Bill Nye to speak at Life Sciences & Society Symposium at MU

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 | 5:04 p.m. CST; updated 6:57 p.m. CST, Tuesday, February 11, 2014

COLUMBIA — Consider the following: Scientist and educator Bill Nye will lecture for free at 10 a.m. March 15 in Jesse Auditorium.

Nye will speak on the hows and whys of communicating with the public about science as part of the annual weeklong Life Sciences & Society Symposium. According to the Life Sciences & Society Program's website, the symposium's theme this year is "Decoding Science," focusing on how the scientist-public dialogue can be improved.


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"Scientists have not been very good about explaining to the taxpayers what their work means," Jack Schultz, director of the Life Sciences Center and program director for the symposium, said. "Data don't really speak for themselves. We're confronting an awful lot of fairly major problems like climate change ... and scientists would like to have a voice, but so far their voice has been too difficult to understand."

Karla Carter, executive assistant to the director, said they're hoping the Q-and-A section of the lecture will run about 45 minutes, as opposed to the normally allotted time of 20 minutes.

Carter said tickets will probably be available Feb. 21 at the campus events box office and the Missouri Theatre; 1,780 tickets will be available, with a limit of four tickets per person.

Nye made his name simplifying complex scientific concepts for millions on "Bill Nye the Science Guy" and has continued his educational crusade by lecturing across the country. Most recently, Nye made headlines in his debate with creationist Ken Ham.

Schultz said he hopes Nye's visit and the rest of the symposium will be the beginning of stronger communication between scientists and the public.

"We're hoping to make this topic a visible thing ongoing," Schultz said. "What we're trying to figure out is how to explain what we're doing here a little better, and if we can do that and make it entertaining, we're hoping this will turn into a real dialogue between the public and scientists."

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.

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