Bill Nye The Science Guy to speak at URI Oct. 20

Talk part of Alumni and Family Weekend

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862 |
Photo courtesy of Bill Nye

KINGSTON, R.I. — August 31 — 2017 — If you like your science and engineering with a dash of humor, then you should be at the University of Rhode Island, Friday, Oct. 20 for Bill Nye The Science Guy.

The bow-tie-wearing scientist, engineer, inventor, author and comedian will perform at URI’s Ryan Center. URI’s Student Entertainment Committee, Alumni and Family Weekend Committee and Spectra by Comcast Spectacor, the Ryan Center’s management firm, are presenting the event as part of Alumni and Family Weekend and URI’s 125th Anniversary celebration.

“The URI Student Entertainment Committee is very excited that we are able to bring Bill Nye to the University for its Alumni and Family Weekend,” said Michael Nolfe, URI Student Entertainment Committee advisor and Major Events coordinator. “Bill Nye has been on SEC’s radar for the past few years.  Many students are big fans of the TV series, ‘Bill Nye The Science Guy,’ which aired in the mid 1990s. The student organization also thought that a lecture by Bill Nye tied in very nicely with the theme of the University’s fall Honors Colloquium series, which is focused on science.”

Tickets, from $16 to $20, are available to students starting Thursday, Sept. 7 at 10 a.m. Tickets start at $30 for the general public beginning Friday, Sept. 8 online at You can also charge by phone at 1-855-387-4849, or you can get tickets at the Ryan Center box office, 1 Lincoln Almond Plaza. Register for the Ryan Center Cyber Club at for access to a pre-sale opportunity, also Sept. 7.

Nye’s mission is to foster a scientifically literate society, and help people everywhere understand and appreciate the science that makes the world work. Making science entertaining and accessible is something Nye has been doing most of his life.

“My family is funny,” he said. “I mean funny in the sense that we make people laugh, not just funny looking.”

While growing up in Washington, D.C., in the 1970s, Nye spent afternoons and summers de-mystifying math for his fellow students. When he wasn’t hitting the books, he was hitting the road on his bicycle. He spent hours taking it apart to see how it worked. Now he commutes by bike in Los Angeles and New York.

His fascination with how bicycles, airplanes and other things work led him to Cornell University and a degree in mechanical engineering in 1977. Soon after, Boeing recruited him as an engineer, so he went to Seattle.

“I’ve always loved airplanes and flight. There’s a hydraulic resonance suppressor ‘Quinke’ tube on the 747 horizontal stabilizer drive system that I like to think of as my tube.”

In Seattle, he combined his love of science with his flair for comedy where he won a Steve Martin look-alike contest and developed dual careers as an engineer by day and a stand-up comic by night. Eventually he left his engineering job and made the transition to a night job as a comedy writer and performer on Seattle’s homegrown ensemble comedy show, “Almost Live” in 1986.

This is when “Bill Nye the Science Guy” was born. The show appeared before Saturday Night Live and later on Comedy Central, originating at KING-TIV, Seattle’s NBC affiliate. With fellow KING-TV alumni, Jim McKenna and Erren Gottlieb, Nye made a number of award-winning shows, including his well known, “Bill Nye the Science Guy.”

While working on that show from 1992 to 1998, he won seven national Emmy Awards for writing, performing and producing.

He also wrote five children’s books:

Big Blast of Science, Bill Nye’s Considering the Following, Bill Nye The Science Guys’ Big Blue Ocean, Bill Nye the Science Guy’s Great Big Dinosaur Dig and Bill Nye the Science Guy’s Great big Bopok of tiny Germs.

After a debate with a creationist who believes the world is only 6,000 years old, Nye wrote his first book for a general audience, Undeniable–Evolution and the Science of Creation, which was featured on The New York Times Bestsellers List.

He is now working on his next book for a general audience on the subjects of energy and climate change. His next kids’ book will be about space exploration.

Along with big-picture thinking about global issues, Nye remains involved in a good-natured rivalry with his neighbor, actor and fellow environmentalist, Ed Begley. They compete to see who can save the most energy and produce the smallest carbon footprint. Nye has 4,000 watts of solar power and a solar-boosted, hot water system.