University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Student Union

Union: Distinguished Lecture Series

The Distinguished Lecture Series and Geek Week presents:

Bill Nye

Monday, February 10, 2014, 7p.m.
Union Wisconsin Room, 2200 E. Kenwood Blvd

Geek out over Bill Nye, award winning scientist, engineer, comedian, author, inventor, and man on a mission to help people everywhere understand and appreciate the science that makes our world work. Nye, a mechanical engineer by training, combined his love of science with his flair for comedy into a side job as a comedy writer and performer, and has been entertaining and educating children of all ages ever since.

Nye has been awarded seven national Emmy Awards for writing, performing, and producing while working on the Science Guy show. He has authored five books, holds three Honorary Doctorate degrees, hosts three television series, and visits Cornell University regularly as part of the Frank H.T. Rhodes Visiting Professorship. Nye is also the Executive Director of The Planetary Society, the world’s largest space interest organization.

Tickets for Bill Nye are sold out. The lecture will be simulcast in the Student Union Ballroom (1st Floor). The simulcast will seat 250 and will not be ticketed. Seats are available on a first come, first served basis. Due to a high level of student interest in this event, tickets will not be sold to the public on February 3.

Although Bill Nye is sold out, there are over 30 other events that are part of UWM Geek Week! Check out the full calendar at


For more information contact or 414.229.6996.

Sponsored by Union Programming, the Campus Activities Board, the Society of Women Engineers, SHAC, the School of Information Studies, the UWM Planetarium, and the College of Letters and Science.

A sign language interpreter will be provided.

Bill Nye, scientist, engineer, comedian, author, and inventor, is a man with a mission: to help foster a scientifically literate society, to help people everywhere understand and appreciate the science that makes our world work. Making science entertaining and accessible is something Bill has been doing most of his life.

“My family is funny,” he says, “I mean funny in the sense that we make people laugh, not just funny looking.” Bill discovered that he had a talent for tutoring in high school, and while growing up in Washington, DC. He spent afternoons and summers de-mystifying math for his fellow students. When he wasn’t hitting the books, Bill was hitting the road on his bicycle. He spent hours taking it apart to “see how it worked.” Bill rode in the unusual Cannonball 300 a few times. It’s 300 miles in one day, from Seattle to Spokane, Washington. One year, he finished first unsupported. Now, he commutes by bike in the Los Angeles area. He’s down to just five bicycles.

Bill’s fascination with how things work led him to Cornell University and a degree in Mechanical Engineering. After graduation, he headed for Seattle and work as an engineer at Boeing. “There’s a hydraulic resonance suppressor “Quinke” tube on the 747 horizontal stabilizer drive system that I like to think of as my tube,” he says.

“I’ve always loved airplanes and flight. The space program was very important to me as a kid. I have a photo from the Apollo 11 mission with the caption, ‘Aldrin’s visor reflects Armstrong…’ Oh yeah, and they’re on the Moon!” exclaims Bill. Now, Bill and Buzz Aldrin are pretty well acquainted. “We see each other at space exploration events.”

It was in Seattle that Bill began to combine his love of science with his flair for comedy, when he won the Steve Martin look-alike contest and developed dual careers as an engineer by day and a stand-up comic by night. “I’ve never met Mr. Martin, but I’d love to. He created this tension during which the audience had to choose to laugh. So, the laughs were deep and real, like you had to be there- but you were,” says Bill. Eventually, Bill quit his day engineering day job and made the transition to a night job as a comedy writer and performer on Seattle’s home-grown ensemble comedy show “Almost Live.”

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

While working on the Science Guy show, Bill won seven national Emmy Awards for writing, performing, and producing. The show won 18 Emmys in five years. In between creating the shows, he wrote five kids’ books about science, including his latest title, “Bill Nye’s Great Big Book of Tiny Germs.”

Bill Nye is the host of three currently-running television series. “The 100 Greatest Discoveries” airs on the Science Channel. “The Eyes of Nye” airs on PBS stations across the country.

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