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Flying Sideways at USC

By Bill Nye | Published: December 2, 2010 – 9:03 am

When one is lying almost facedown on the stage at the University of Southern California’s Bovard Auditorium, the audience appears to be flying sideways. I had this view recently during a lecture I was giving when I passed out there, apparently from fatigue and mild food poisoning. If you’re at home and you feel sick, you lie down. If you’re onstage and you feel sick, you fall over.

I am gratified by all the good wishes from students and concerned fans. Please note: the students who came to my aid were attentive, thoughtful, and gracious. The medical professionals who looked me over were expert, efficient, and treated me with excellent greenroom-furniture-side manner.

I am perhaps not as concerned as many of your readers, who felt the students should have done more to help me more quickly than they did. Although my presentation is intended to do nothing less than inspire my audience members to change the world, it is generally considered funny…on purpose. So when students found me down and talking from the floorboards, I’m sure some thought it was part of making a serious point. In a few moments, the event’s student organizers did indeed come to my aid. They did indeed provide very appropriate and very thoughtful assistance.

As a public figure and minor celebrity, I can assure you that having 1200 strangers run toward you when you’re sick is not appealing. The audience members were respectful; they waited for me to continue. While they waited, they sent messages, as is their wont – instead of rushing to payphones to pass the news as people of my father’s generation would have done.

With all this, I predict we’re in a phase. In a few years, people will learn to reduce their message sending, the same way many of us have learned not to answer the phone during dinner. Technology enriches our lives. I’m hoping the students of today will embrace the nearly instantaneous electronic communication that modern mobile technology enables, and use it to make things better – in short, to change the World.

18 Responses to “Flying Sideways at USC”

  1. Samy says:

    What kind of stuff do you like to do to change the world? (aside from aspiring others to do so w/ lectures, which is awesome btw…kudos to you). As a college student only serving maybe once a week (low on cash), what would you reccommend? Sometimes I feel like there are soo many things to do, it’s overwhelming. The more I learn about this earth, the more helpless I feel. But I couldn’t possibly die knowing I did NOTHING.
    Anyway, happy holidays,
    Samy

  2. Terry says:

    Glad to hear that you are okay. I am a “young” person and I feel technology is ruining us. People are endangering themselves by posting their whereabouts on Facebook and Twitter. I think social networking technology is turning everyone into competitive, self-centered individuals–who posted “breaking news” first, why do people need to know what you ate for lunch, etc.
    Maybe we can launch a revolution to fix people…
    Anyway, take good care of yourself, Bill; again glad that you are okay and it wasn’t anything too serious.

  3. Frank Chen says:

    Dear Mr. Nye,

    Thank you so much for your support! We at USC hope you keep fighting on! You remain heroes in our hearts!

    Thank you
    Happy Holidays!
    -Frank

  4. Zach says:

    Bill, I’ve been watching your show since I was a young child, I really enjoy it and still watch it when I see it on. I know the things you speak about on BNTSG are mostly elementary-middle school level… is there a possibility that you will make another series geared toward high school science while continueing to being funny? and if so, when?

  5. ilham says:

    I agree with your point of view from bad habits of young people nowadays. Sending their opinion (or facts) to others in the net without consideration seems fool. But, you know it, we, the people, are the one to be called fool. Man, why we must realize it at this time. Hhh…

    And, when you something shameful, it feels more shameful when many people (stranger, most likely I–no us want to avoid, surely) know it. Hhh… But, when they (the people who helped you) know it and sympathize with it, I think it become something emotional to us, such as from your “latest” experience, it is wonderful how people thought you as a person with privacy that must be keep private for your sake (well, it maybe due to their sake, too, to not be considered as an annoying person), and it’s grateful for them not telling this to anyone outside the place even though, as I said before, they want to write it on their page on the net.

    Well, enough for my long unimportant (I think) long sentences. Get well soon, man! You are the first person to be known widely by the world to show us that science can be funny and enjoyable, which is freshen us. Many thank you for you!

    Get well soon, man!

    ps: We don’t want to push you to the stage again, so don’t worry, be happy!

  6. Steven says:

    I remember reading about this and hoped for the very best Prof. Nye, so I’m glad it was a minor issue. All the best for the New Year to you and your family.

  7. Myna says:

    Dear Mr. Science Guy

    I love your show. Let me tell you I watched it as a kid in usa, Now I live in Mexico and would love to see again your complete episodes. Anyways thanks a lot for showing us how cool science can be.

    Yours truly,
    Myna

  8. [...] When one is lying almost facedown on the stage at the University of Southern California?s Bovard Auditorium, the audience appears to be flying sideways. I had this view recently during a lecture I was giving when I passed out there, apparently from fatigue and mild food poisoning. If you?re at home and you feel sick, Read More > [...]

  9. [...] When one is lying almost facedown on the stage at the University of Southern California?s Bovard Auditorium, the audience appears to be flying sideways. I had this view recently during a lecture I was giving when I passed out there, apparently from fatigue and mild food poisoning. If you?re at home and you feel sick, Read More > [...]

  10. [...] When one is lying almost facedown on the stage at the University of Southern California?s Bovard Auditorium, the audience appears to be flying sideways. I had this view recently during a lecture I was giving when I passed out there, apparently from fatigue and mild food poisoning. If you?re at home and you feel sick, Read More > [...]

  11. [...] When one is lying almost facedown on the stage at the University of Southern California?s Bovard Auditorium, the audience appears to be flying sideways. I had this view recently during a lecture I was giving when I passed out there, apparently from fatigue and mild food poisoning. If you?re at home and you feel sick, Read More > [...]

  12. [...] When one is lying almost facedown on the stage at the University of Southern California?s Bovard Auditorium, the audience appears to be flying sideways. I had this view recently during a lecture I was giving when I passed out there, apparently from fatigue and mild food poisoning. If you?re at home and you feel sick, Read More > [...]

  13. [...] When one is lying almost facedown on the stage at the University of Southern California?s Bovard Auditorium, the audience appears to be flying sideways. I had this view recently during a lecture I was giving when I passed out there, apparently from fatigue and mild food poisoning. If you?re at home and you feel sick, Read More > [...]

  14. [...] When one is lying almost facedown on the stage at the University of Southern California?s Bovard Auditorium, the audience appears to be flying sideways. I had this view recently during a lecture I was giving when I passed out there, apparently from fatigue and mild food poisoning. If you?re at home and you feel sick, Read More > [...]

  15. [...] When one is lying almost facedown on the stage at the University of Southern California?s Bovard Auditorium, the audience appears to be flying sideways. I had this view recently during a lecture I was giving when I passed out there, apparently from fatigue and mild food poisoning. If you?re at home and you feel sick, Read More > [...]

  16. Katie says:

    Don’t worry, Science Guy–I passed out on stage once, too, in the middle of our fall concert. Like, almost exactly in the middle–right before the intermission. I couldn’t manage to hold out for two notes longer and then sit down backstage for 20 minutes. Everyone said they’d never seen someone recover from faceplanting on stage so quickly (I came to within about 30 seconds, walked from the stage, and was up and ready to sing again before the intermission was over as if nothing had happened). People won’t just remember the passing out, though–they’ll remember you finishing what you started and conducting yourself with grace and dignity, even if you went horizontal halfway through in front of everyone on campus.

    And really, the nice thing is that the audience wasn’t texting during the lecture proper.

  17. LAWL says:

    Hello, Mr. Nye. I really appreciate all that you have taught me.
    Yours sincerely,
    LAWL

  18. Jamie says:

    Glad you’re okay,Mr.Nye.I’m a big fan of you’re shows.When i’m older i’m going to either be a Astronaut,Doctor or Egyptologist because all of them seem to be interesting in there own way.Hope to be hearing more soon.
    Sincerely,
    Jamie

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