Thursday, February 27, 2014

An Item on the Bucket List Accomplished, Well Almost

Bill Nye was in Minneapolis, at the Mall of America last Sunday. He did a science demonstration at the rotunda. This event was advertised for kids, but most of the audience was adults. There was standing room only on all four levels of the mall. The ground floor barely had enough room for two people to pass each other behind the crowd. The seats filled up by 9 am, and I thought that getting there at 11 was early enough. These crowd pictures were actually taken about an hour before it started, the upper levels were even fuller when the even actually started. It's so exciting to live somewhere where a science demonstration got such a huge turn out.

 Bill Nye was charming, funny, and rolled with the technical difficulties without even batting an eye. He even gave the crowd a bit of the old soft shoe while they worked out a glitch. The event was sponsored by Sophia.org, a website that is a resource for teachers and offers resources for flipping the classroom. Bill has created some videos for them, it's really not surprising that he'd team up with such a group as science education and awareness is a focus of his.

They did demonstrations of various scientific concepts like the power of air and momentum. I have to admit, that I was partial to them using a giant air cannon made out of a trash can to blow out a candle. Making one of these air cannons maybe the summer project around our house. The used a bicycle wheel to show how spinning objects don't fall, and Bill sat on a spinning office chair and let the wheel move the chair. There was a game of tug-o-war, where the two sides were pulling against a vacuum of air less than an inch thick. I think the crowd favorite was watching Bill Nye apply a sledgehammer to a cinder block that was lying atop a man's chest while he laid on a bed of nails.

video 

It was a great experience, even though I didn't actually get to officially meet Bill. It was a crowd full of my tribe: the geeks, nerds, dorks. There were people dressed up in superhero costumes and handmade Viking helmets. Most everyone was very nice and considerate despite the crowded conditions. Maybe I was just having a fan-girl high. Even stores on the other side of the mall got into the spirit of the event.
I only have two regrets: 1) the demonstration only went until 2 instead of 3, and 2) Bill didn't stick around for autographs. So my bucket list item of meeting him wasn't quite met, but I did get to see a pen that was given to him by Neil Degrasse Tyson.













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