better future is something that Bill Nye has been doing for most of his life. Even in high school, he enjoyed tutoring others in math when he wasn't taking apart his bicycle to see how it worked. Studying mechanical engineering at Cornell and then working as an engineer at Boeing were ways to extend those interests. But after winning a Steve Martin lookalike contest-- I don't see it, but maybe you will--
--Bill took up a second career, working at Boeing by day and as a stand-up comic by night. Eventually he quit his day job to host Bill Nye the Science Guy on PBS, which has won 18 Emmys in five years.
Following in the tradition of Carl Sagan, who was his astronomy professor here at Cornell, Bill is one of today's most beloved science communicators, someone able to share the PB&J-- that's passion, beauty, and joy-- of math and science with people everywhere. He's done it not only on TV, but also in books for children and general audiences, through a series on Netflix, through his work as the CEO of the Planetary Society, and by speaking around the country, including at the March for Science in Washington earlier this spring. In fact, I have to tell you there were a-- yeah.
If you watched the march on TV or read it in the newspaper, there were a number of really great signs, but my absolute favorite was, "Without science, Bill Nye would just be a guy".
At Cornell, Bill Nye served as a Frank H.T. Rhodes class of '56 university professor for several years, connecting directly with our students, faculty, and the wider public. In 2012, when he was on campus for his 35th reunion, he helped us dedicate a four meter solar noon clock on Rhodes Hall, which he designed and funded as a tribute to his parents.
The clock includes a special light catching feature that enables it to mark the time each day that the sun is at its highest point, even in cloudy Ithaca whether. It's become a popular feature of campus tours and is yet another way that Bill Nye has brought his fascination with science to broader audiences.
Finally, as some of you know, Bill also teamed up with Professor Steve Squyres and others a while back to equip the famous Mars rovers with Mars dials, tiny sundials that help to calibrate the rover's panoramic cameras. He and Squyres talked a bit about this work during Cornell's sesquicentennial charter weekend celebration in 2015.
I watched the video of that event recently, and it was really inspiring. One of the things that stuck with me was the message they engraved on those Mars dials as a way to let future Mars explorers know why the rovers had come, and to wish them a safe journey, and, quote, "the joy of discovery". To Bill Nye and to so many of us who have experienced it, the joy of discovery is the essence of the scientific enterprise.
We are so pleased to have him here to share the joy of discovery with us during this reunion weekend. Please join me in welcoming Bill Nye, Cornell class of 1977, and our favorite science guy, back to campus.
BILL NYE: Oh, wow! Oh, look at you guys, wow! Wow! Whoa! Gee whiz, OK, wow. Thank you, thank you.
Thank you all so much. Thank you. Welcome, people in Bailey Hall and people watching in Call Hall, and people on the electronic internet around the world. I am honored to be here. People said, are you coming back to your 40th reunion? Yes, are you kidding? And I was really excited about this until just a few minutes ago.
No, no, a guy came up to me and said, is Bill Nye your real name?
I said, well, it's William Nye.
William Nye. Why did you change it?
So you guys, I'm-- before we even start-- just very excited that we have a president again. This is fabulous.
Martha, welcome. I see people of all ages. I'll just tell you how I started out. I was recruited at Carpenter Hall by a manager at Boeing, and I worked on 747 airplanes. Don't worry, I was very well supervised. If you're ever on one, relax. But I worked on Air Force One, the actual plane, 40 years ago.
And the one thing I do know, I met the pilots and they said they can't get spare parts for it anymore, the plane is so old. Like me.
So, everybody, what happened was I got a job at Boeing. I started to, like so many mechanical engineers, I started doing stand up comedy.
And one thing led to another and I was trying to do science education on the NBC affiliate in Seattle. NBC-- Seattle, rather, is in King County, Washington.
King County, Pacific Northwest, Seattle rule-- yes. And so I had this idea to do this kid's show, and Carl Sagan was a professor here, for some people who don't know.
Came through Seattle, he came through Seattle to the Skeptics Conference. Are there any hardcore skeptics here, any-- right on. These are people who do not believe in UFOs. People who are waiting for some proof of ghosts, will buy the haunted house anyway. And so I said to him, Professor Sagan, I'm sure you remember me. No, not really, thank you. But I said, I want to do this kid show. He said, kids resonate to pure science. That was the verb he used. I had heard him-- after he told me that, I went, that is the key. Kids resonate to pierce science.
Now for those of you here who for some reason are not mechanical engineers and did not take control systems, the word resonate probably means something to you. But to the rest of us, man, it's like-- that is the hilarious inside joke ever. I can't even tell you. But that one comment from this one professor led to the whole thing, you guys. And one thing led to another, I met some people, we started doing the Science Guy show.
And it really was a pivotal time. I took one class. I took Astronomy 102 when I was a senior. See, unlike you guys, I went to Cornell because of a mistake, because of a clerical error in the admissions department.
And nobody noticed for all that time. Ha ha ha ha ha. No, the people I went to school with were so freaking smart. You guys have this feeling? There's no way I could get into Cornell today. Yeah, like what am I even doing here?
So if you're not aware of this, a colleague of ours found this quote from President White. "To afford an asylum for science where truth shall be sought for truth's sake." My friends, there has never been a time in my recollection when this idea is more important.
Guys, you guys, wow. You know, this really is, any person can find instruction in any study, it's really a worthy and wonderful thing. And I say this all the time. Cornell changed my life. For those of you who are working on your Cornell degree right now, it will be worth more the day you graduate than it is-- it will be worth more two days after you graduate than the day you graduate. It really is an amazing gift that we are given.
Oh, thank you. If you're not sure. So Carl Sagan talked all the time about what he called comparative planetology. And this, everybody, was 40 years ago, where he compared the climate of Venus with the climate of Mars with the climate of the Earth. And you don't have to get into too much detail.
Venus is so hot. How hot is it? Thank you. It's so hot that your fishing weights would melt on the Venusian surface. We had to come up with the word Venusian, by the way, because in the 19th century, an adjective having the characteristics of or pertaining to the planet Venus was Venerial.
We had to-- it really was. Don't shoot the messenger here, people. So when you compare the Venusian climate to the terrestrial climate to the Martian climate, this is the only place you want to be.
And for those of you who want to go colonize Mars, just a minute, OK? Tell you what. Go to Antarctica for a couple of years. And don't cheat, you've got to take your own air. Because you go to Mars, you will notice that right away. There's no food. There's no water and
So the Earth is it. And so Professor Sagan and his colleagues talked about this 40 years ago. And so the world's climate, the Earth's climate is changing. And there's two reasons for it.
The first one, I call reason number one.
Four years, people.
And reason number one is the atmosphere is extraordinarily thin. The Earth's atmosphere is so thin. How thin is it? If you could drive straight up for an hour at highway speed-- around here, I guess it would be more like 45 minutes, highway speed-- you'd be in outer space. And so you can't even see the atmosphere from space. It looks like this picture is out of focus, but that's just the air.
And then the other reason which I call reason number two, is the people. I went to the World's Fair in New York, New York, the town so nice they named it twice, in 1965. To my classmates, I was only nine. Many of you were 10, but I was nine.
Because I, born in November, I got a few months on-- yes, check me out. There were fewer than three billion people in the world, and my family had just missed this big total board, this United Nations thing that showed the population of the world. It changed from 2,999,999,999 people to three billion people just a few hours before we got there. Well, as of this morning, everybody, in my lifetime, we now have almost 7.4 billion people.
So that's it, you guys. The atmosphere is thin, and there's just a lot of people running around, breathing, and burning it. And it's led to some changes. If you don't believe me, I say do what I did. Go to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. It's on your way, really, not to a lot of places. But this is one of the Kangerlussuaq glaciers in the formation there, and this part, everybody, really, this is not rocket surgery. You can see that the glacier is receding.
So are there any professors here? I just want-- Madam President, I just want you to know if you take this and do this, it doesn't help.
There's no more information. See that right there, see? No, I really don't, no I don't see.
But last summer I got on an Air Force plane with some other people and we went to the middle of the ice sheet in Greenland. Now this is, everybody, you watch Naked and Afraid, you watch Survivor. OK, the situation here, it's not like you're going to make a bow and arrow and kill something to eat. There is nothing. There's not a thing. You look this way, everywhere, 400 kilometers, 250 miles, there is not a thing. It's ice, just ice.
And everything that's there gets there on one of these planes, and for people from my class, the plane we flew in was certified, the nameplate, the boiler plate was from 1978. So the guys flying it were born way after the plane was built. Nothing to worry about, just everything should be OK.
So what we do, especially Universe of Copenhagen, University of Colorado, they dig a big trench with the kind of bulldozer you'd have at a ski resort. They inflate a giant hot-dog-shaped vinyl balloon, then they snow blow the snow back on top of the balloon, deflate the balloon, and you end up with this under-ice cave. It looks like Mr. Freeze, like some Batman villain, but it's populated by humans, but you don't recognize them because they have all those clothes on.
But then they drill into the ice. And they pull up these cylinders of ice all day. And we were there for the very beginning, the start of the third borehole. And this is a big deal. They only start one of these every 10 years or so. But when you look at the ice, you can see the little bubbles in the ice.
Now everybody, what would you be doing if you weren't-- yes, it's upsetting.
What would you be doing if you weren't here? That's right, you'd be watching CSI Corning. Do they have that yet? Do they have-- is there a CSI Corning? Anyway, there's nobody running around on the ice sheet with a hypodermic needle squirting bubbles into the ancient ice a couple hundred meters down. It's just, no. When you pull these pieces of ice up, that's it. That's the evidence.
The bubbles are the ancient atmosphere trapped between the tines of the snowflakes. The water molecules have a certain number of neutrons on their oxygen atoms. We run them through a mass spectrometer like you have in your car, and you can figure out how warm the sea surface was that made the cloud that made the snowflakes that made the ice. This is it. There's no other way for the ice to get there and have that number of neutrons and those bubbles trapped in it.
And soon this led to the creation of the famous-- I hope-- famous for everyone hockey stick graph where the world's temperature is going along about the same for centuries, and in the last 250 years since the Industrial Revolution and humans started burning coal, has gotten warm really fast like the blade of a hockey stick, or an extraordinary hockey stick where it's really fast. And that's the time in which we're living. This is the hand we're dealt.
Now you could run in circles screaming.
But that is largely ineffective. It's not going to do much. Oh, by the way, or BT dubs, as the kids say, Professor Sagan along with, especially, Jim Pollack, was working on the same sort of climate model in 1980. And all the climate models that we have, computer models that we have now, really are kind of the same. They address the same fundamental ideas.
I mean, say what you will about Professor Sagan, but he was really ahead of his time. He was really a remarkable guy, and it was an honor to take his class. But with all this over-- oh, this is, by the way, this is the idea of nuclear winter, which was the idea that if you set off enough nuclear weapons the world would get cool because you'd create this cloud of dust. People dismissed it as a silly idea until Walter and Louis Alvarez found this layer of iridium metal around the Earth and realized it was from an asteroid impact. I make this sound. I think the asteroid impact was actually quite a bit louder than that.
And for those who aren't into this, this is where the ejected material, the eject air from this impact would be bigger across than the diameter of the Earth. So there is no evidence that the ancient dinosaurs had a space program.
If they did, I guess they would have done something differently. And maybe they did and they were unsuccessful, but how could they-- it's just really complicated.
So a couple years ago, I got involved in this debate with a guy-- I spent time with him. I thought maybe he was just in on the joke or something, but he really believes the earth is 6,000 years old. Like he's crazy for it. He's serious. And as of this morning, this thing has had almost 6.2 million views. Are you telling me there are 6.2 million people who think the Earth might be 6,000 years old? Are they running the US government now?
OK, hang on. Hang on. So for those of you who are watching the electric internet machine the next morning, this went all over the place. Bill Nye Science Lie. If only Bill Nye weren't here, everything would be fine.
But along with this extraordinary worldview that the earth could somehow be 6,000 years old, what's really not good, which is really-- religion or traditional beliefs not involved, nothing about philosophy, just, this is not good. The same guy insists that global climate change is not happening, that the world is not getting warmer. And he is a very influential guy.
And here in the United States we have no shortage of these people who are climate deniers, and they are in governments around the United States. I don't know if you know Scott Walker he will not talk about climate change, nor will he talk about evolution if a reporter asks him. Governor of Florida Rick Scott will not permit anyone on his staff to use the phrase climate change. That'll do it. That's great. Just don't talk about it.
And if you know--is anybody from Oklahoma? No Oklahomans? I've spent a lot of time there. It's beautiful. Anyway, that's the guy who found a snowball, and thought that means that there is no climate change. But extraordinarier than that is the head of the EPA is a climate denier, and wait, there's more, the head of the most powerful country in the world--
--is a climate change denier. So everybody, this is an extraordinary time. I'm a mechanical engineer. I mean, I'm human. Many of you attended school with me may not have been sure, but-- I took, we take a lot of science. It's not that we want everybody to become some sort of climate physicist. We just want people to be scientifically literate enough to evaluate evidence. And this is just the most important thing going. Thank you.
So if any of you watched the debate, if you're among the 6.2 million people, the question that just hit home came from a journalist who lives in Tennessee, right by Vanderbilt University. And she said what, if anything, would change your mind? And if you watched the debate, Mr. Hamm said nothing. Nothing would change his mind. He's set. He's good.
Whereas in science, and I hope with a fabulous liberal arts education that you might get at an outstanding university where any person can find instruction in any study, you would say, well, evidence would change my mind. If I found evidence that the world is cooling, that would be cool and I would embrace that. However, if I find evidence that the world is getting warmer, I get concerned.
So among the many extraordinary experiences I've had as a result of working on television, I was in a bit with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
This is where I was suffering from climate change denial and Dr. Schwarzenegger was my therapist. And I said, climate change, no, that's not even a thing. He said, it is a thing. And then, you guys, if you saw this, I got to say, on camera, I got to say, I'll be back.
So it was charming. He was really good. But for some reason, even though that television show's been on once, there still climate change deniers. It's weird. You'd think that one show would do it. So what's going on is something I learned, I believe in psychology 201, and this is our good friend the fox. If you know the fox there is very interested for nutritional reasons in the grapes. But he can't reach, or she, can't reach the grapes, so the fox decides, well, the grapes got to be sour. That's it. I'm good. I'm good, the grapes are sour, everything's fine. Don't have to worry about the grapes. If I just say to myself, they're sour, everything's fine. And this, just to refresh you all, is cognitive dissonance.
Now I wouldn't want to be here without presenting some sort of chart with the triangle. It's just a big-- for me, it's a big psychology tradition. So you have the denier's brain, and anterior cingulate cortex is where you make decisions, especially where you deal with conflict. So just to refresh you guys, we'll have either the climate just could not possibly be changing as fast, that's ridiculous, or the climate really is changing. And you have this conflict in your mind and so that gets, just to refresh you, that gets a negative sign. Then if you look at the one on the right-- one on the left, I mean to say, there's a difference, because these two things are in conflict, they get a minus sign. But then these two things, the denying and the climate could not possibly be changing, those are self-consistent so they get a positive sign.
So then we can multiply negative times negative times positive, and we get positive. And we get a big thumbs up. And we're happy. But then, if you are an acceptor of climate change, or an acceptrix, for you Latin scholars, you have the same conflict. The climate could not be changing, climate is changing. But then you have this conflict between what you think and what you see. But then if you accept it, and the climate really is changing, then you get a positive. So then, look, it's positive times minus comes up positive. Thumbs up, smiley face, yes!
So you guys, this is what we're dealing with, is we have people who are running the show right now who have this cognitive dissonance. And instead of accepting climate change and getting to work, they're pretending it's not happening. And this, I claim, and this is not an extraordinary claim, the days of this are numbered.
So this is a map of the US. I did not compile it. It's from our good friends at Survey Monkey. Which is-- so everybody, to the young people here, what are you guys? You're class of 2012 or something?
Every day I come to work and the communications team will come to me with two more words concatenated, hooked together, and say that's the new thing. That's the new software. Green Fern. Oh, bill, you haven't read Green Fern? You haven't read Pointer Thing? Well, Survey Monkey. Oh yeah, Survey Monkey, right, oh sure. I know Survey Monkey.
So this is a map of the US if only millennials had voted. If only the young people had voted.
Well, you can applaud, but here's the deal, everybody. Here is what we got to work on. We are the coastal elites. Yes. I got to get a, what do you get, a business card. Yes. But in my case, it really was a result of a mistake. It was a clerical error, admissions.
But the coastal elites are spoken of derisively, but has anybody read Hillbilly Elegy? Right on. Now I don't want to do a talk at Cornell without making reference to a book you should have read. So there's also a summary of Hillbilly Elegy.
And JD Vance, who grew up in Kentucky and then Ohio, and then went to Ohio State, and then managed to go to Yale Law School, which I understand is pretty good. Then he had this life-changing experience and he expressed the frustration of people who feel disenfranchised, people who feel that they have no control over their fate, over their employment, over the future. And those are the people that we have to include. We have to work together to get the country, the United States, especially, united again. Because we can't, in my opinion, which as you know, is usually correct, we can't continue to exclude people. We have to bring people together. And so my proposal-- thank you.
Controversial statement. Wow, he was-- Bill Nye said we need to bring people-- I've never heard that. That is amazing. So I want to create among the young people of the future, Generation S for Science. Because I claim that science literacy will help us address objective truths and we will, dare I say it, save the world.
So there's three things we want for everybody on earth. Clean water, reliable electricity, renewably produced, and access to the world's information, to what we call the internet. I don't know what you guys are going to call it in 20 years from now. There was a time when it was called the electronic superhighway, the information superhighway. But a superhighway, that's a traffic jam. No, we need something better.
But if we can get these three things for everybody on earth, we will improve the quality of life for everyone. And I submit to you, there will be much less conflict. The world will be more peaceful and more productive. And we will not disenfranchise people and we will not have people suffering catastrophic displacements from climate change.
So when it comes to water, you guys, there's nobody better at water. I mean, we build dams, we move water all over the place. We move water all over the place in the US, in Canada, in the Middle East, there's a whole system of dams. We can do this. What we want to do is now address electricity, and for that we're going to have wind and solar. We're going to have electric vehicles.
That's me-- well, it's a picture of me, I'm over here-- driving my Chevy Bolt. It's an electric car, made in the US, that goes at least-- I mean, I've driven it as much as I can. It goes over 250 miles on a charge. But I've never run it down because it goes so far. Anyway, we want industrial-scale batteries, like maybe under this building we'd store electricity all day in subterranean battery places. And then we're going to have to revise the electrical grid, and then we're going to have nanotube carbon transmission lines that you guys are going to invent and make life really great.
So for people who say this can't be done, for people who say, Bill, this is a pipe dream, or a vape dream.
Hey, you guys, I played ultimate.
In the first year that we had intercollegiate ultimate, '73, '74, 1973, OK, you might look at me, 18? And you guys, the Buds, it's just not a good name. I love you all. But can we do better? All right, sorry, I've spoken. Wow, editorial comment, lose this crowd.
All right, so you say this can't possibly be done. I refer you to the Solutions Project. This is one example, the Solutions Project. This is an organization, civil engineers at Stanford, mostly at Stanford, that have done an analysis that shows we could power the United States right now-- right now, renewably, if we just decided to do it. So their proposal is we go renewable in the next 15 years, 80% renewable in the next 15 years, and 100% renewable 15 more or 20 years after that.
And the thing to notice, everybody, is there's almost 3 million jobs that would be created in the United States. Anybody from Texas?
10% of your electricity from the wind. Nobody from Oklahoma, well, I'll fill in, 20% from the wind. Iowa?
25% of your electricity comes from the wind at current prices, competing head to head with fossil fuels. Around the world, they extended the analysis, you could power the whole place if you just decided to do it. And if you go to their website, you can see the details of the analysis. Certain places have wind, certain places have sun, certain place have tidal energy, everybody's got some geothermal energy, and we could run the whole world.
And then when it comes to providing electronic information to everybody, we are going to need a system of satellites going at low altitude. And the word low altitude in satellite land means couple hundred miles over your head. But if you go all the way out to geosynchronous orbit where many communication satellites are, you lose too much time. It's like a second each way. and it's just, it would be unsatisfactory internet experience. Which you can get right here, by the way.
But we can do this. Everybody, we can do this. We can change the world. And I claim that Cornell-- and of course, I may be biased-- is ideally suited to this. That when we get out of Cornell, we have this liberal arts point of view, this rudimentary understanding of philosophy, of science, of language, that empowers us to do cool things in the world. And I am so thankful every day for my Cornell education.
And by way of example, my grandfather went into World War I on a horse. If I may, on a freaking horse.
And I guess he was skilled enough to ride around-- he put a gas mask on himself and a gas mask on his horse. Are there horse people here? There must be. I'm not a horse person, but look, the horse's gas mask doesn't have any eyes protection. That's horrible. Anyway, the whole thing was horrible, but I guess he could ride around at night around trenches and he lived through it. And that led to me being here. But before that, led to my mother being here.
This is a picture of y-- I know, yeah. This is a picture of my parents, and I hope you as Cornell graduates and soon-to-be Cornell graduates have the critical thinking skill to infer that my father went to Johns Hopkins.
Then my mom went to Goucher College, if anybody is from Baltimore. Yeah. So back then, Johns Hopkins was men only, and the sister school was another college called Goucher. And my mom would tell you, now it's coed, they let boys in and it's gone to hell. But back then that's what you did so, my dad was graduated and my mom was still in college when my dad had this great idea to build up their nest egg by taking a job working for the Navy. This was before the US Navy had the CBs, if you know this term, the construction crew which is part of the Navy now. In those days they hired contractors.
So he went to Wake Island, which is the middle of nowhere, Pacific Ocean. And because of the International Date Line, it was December 8 when they were bombed the same morning as December 7, and he spent four years as a prisoner of war. And if you guys get a chance to be a prisoner of war, I would not do it. I'd let it go. Sounds like it really sucked.
But meanwhile, the president-- rather, the dean of students at Goucher was Dorothy Stimson. And she happened to be the first cousin of Henry Stimson, who was the Secretary of War. So he, I guess, asked her, do you have any ladies that can come work on this thing? I can't tell you what it is. So my mom and several other gals from her graduating class were recruited to work on the Enigma code in World War II. And there she is.
So the story goes that she had been up all night, she was in summer uniform, and the other women showed up in the morning in winter uniform, and they took a picture. And it was clearly a very meaningful time in her life. When I was a little, little kid, I remember her uniforms hanging at the end of the closet. She was in the reserves for a little while.
But those days, everybody, the thing that really impressed me, in those days everybody was in on the war effort. Everybody was trying to win the war. All the music, all the posters, everything was about winning this global conflict, and they did in five years. I mean, I just don't think my dad and mom were in college going, you know, when I get out, I hope somebody writes a book about us and calls us the Greatest Generation. I mean, that wasn't the deal. They just showed up and they had to play the hand they were dealt, and they resolved a global conflict.
We can do this. We can address climate change and save the world.
Thank you, yes. As an aside, as an aside, my dad was a prisoner of war first in the mainland of China and then later the south island of Japan as Japanese military's influence shrank. So they very seldom did they have electricity, and he became fascinated with the night sky, and I apologize again for taking four years to take one flipping astronomy course, but I did, and anyway, he became fascinated with sundials.
So he invented the sand dial, which you take to the beach, so you don't have to get sand in your watch. Get it, sand dial, huh? That's brilliant, Dad, that is amazing. We're going to make dozens of dollars on this. It's going to be fantastic.
So he ended up writing articles about sun dials, and then when he wrote his book, Sundials of Maryland and Virginia, landmark work. He was given a lifetime membership in the North American Sundial Society. Anybody, anyone? If you go to a meeting, it's just like this. It's just--
People just watching the shadow. And this is from my dad's book. "And should the reader find himself looking for sundials in the snow, the author would like to meet him." In other words, if you've got the same sundial monkey on your back as I do, you know, we could hang out. It was his way of expressing that in his man of letters style.
So when we were here, class of '77, 1977, Rhodes Hall didn't exist. And then when it did exist, it was first called the Theory Center, and then later Rhodes Hall, named after our beloved Frank Rhodes, former president of the university. So I was raised with this sundial thing. I wasn't really aware of it the sundials are going on in the background. My dad is writing articles, he's making a bronze sundial for the backyard, he's talking with his sundial friends. This is before the internet, they would actually write letters. I'm sorry, this is-- it was a technology--
You could store information, it's hard to describe. It's plant-based. It's a long story. Quite while ago.
Just trying to help you out here. But I would walk by that place, as the president pointed out. I became, mostly because of Jim Bell, Dr. Jim Bell, who is an astronomer here, who sat in Carl Sagan's office on the third floor of Space Sciences, celebration of cinder block, and I became a Frank H.T. Rhodes visiting professor for five years. And every year, every semester, I'd come here for a week and I'd walk by this building.
And I looked at it and looked at it. I thought, that thing needs a clock, people. And so as the grateful alumnus and 13 years of negotiation with the development office, I was able to get this clock designed. Now some of the criteria, for those of you who have not stopped to think about this. I wanted to have a big slit, if you will, an opening, an aperture on the roof of Rhodes Hall so when the sun came over, the light would come down the aperture onto the front of the clock and light it up. Wouldn't that be cool?
Well, I did some calculations on your lumens, for you optics buffs, and the thing would have to be 20 meters-- 60 feet long, which was prohibitive. But the other great joyous thing, you know, as a mechanical engineer, it meant that we could put in a mechanism, yeah, man! So what happens every day at solar noon-- the president referred to this-- this is when the sun is highest in the sky. Any astronomers here? The verb they use is when the sun culminates. It's an old navigation word. When the sun culminates, that's when I wanted the sun-like thing to light up, right there.
Right there. So I went to Cincinnati. There's two companies that make outdoor clocks. One of them is Verdon in Cincinnati and the other one is The Electric Time Company in Medfield, Massachusetts. I went to Verdon, I said, I've got this idea, I want this thing-- oh, oh, we can't. That's-- a thing that opens? We can't do that. No, we make clocks. No, no, no. But we got the Cornell engineering students, especially with Professor Louge and Professor Williamson sitting right here, and--
Thanks, you guys. I mean, I'm going to exaggerate a little bit, but Verdon couldn't do it. Engineering students with what, five pizzas on Friday evening, by Sunday morning they had it kind of working. And then a few weeks later, they made a real nice box and it's up there. And I went up onto the parking structure today, and that's it lit up today at 1:05:33. The light from the sun goes through a tube on to the front of the clock. And if you go to the webcam, you can see it. It's kind of washed out. We've got to recalibrate-- got to recalibrate that cam,
And it's just something that means something to me, you guys. So if you're ever walking by there-- in daylight savings time, instead of it being around noon, it's around 1:00, but the thing gets-- the clock gets its signals from outer space, and it is within less than a second all the time. And it has this fabulous bearing material, guaranteed for over 100 years, this lutron plastic. It's really amazing.
And so if you're ever walking by, this clock is absolutely accurate. I tell you. And I hope you go by someday at solar noon and notice the thing. It's in honor of my parents, who enabled me-- who enabled me to come here and work so hard to celebrate academic achievement and get me into Cornell. And earlier this week, Professor Louge, I guess, also has a bit of a monkey on his back. He recorded it opening. It's fun to watch, see, because it simulates, as though the sun were going over as an opening, an aperture, it opens a little bit for three minutes, then it's really bright, and then it closes again.
All right, before we go, it's time, if I may, for a couple shameless plugs. I have another book coming out this summer, July 10, called Everything All At Once, How Nerds Solve Problems. That's us. Now, I'll just tell you, there will be 20 books in a carton. They make great gifts.
Labor Day is coming up.
Stuff like that. But has anybody here written a book? See, most-- some people, the people who tried to write it are dead. So they didn't-- you guys, it's just like-- is there any dentists here? I'm not-- I mean, it's like pulling teeth. But I'm very proud of it. I want you to check it out. And in the book, you will find a couple of my own sketches. This is the upside down pyramid of design, which I've talked about in engineering lectures here from time to time over the years.
And my claim is, this is the most important part, down there at the vertex. This is where you should spend some time. Because this is where there are just a few people involved, and what they decide to do is going to affect everything else. So if we're designing a car there's the car designers then there's the guys who-- the people that buy material--oh, here, sorry. People that buy material, metal and tires and stuff, and there's people who assemble it, and then there's this mythic thing called marketing, which is where they just hemorrhage cash. It just goes crazy.
Now, if you watch television, how many car commercials-- how many cars does our society need? My goodness, it's competitive. But my claim is making a TV show goes the same way, really. You have the idea for the show, and then you got to hire the crew, then you got to build the sets and you've got to send them all over the place. And then there's marketing. And so the process is really the same, and I have a chapter about that, if you're still awake. It's in there.
And that's like an important big idea to me, which I learned, really, when I went out into industry. If only I had known about it when I was writing papers in college. But that's sort of the unimportant part. The important part is about knots.
And you guys, who am I? I'm the happiest guy in the world. And my shoes are tied with the same knot as the knot on my bow tie. But I see many of you, about half of you, tie your shoe with a granny knot where it's not symmetrical, the forces aren't balanced.
I'll be all right. But you guys, this is just stuff I put in the book and I hope you enjoy it. Then, continuing the shameless plug, the three things I want for everybody in the world is clean water, reliable electricity, access to the internet. So when I was a kid, I had Tom Swift Jr. Anybody have Tom Swift Jr? Older reference, lost on many of the younger listeners, but this was like the Hardy boys, but Tom Swift was a kid that had these-- he had Tom Swift and his flying lab, Tom Swift and his outpost in space, Tom Swift and his megascope projector, and perhaps my favorite, Tom Swift and his diving sea copter.
But all that aside, I want to have the same experience for young people. Nowadays, people called chapter books for kids. And I met this guy the way you, if you're looking for a co-author, you go surfing. That's what you do. So I met this guy, Greg Moon, who started talking to me. Can anybody here surf? I can't really surf. I want to learn. Bucket list thing. I'm not even 62. I want to learn.
But Greg Moon, I think, could go all the way around me on a wave. I mean, he's a young guy. But anyway, I work with him and we've written these books. The first one, they discover a way-- they go to Antarctica and they discover a way to desalinate sea water. I don't want to give too much away. On the second one they go to Hawaii and they use the second law of thermodynamics to generate electricity. Who doesn't love the second law of thermodynamics?
No, for those of you who don't know the second law of thermodynamics, it's the one about entropy, about energy spreading out. You could say, if it were a philosophy class, it's about existentialism. Life is really hard and then you die. That's what the second law of thermodynamics is about
So then the third one, the second one comes out this fall. The third one will come out next spring, and that'll be about access to the internet when they're in the jungle. Then, you guys, this crew followed me around for two years, and there's a documentary film made about me. And if it makes you feel any better, it's very unsettling to watch. It's just like, wow, I'm really an idiot, and they followed me around. And then last , year we did 13 Bill Nye Saves the World episodes with the intent being to save the world.
So that's enough with the self-promotion, almost. When we were here as juniors, no, when we were-- I was joking. When we were here as seniors, Carl Sagan was on The Tonight Show quite regularly. And he would come into class and, does anybody here-- was anybody there? We would whistle
(SINGING "THE TONIGHT SHOW THEME")
The old-- sorry, Johnny Carson was the host of The Tonight Show.
It was a long time ago. There were people alive then, and there was television. Surprising. But he talked to Johnny Carson about this extraordinary spacecraft. This mission, as we call it in the business, to push a spacecraft through space with sunlight. But wait, Bill, light has no mass. How can it have momentum? It does, OK? Sorry, man. Light has momentum.
39 years ago, so for those of you-- got this little bit of a story. I got a letter in the mail-- a letter, in the mail, and I joined the Planetary Society in 1980. And we looked it up. I am a charter member. I was asked to speak at Carl Sagan's memorial service in 1997. At that event, I was asked to be on the board of the Planetary Society.
Well, you guys know Neil deGrasse Tyson, right?
He's on the board. And he is really into wine. I'm not kidding. He's got a spreadsheet, he's got thousands-- there might be some wine traders here. Something happened at that meeting, and now I'm the CEO of the Planetary Society. Not clear, but everybody, I took one class, and it just changed the course of my whole life. I can't get over it. Every day I'm amazed.
The year before last, we managed to fly, 39 years later, a solar sail. And for some-- is anybody here a Planetary Society member? You guys should all join, come on. Planetary.org. Step up, it's Cornell legacy, come on. It's very inexpensive.
And what I say about space exploration all the time, you guys, is it brings out the best in us, brings out the best in humankind. We work together to solve problems that have never been solved before, we explore space, and we know the cosmos. We know our place in space in a way that no generation before us could possibly know. And that is empowering and wonderful.
So before we go, I found this chart, which I think is just wonderful. This is your life in years.
And I just want to point out, it says with high creative potential. That's us, right? Sure, we're all highly creative, potentially.
And class 2007, you're here, your first contribution. Don't blow it. Class of 1997, you're here. And then two of my beloved classmates, we're over here.
This is it. It's our last shot, people. This is it. And I have to say, this thing kind of freaks me out because it's sort of how my life's gone. You know, I did the Science Guy show, which was really cool, there, when I was 38, 39, 40, and now I'm here at the other side. Oh, sorry, I'm here. I'm here at the other side.
So because of my Cornell experience, I got invited to a meeting about Mars. Professor Steve Squyres, Professor Jim Bell, and we had this problem of getting-- or they had this problem of getting the colors right on the cameras on Mars. If you look at old pictures from Mars, a lot of times the rocks are too pink because they didn't get the colors right. But you can get the colors right by looking at shadows. When you go outside on a sunny day-- well, here.
You have to travel. Just take my word for it. There are places with sunny days. And you make a shadow on something white, like my shirt. You can use a pen, or your finger, or a friend's head, whatever you have. You'll see the shadow here is quite yellow from these lights. Outside, it's blue from the Earth sky. And we can all tell the difference between room light and daylight, but many of us can't put our finger on why they look different. But part of it is the color of all this light coming from the blue sky.
Well, on Mars it's quite orange. And so we had this idea to make this little stick that casts a shadow into a sundial, which was sort of a tribute to my dad and it is very cool, but we call them the MarsDials. There's three of them on Mars right now. And I mentioned this before, that program, because the Opportunity rover, Spirit, Opportunity, Curiosity, the Opportunity rover's still running. The program's up now over $2 billion.
And let me tell you something. Those rovers are not even locked. Anybody could just walk up to them.
It's very troubling, but here's the thing, you guys. Around the edge of these is a message to the future. And this is the first message to the future humankind sent into space since the Voyager program back in the 1970s, where Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray, who was the head of the Jet Propulsion Lab at the time, was one of the founders of the Planetary Society, and Lou Friedman, was an engineer there, made sure that the record went on the Voyager spacecraft that is now leaving the solar system, an extraordinary distance.
Anyway, this, at the time this picture was taken, this flight spare was in this box on the second floor of the Air and Space Museum in Washington. Around the edge is a message to the future. We built this instrument in our year 2011, arrived here in 2012 to look for signs of life, to study the Martian environment, look for signs of life. And then it says, on the last of the four panels, it says "to those who visit here, we wish a safe journey and the joy of discovery."
And my friends, that is the essence of science. In fact, that is the essence of a Cornell education, is to feel the joy of discovery. And I submit to you that our ancestors who did not feel the joy of discovery are not really our ancestors. They got out-competed by the people that were interested in feeling the joy of discovery. And that idea, I hope, stays with us our whole lives.
We'll be here tonight for Cornelliana, --which is just the coolest thing ever, if you haven't been yet, It's just nothing but fun-- and this legacy that we have from Cornell really is extraordinary. And for those of you, maybe you've seen me talk before. I'm just going to finish with one of my favorite stories.
This is a picture taken by the Cassini spacecraft. Cassini launched in 1997, people, way to go, and because of plutonium, it's got and stayed in orbit around Saturn and the vicinity all these years. And in September, we, humankind is going to cause it to crash into Saturn. And on the way down, we're going to get those last few datas, last few pictures, it's going to be really cool, on the way out. And this picture is significant for me, because it was submitted to the Library of Congress on the day that Carl Sagan's papers were sent to the Library of Congress. It was November three years ago.
And this is also a picture of the Earth. The earth is right there. And so if we could fly-- let's see, let me think-- if we could fly up that way about 100,000 kilometers, which in space flight is nothing. There It is again. Oh, yes, the Earth. Right there. People, that's it. That's everybody. That's everybody you've ever met. That's every mushroom. It's every fern. It's every glass of beer. Everything you've ever enjoyed is there. Everything that made you angry is there. Everybody you've ever met, there.
So I tell this story often enough. When I was in third grade, Mrs. Cochran told us that there are more stars in the sky than grains of sand on the beach. And I remember thinking, Mrs. Cochran, that's extraordinary. I mean, I wouldn't have expressed it this way, but classmates, maybe you know what I. Mean I was thinking, Mrs. Cochran, are you high?
Have you ever been to a beach? For crying out loud, lady, there is nothing but sand. Come on, really. I grew up in Washington DC, and when you live there, you go to Delaware. That's the shore you go. Do you live in-- it's like the Jersey Shore. Delaware, capital Dover, right on, first state, Diamond state. Extraordinary corn, by the way. The sandy loam soil is just- oh.
It's really good. It's just like the Jersey Shore, just a little pulled back. Anyway--
I just remember thinking, you look this way 1,000 nautical-- more than that, 1,500 nautical miles, 1,500 nautical miles, there's sand. There's just sand. And the ocean goes out at low tide and there's more sand and you look behind you and there's more sand and you shuffle your feet and there's sand. And you're a kid-- I'm a boy, that's what we do. We dig holes. That's all we do. We dig holes for some reason. And there's more sand. And she's saying that there are more stars than all of that. There's no way. No way.
Well, actually, peoples, there are about 100 times as many stars in the cosmos that we can see as there are grains of sand on Earth. And I remember thinking, I'm no different from a grain of sand. And this was in the 1960s, when the space program was new, and I thought, the astronauts maybe could see me, you know, if I went like this. Because even then I was into the shadows. Dad was with the sundial, so I thought, the shadow gets really long, you know, it must extend infinitely into space. They could-- sure. Look, no.
No, not happening. So I started to feel insignificant, like I'm no different from a grain of sand. I'm just one of these specks of sand. And then the Earth is another speck. And it orbits the sun. It's-- I'm a speck standing on a bunch of specks, which becomes a speck, which orbits another speck, with billions of other specks, in the middle of specklessness.
I am nothing! I suck! But then, then, everybody, I realized, with my brain, with our brains, there are only this big. My old boss--
--his is quite a bit smaller. But with your brain you can know all of this. With your brain you can know the cosmos. You can know philosophy. You can accounting. You can know something-- you can know everything that we know. And we can get it all in this little wet computer that we carry with us. That is extraordinary. That is worth celebrating. And that is how, my friends, my fellow Cornellians, we are going to, dare I say it, save the world. Thank you all very much. Thank you.
[CHEERING] Hey, you guys. Hey, Michelle, great to see you. Charles, great to see you. [INAUDIBLE]. Great to see you.
Oh, you guys, I love you guys.
So now-- wow. All right, all right, doggone it. All right people, you've been doing this. Hang on, here we go.
You started it. Don't come running to me. All right everybody, where are you?
These kids with their phones.
Hi, you guys. My 40th reunion. Crazy. Go Big Red.
All right, if you guys have time, I'll answer some questions. I'll try to answer some questions. If you have time. Do we have secret microphones and things? And you guys, you want to go to the tents, right on. I'll see you later. Oh my god, what am I going to wear? Wow, careful. Do you need some help? You got-- you're good? Guy with camera, can you open the door? I'm not sure that's his real name.
So yes, yes. Jeff, wow, greetings. Is this a tap? Tap before you blow, it's good advice.
AUDIENCE: Great to see you.
BILL NYE: There you are, yes.
AUDIENCE: Let me just say you're great at what you do, and you were always great at what you do. It's just that in the mid-1970s, we were all too busy listening to Black Sabbath or somebody, and you talk and we'd say, who's that geeky guy saying that stuff, and nobody had a clue what you were saying, but it sounded great.
BILL NYE: Thank you.
AUDIENCE: But let me ask you a serious question.
BILL NYE: Yes.
AUDIENCE: You had that chart on millennials. And it'd be great if they voted more, and maybe we'd have some leadership who had a different--
BILL NYE: So they did vote. Yeah.
AUDIENCE: But not enough.
BILL NYE: You know, I just remind you guys. Look, everybody, I know this is a failure, the progressives had no idea what they were doing, the most horrible thing-- with all due-- Clinton won by 3 million votes, right?
Sorry, it wasn't that screwed up. It wasn't that bad.
AUDIENCE: Fair enough. But maybe they'll vote more and maybe we'll have some different leadership who knows more about science, but maybe we won't. And my question is, to what degree do you think technology is going to drive the change that's going to address our problems, whether or not our political leadership gets it?
Let me just give you one example, which is I understand long haul trucking is some significant percentage of the US contribution to global warming. If, in the next 10 or 20 years, that becomes battery-driven and maybe automated, isn't there a chance here that technology can save us from ourselves?
BILL NYE: Yes, I'm all about technology, but we remind us that technology is not something that has a brain. Technology decided-- no. Technology comes from humans. So we've got to do this. Yes, battery-powered long haul trucking, yes. And let's put rails on the highway, metal rails because they tend to friction, would be so much fun. Yeah. This is solvable, especially if we go in it like we can solve it.
Hey, thanks for coming, you guys. Yes.
No, really, I understand, you've got to go. I get it. It's totally cool.
AUDIENCE: OK. My name's Stu [? Aukman, ?] '67.
BILL NYE: 1967.
AUDIENCE: I think so.
BILL NYE: Yeah
AUDIENCE: And I got involved in constructing crosswords for the New York Times, and it's their 75th anniversary. So if you are an occasional New York Times crossword solver, you can join people like Jesse Eisenberg, Bill Clinton, Neil deGrasse Tyson as a co-constructor and--
BILL NYE: Oh, I would love that, yeah.
AUDIENCE: OK, then we can do a crossword on climate change.
BILL NYE: Oh, cool, yeah.
BILL NYE: So I'll give you a couple hints, a couple-- I'm going to give away a couple of words, if you let me do that. They'll be lectern instead of podium.
There might even be rostrum. You heard me, yeah, rostrum. And you can pretty much count on an audit, which is the entrance to a mine. It's like an exit but it's the other side. You can just watch for those words. Only four letters. Two vowels. Yes.
AUDIENCE: So hi, my name is Nina.
BILL NYE: Little closer to the microphone.
AUDIENCE: Hi. My name's Nina. I'm 15. I obviously can't drive yet, so I'm not personally--
BILL NYE: You can't drive legally.
AUDIENCE: Legally. So I'm not like my parents are, but me personally, I'm not helping with the cars and all the pollution. So what can people who are too young to get up and go to all these things do to help the climate? Is
BILL NYE: Turn out the lights. And I'm not-- that's a real thing. You know, another thing that guy Inhofe from Oklahoma, he-- to think that by changing light bulbs we could avoid climate change is absurd. Actually, senator, in Oklahoma City, just shooting from the hip, if several million people-- you have tens, maybe hundreds of millions of light bulbs. If you make those 15 times more efficient, you save a lot of energy.
And here's the thing. If we were talking about climate change the way we talk about Ferguson, Missouri, or what happened in Baltimore, or the terrorism in California, we would be doing something about it. If we talked about climate change the way we talk about Russia right now, we'd be doing something about it. So talk about it. Talk about it. Raise awareness.
AUDIENCE: Also one other I'm like big into bio, like bio biolology--
BILL NYE: Biology, life science?
AUDIENCE: Biology, there we go. And you kind of sparked that for me. So can I shake your hand?
BILL NYE: Yeah, yeah.
I love you, man. Thank you.
Thank you. I love you man.
Everybody, I can't take selfies right now. I can't do hugs for everybody right now. I love you all, but it would take time. Yes sir?
AUDIENCE: Hello, Mr. Nye. I'm Marcel Howard, and sorry to disappoint you, but I don't go here.
BILL NYE: That's fine. We all make choices. We've got to have somebody-- we've got to have somebody to play ultimate against. What else do they-- hockey, yeah, they play hockey.
AUDIENCE: So as you may know, that as technology increases, we have a continual automation of jobs now. But of course, this is translating into a loss of jobs for other peoples. So what do you think should happen to all those people that lose their jobs?
BILL NYE: OK. They should build wind turbines, reconfigure the electric grid, and put solar panels on the roof of every big building. That's what they, they, we should do. OK, when my grandfather was working as a chemist, everybody rode horses. Even I remember in Baltimore, this grocery cart coming horse-drawn. But there were mews and stables and livery-- what do you-- where you make horse stuff, saddles and reins and bits. But they still make-- I know, but it's much more moderate.
And they don't do that anymore. They went and did something else. My grandfather got a car. So we're going to have to do something new. Have you guys been to a coal mine? I mean, it looks like fun, no.
I mean, there are better jobs. We will change. I met a guy at Boeing last year, doing this documentary film, who is a stonemason. But now he works at Boeing on 747, 787, doing wire bundles. There's many, many wires in an airplane. And he uses the same skills, his ability to recognize patterns, to work finely with his hands, and now he makes airplanes instead of laying bricks.
And it's good for everybody. It's not a bad thing. It's a thing. Let's go. Let's change the world.
One more thing? Michigan.
AUDIENCE: My name's John Wassick and I had the good sense to marry a Cornell graduate.
BILL NYE: Right on, and yes, go ahead.
AUDIENCE: Among my right wing friends, there is a--
BILL NYE: Right wing friends?
AUDIENCE: Well, right wing acquaintances.
BILL NYE: No, whatever you guys-- whatever.
AUDIENCE: The new thing that I'm hearing from them is, oh yes, there is global warming, but it's natural and it's cyclical. It's not man-made.
BILL NYE: So this is--
AUDIENCE: So they're changing the lie.
BILL NYE: So this is what I'll tell them. Secondly, they're wrong, but firstly, it's the speed. That's what people have trouble understanding. It's the rate at which we are changing things. It's the slope of the blade of the hockey stick. It's not just that the world-- in ancient dinosaur times there was more carbon dioxide and the world was warmer, but it's the speed at which we're changing things that's going to displace billions of people or hundreds of millions of people.
And the US military is very aware of this. I mean, the US military, generally a conservative organization, and they are very concerned about displaced populations, especially as rainfall patterns change and farms have to move. The Fertile Crescent ain't what it was. So it's the speed. But if they're just hardcore deniers, you're not going to get through them the first time.
In the skeptic community, we find it takes about two years, if you meet somebody who believes in astrology, you have to tell them astrology doesn't work every day for a couple of years, and then they'll change their mind. They're not going to change their mind the first time they hear it. It won't be a revelation. So stick with it, guy who married a Cornellian.
AUDIENCE: Hey Bill, my name is Rafael [? Obaye, ?] I'm also in your class, class of '77.
BILL NYE: And you came anyway.
AUDIENCE: Absolutely, because this is a great class. One problem that we, the United States made more than 100 years ago, was not switching from feet--
BILL NYE: Oh gosh.
AUDIENCE: --to meters. And we should talk about-- everyone should talk about getting that switch over, because the local--
BILL NYE: It's just easier.
AUDIENCE: But the local population doesn't understand scientists.
BILL NYE: Well, it's not going to be top down, man. It's going to be organic. And here's where it's starting. Young people, there is a fabulous blues song, "Rocket 88". Oh, let's do it this way. Let's do it this way. And this is intended as a joke, OK, don't open fire. Wherever there are four class of '77ers, there's a fifth.
See how these people laugh? So booze used to be sold by the fifth of a gallon. And that's just so funny, oh my goodness. But because of the wine industry in Europe and everything, a fifth of a gallon was a pretty good round number, and it's very close to 750 milliliters. It's 750.2 milliliters. So that's where the organic nature of changing to the metric system is happening.
By the way, the metric system is not unnatural. It's based on 10, everyone.
For crying out loud. And when you're on a plane--
When you're on an airplane nowadays, the pilot almost always tells you the temperature in Fahrenheit and Celsius, because all of his or her instruments are in Celsius. And the air temperature is very important to air density, which is very important to how much lift you get. Lift is important in airplanes, just take it from me. It's important. Yes, woman with a disc.
AUDIENCE: Speaking of lift.
BILL NYE: I can't sign the disc, because then it's going to start a thing.
MARTHA POLLACK: I'm sorry. You're going to have to be our last question.
BILL NYE: Oh my gosh.
MARTHA POLLACK: People, we have to get into buses. I'm sorry.
BILL NYE: OK, thank you all. But last question. This is going to be brilliant. It's going to be amazing.
AUDIENCE: When's the pickup game? When are we playing?
BILL NYE: When are we play ultimate?
BILL NYE: Well, we'll throw it around tonight, I guess, on the quad.
AUDIENCE: When, when? What time, where--
BILL NYE: No, you guys, for those of you, for some reason, have had the misfortune to not have played ultimate, flying disk, it is the only team sport which the offense cannot score unassisted. I want you to think about that. It's inherently a team game. You have to throw it from one player to another. Hockey, soccer, lacrosse, one player can throw it in the goal, kick it in the goal, right, slap it in the goal. No, it takes two players to score, like so many things. It's fabulous.
All right you guys, thank you very much.
Wait, wait, there's more. The president has some remarks.
MARTHA POLLACK: Don't leave yet, because on behalf of the class of '77, I want to present a gift to Bill Nye from them, this absolutely wonderful photo not just of the Nye clock, but the Nye clock in a snowstorm.
BILL NYE: Oh, wow. Check it out, you guys.
Wow. Hey, thank you, thank you. Now go out there and change the world, you guys. Thank you very much.
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Bill Nye has been a public face of science for more than 25 years, doing his best to popularize science the way his professor Carl Sagan did. With his signature humor and storytelling, he will present his keys to success, based on years of engineering and television production experience. His big idea is to manage everything, all at once—without multitasking. Whether addressing global warming, social change, or personal success, there are a few big ideas that he feels will always get results. Nye wants us to look at the world with deep curiosity and be driven by a desire to shape a better future. He asserts that Cornellians are willing and qualified to change the world.
Sponsored by the Class of '77. Part of Cornell Reunion 2017.