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TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
NATIONAL SCIENCE BOARD
353RD MEETING
OPEN SESSION
Arlington, Virginia
Thursday, May 6, 1999

ACE- FEDERAL REPORTERS, INC. Stenotype Reporters
1 120 G Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20005
(202) 347-3700

NATIONWIDE COVERAGE
800-336-6646

DR. KELLY: Our final awardees received the 1999 NSB Public Service Award as a group. The team that creates the public television series, Bill Nye, the Science Guy.

This television program is in its fifth season. The Emmy award winning show draws four million viewers a week, and more than 40 percent of them are over 18 years old. I guess it could include this group.

This program is not just about entertainment, it creates a curiosity to learn and the impact carries beyond television into the classroom.

This program has spun off teachers' guides and posters that go out to 130,000 fourth grade classrooms around the country each fall.

This year, the show has been nominated for eight Emmy awards for their phenomenal success in bringing science home. The award was presented to Bill Nye, host and head writer, and to the executive producers, Elizabeth Brock, Erren Gottlieb, and James McKenna.

We have both Bill Nye and Elizabeth Brock here. We thank you very much for being with us.

MS. BROCK: Thank you.

It was quite an honor last night. Bill and I were a bit overwhelmed, and I think are still riding a little high.

I'm not sure I'm going to have to get on the plane to fly back to Seattle, but I want to thank you for being here, and also having an opportunity to talk about our series a bit.

I'm going to very briefly describe to you a little bit of the history of Bill Nye and some of the more statistical, some of the research that we have done in terms of its impact on its intended audience, and then quickly turn it over to Bill whose much more adept at this, and truly probably the one you want to talk to and hear from most.

We started Bill Nye, The Science Guy, really in 1991 when Bill and Jim and Erren and I worked together to create a very low-budget industrial for the Washington State Parks Department on boating safety.

As Bill would say, the message boiled down to pretty much where, what do you call that personal flotation device, and it's probably better if you don't get drunk.

(Laughter.)

MR. NYE: You're going to be drunk because you're operating a boat, but we just want to go on record, you'd be better off without it.

MS. BROCK: Small point, but we had such a good time making that together, and it was so successful for what it was and its intended audience, it was even broadcast, which was not the intent originally of going into the project.

But the four of us worked together to develop first a pilot and then ultimately the series, Bill Nye, The Science Guy.

If the National Science Foundation had not come in on the pilot for these four I won't say scruffy, we weren't scruffy, but we were -

MR. NYE: Bumpkins.

MS. BROCK: Whatever. Folks from Seattle who had a dream. If the National Science Foundation had not come in at the pilot stage, I don't think the series would have happened.

Because for all practical purposes, none of us had a documented right to be there doing what we wanted to do. But it took a risk with us, and Bill will talk more about that later, and we will forever be grateful.

So we produced the pilot and Bill was about ready to go off on a biking trip because I had said, Bill, it's going to take a us a year to raise the money for the series. He was going to bike across country.

And all four of us got a series of telephone calls from somebody claiming to be from the Walt Disney Company. This was maybe three days after we'd finally finished the pilot and Bill had sent it to his agent, and we were convinced it was a friend of Bill's who was playing a joke on us. So we were actually slow in returning the calls.

MR. NYE: You know the guy on the show that goes, "Bill, I don't think that's going to work"? We thought it was him.

MS. BROCK: It was Pat Cashman playing a joke on us, and I was already to call Pat and say, you know, it's not funny. We've all worked very hard on this, and we've lost our shirts on it, you know. We've got a year of poverty ahead of us.

For you to pretend that you're someone from Walt Disney isn't funny.

Well, it was Walt Disney, and eight days later, the four bumpkins, with the support of the National Science Foundation, had a contract with Walt Disney to produce 26 episodes.

The first show was needed four months later.

MR. NYE: That's not very long in television.

MS. BROCK: But you know, it was all doable because the National Science Foundation and a few others had supported the pilot stage, and we'd taken a long time to produce the pilot, and we knew what we were doing. We knew what the show was about. We knew the rules of the road, and we had done a very good job doing the pilot, and we were ready.

And so five years later, after the pilot was finished in 1993, we had finished 100 episodes, which have continued to be distributed by the Walt Disney Company on weekends in syndication.

But they are also shown Monday through Friday on PBS, which means that in some very fortunate markets, the children of America, and obviously some adults, can see Bill Nye seven days a week, which we're all very happy about.

Once again, I have to say that the National Science Foundation played a critical role in that very unusual partnership coming together.

I won't say rules were broken, because they weren't, but people were very flexible in putting together that relationship between PBS, the National Science Foundation, and Disney.

And I think in retrospect, it was very successful for all three parties.

So in turning to, so you've done 100 shows, and the very important "who cares" question.

We were also very fortunate with the support of the National Science Foundation to be able to do some very good research, which has become increasingly important to the informal science education program, as well it should.

So over the last two seasons, we've tried some rather innovative, I think, testing techniques to try to measure what's the impact on learning of the Bill Nye series.

We've had some very interesting results, which I can briefly describe to you.

Then I'll turn it over and Bill can tell you all the fun stuff.

This last testing ground we decided we wanted to look at the impact of the show on what might be called habits of inquiry, not factoids, not recall, but more how kids are able to reason, to make guesses, and to integrate with materials and perhaps problems in more creative fashion.

It was very important to Bill, and Bill set the tone for this at the very beginning. It's important that the show be educational, but if it's not entertaining, no one's going to be around to be educated.

And he's very right about that, so we were always a bit concerned, as all of us were choosing schools for our kids that had very hands-on science programs, where inquiry was certainly an important part of the curriculum.

We were a bit concerned that for television, inquiry is kind of hard. It's kind of hard to show process in perhaps the most straightforward ways, or certainly in the ways that we would want our children to experience it in the world at large or in a classroom setting.

So it was with some reluctance that we turned our research mechanisms away from what we had been doing, where we had very solidly documented the show had positive effects on kids' attitudes towards scientists and kids' attitudes toward science, and even the facts of what they knew about science.

And we decided we wanted to look at how the material was engaging with them on a more of a process level, so we did some very interesting research.

We divided our survey group into three groups. We had a control group and then an after school group and of kids I think in boys' and girls' clubs, and then in class, the kids who were viewing the program in class

And we did pretesting of all three groups and established our base line.

Then after six months, one in school and one after school, had been put on regimens of watching Bill Nye.

I don't remember having that much fun when I was in school, but it was well-controlled because of the participation and cooperation of the schools and the teachers.

And in establishing the base lines, we had developed a series of hands-on experiments where we gave the kids various things. I'll give you one example.

We had two balls that essentially looked alike, and the evaluator dropped one and it bounced, and dropped another ball, and it did not bounce.

And said, what's going on here? And took a base line of the kids and measured certain things that we had worked with scientists and educators to sort of quantify habits of inquiry.

How many guesses, what kind of guesses did they put forward? How did they manipulate the material? Did they voluntarily take them, and that's always, as you can appreciate, difficult to quantify but I think we did some good attempts and did a pretty good job about doing that.

We established our base line, and then six months later came back and conducted the same group of hands-on experiments with the kids, and found that there was a statistically significant increase in the number of interactions and hands-on interactions and in the number of habits of inquiry in both the school and in school usage and after school usage, and no statistically significant increase in the control group.

Now this has been very interesting and we are trying to refine this research, and other actually producers of kids' shows and the NSF themselves are very interested in what we've done, and being able to perfect this so that it works well perhaps for other projects.

But it certainly, as both a parent and a TV producer, who is involved in thinking about science education, made we wonder what was going on here.

Here we have a show that is not ostensibly a show to model inquiry. It is not, and yet it seems, at least from our measures, something's happening. So that kids are somehow making more guesses, feeling freer about touching things, conducting their own little experiments.

And really in my own understanding of this, I really credit this to Bill, himself.

MR. NYE: Oh, go on.

(Laughter.)

MS. BROCK: I think that what kids, and probably most TV audiences, I hope, are pretty good about smelling is a fake, and Bill's no fake. Bill's enthusiasm for science, his understanding of it, and his dedication to coming up with creative ways to model it and to bring it to life in a television medium are very authentic.

And I think, just as Bill, himself, had teachers that inspired him, and you did, I think that's what has happened. That at least in this one small way, with our little TV show, we've been able to take some steps in terms of introducing what I would call a master teacher. And I hope that that has had some effect, and I think perhaps some small explanation of why we're seeing, perhaps learning in ways that we didn't l expect.

But I'm very happy to have been able to document, in some ways.

So I'm going to turn it over to now the master teacher, Bill Nye.

MR. NYE: Thank you, Elizabeth. I didn't know you were going to wax on.

MS. BROCK: There you go. My turn.

(Laughter.)

MR. NYE: Thank you very much.

So I'll just tell you a story from the old days. The people in the informal education, there's a guy named Hyman Fields, and I guess he works for you. He's down there somewhere.

The lavaliere of the boom is always a question in television, so early on, you must engage the viewer. You must get the viewer to interact with the medium in a way that is compelling and an intellectually stimulating heuristic process, okay, something or other. It's about this thick.

And we came up with this idea to put it on television, and then it says two words, it says try it, and people say, that's genius, how the devil did you, my god.

(Laughter.)

MR. NYE: We are at a loss for words. Simply, that's crazy. You can't try it.

I guess the old saying is, you ask the reporter to write the article in a thousand words to describe some event, and he or she writes the article.

Then the editor comes back the next day and says, sorry, it has to be 500 words. So it has to be half as long. And the reporter says, half as long. Well, that's going to take a little longer. It's going to be a great deal more work.

And that's the nature, I think that's the key to the show.

We distill these things we want to get across very, very carefully. We spend as much time up front as possible. And I have a couple of fabulous analogies that I would like to share with you.

For those of you who remember the Ford Pinto, the difference between a Ford Pinto or a Ford Maverick, a Chevy Vega, and a Honda Accord, there's hardly any difference in material or quality of workmanship. It's in the design.

If the design is no good, the people in the paint shop can work as hard as they possibly can. You're still going to get a Chevy Vega, which is not nearly as successful a product for evolutionary reasons.

(Laughter.)

MR. NYE: Do you want to pick up your sweetheart in a Chevy Vega, or a Honda Accord?

If you're the sweetheart, do you want to be picked up in a Chevy Vega or a Honda Accord? That's evolution right there. It's DNA right there.

(Laughter.)

MR. NYE: So the key to the success of the show right away is to try to figure out what you're going to get across, and the very important thing all the way through the show is not just what we know, but how we have come to know it, trying to create ways to show how we've come to know it.

The next thing I feel very, very strongly about, you know, there's a big move afoot in all of education to create, to use technology, to use information technology -- by technology in this case, I mean computer technology.

This is often touted as some panacea. This is going to make everything great. People are going to be able to learn calculus in half the time that it took me to learn calculus, because, by gosh, they've got these computer simulations.

And I just warn everyone, in a computer simulation, it is no trouble at all to make rain fall up, to make reverse transcriptase go frontwards. No effort at all.

There's no substitute, in my opinion, for physical models. Whatever the National Science Foundation can do to promote and provide educators with physical models that are what we call rehearsalworthy, that is to say, they work the first time and they work a couple more times -

(Laughter.)

MR. NYE: That's a very difficult thing. And I recommend whatever resources we can make available for that, we should make available.

Now I want to also say, Jim and Erren aren't here. Erren's a woman, and if you're going to spell it, it's E-R-R-E-N, a little bit unusual spelling. Nothing to do with that, way before my DNA was combined.

So they did a lot to make the show have the look that it has. They are especially good at choosing people who are also creative, who had kind of a wild look at it.

And I can't say enough about the crew. The people in our crew have worked very long hours to make the show have the best high quality as it is.

Our goal of the show, for those of you who were there last night, there are sort of three goals; make money, have fun, and change the world. That's our little thing, change the world.

So I had some excellent teachers, and I'm still learning science. And our goal in changing the world is to get more people scientifically educated, so in the future, we'll have more scientists.

So even if we're wrong about what we're trying to show on television, the future people will be able to figure that out and perhaps not mess it up.

What else was I going to say that was so interesting? Whatever we do in informal education, just try to be as succinct as possible and put the time in up front, because that's really the key to success.

Another thing I was going to say--and it is a comment--when I'm around National Science Foundation people, especially the educators, there is a tone that I hear a lot, not a space tone, a tint, a cast, an intimation that things that are risky are inherently good.

And there is a perception that corporations take risks on purpose, and that's true, up to a point.

But the example I would give you now is the Wright Brothers. When those guys flew the first powered flight, they really didn't think they were taking that big a risk or they wouldn't have done it.

They believed in it because they had thought about it perhaps more than other people, and did it for only 12 seconds. Let's just see, okay, okay, we'll try it again, okay.

And so the key to their success, in my view, is that they were passionate about it. I think the key to my success and the success of the crew is that we have a passion for it.

I believed from the get-go that my show would be successful, because what I thought I was going to do was show people stuff that was inherently interesting. To me, if something is interesting, you have the potential of being entertained.

And if you're entertained, there's the potential that you will not change the channel or not get renewed.

So when you look to take risks, I encourage everybody who makes these decisions to find somebody who is passionate about it. I think you'll find that both of the previous award recipients are pretty passionate people.

So, thank you for your time. I just can't get over this award. It's a big honor, and we're going to do our best to keep up the good work.

I'd really like to take some time and answer specific questions, because I know there has got to be something I left out.

Oh, yes, there is something I left out, sorry, excuse me. I really want to say--this came up last night a couple of times--I'm a mechanical engineer, aerospace, fluids, fluid mechanics, a lot of that stuff, love mechanisms, love bicycles, although right now, I admit, doctor, I am on a bit of a microbiology jag.

I think it's pretty cool.

DR. COLWELL: Good.

(Laughter.)

MR. NYE: Well, there is this chemical mechanism that makes it all go, you know. No wonder I watch--well, never mind.

It's on my DNA. No wonder I'm attracted to this, so it's fascinating. I make no distinction between engineers and scientists on the show.

I really believe strongly--and I'll argue with anybody in here, and by argue, I mean, connect a series of statements to establish a proposition.

(Laughter.)

MR. NYE: That engineers use science to solve problems, and scientists use science to learn about the world around them. A lot of engineers do very good science, and a lot of scientists are constrained to do engineering to get their experiments to work.

I just don't think it's in anyone's best interests to draw these artificial distinctions. I think you're going to drive everybody nuts.

It gets into this thing that it's way more productive to include people, especially passionate people, than to try to exclude them.

I just don't see any future in that. I really feel strongly about that.

I know this is called the National Science Foundation, promoting mathematics, science, and technology. But I don't think that mathematics, science, and technology-

DR. COLWELL: We have a great big engineering component.

MR. NYE: I just don't think it's that big a difference. The difference between math and physics is, the difference between physical chemistry and chemistry is--the difference between microbiology and bioengineering, okay, don't go too far down that road for reasons to divide budgets and stuff.

So, please have at it. Thank you again.

(Applause.)

DR. RICHARDSON: I have always been curious about the demographics of who watches Bill Nye.

MR. NYE: Elizabeth is an expert in this, but let me start by saying this show is nominally aimed at 10-year-olds.

For those of you who don't remember, that's people in fourth grade. The reason for that is that studies were done, very compelling studies were done that fourth grade seems to be--or ten years old is about as old as you can be to get excited about science.

It's probably about as old as you can be to get excited about anything. I know somebody is going to jump up and say, no, no, I was in seventh grade. Okay, seventh grade.

It's right around ten. It's not when you're 18, it's not when you're 28 or 48; it's when you're much, much younger than that.

The example I always give people is, ask your doctor, ask your physician, when did you want to be a doctor? And those people always tell you--he or she will say, I don't know, I was--I had a mouse when I was six, and I had a sunflower seed, you know. It starts very, very young. So, the show is nominally into ten year olds. But we have found that that is a pretty good level for everyone, and this is--if you read, the word everybody is using now is pedagogy.

In my opinion, by the time you're ten, you have a pretty good understanding of the world. The difference between a ten year old, to me, and a grownup, is the experience. Ten year olds have not been fooled by mirrors as often as grownups, some grownups, and grownups have driven a lot more miles and they have seen a lot more stuff, and grownups have accumulated a lot bigger vocabulary.

So the big thing that I always push is what I call DIV, discipline in vocabulary. Without discipline in vocabulary, you lose the viewer.

So over 40 percent of our viewers have ended up to be grownups, and we have a huge number of viewers who are three and two and a half.

That was never the intent of the show, so nominally, fourth grade, ten years old, almost half adults, and a very large percentage who are not in school at all or may be in preschool, but not in kindergarten through 12.

Elizabeth?

MS. BROCK: That's exactly right. Not quite 50 percent of the audience is 18 plus. Anecdotally, we have a pretty significant viewership, and that's not just parents.

There is a certain amount of co-viewing that's going on.

MR. NYE: Co-viewing is a t.v. term meaning grownups and kids who watch together.

MS. BROCK: But we have a very large viewership among college students who watch the show, and then among the children, it's splits of the 50 percent of children watching the show. It splits almost evenly between two to six and six to 11.

DR. RICHARDSON: How about socioeconomic background?

MS. BROCK: That's very interesting. We've been very fortunate to have both commercial and PBS distribution, and while there is some overlap in those two audiences, our research shows us that they are largely two distinct audiences.

In general, the PBS audience mirrors, perhaps, a little less well than commercial does, the ethnic makeup of the United States. So, in general, with PBS, you will see the audiences tend to be a bit more female, and a bit less ethnically diverse than the commercial audiences, where the Bill Nye audience does pretty much mirror the representation of the sample groups.

MR. NYE: I will tell you, anecdotally, too, thought, something I find especially gratifying.

There was a mandate from the National Science Foundation to include inner city kids. This was a big, important thing.

So, I was raised by Don Herbert, Mr. Wizard. I don't know if you recall the show, but he had a lot of hardware.

He had a lot of cool little metal e-hooks and plumbing fittings and relays and stuff in his demonstrations, and they were very compelling.

I liked to say he sent this country to the moon, but we were very careful to eliminate all materials you can't get in the inner city, so fancy hardware store glass lanterns were replaced with plastic bottles, and plumbing fixtures were replaced with pennies and stuff.

So when I am in public, the number of African American girls that come up to me and just love the show, still just drops my jaw. I mean, I'm of European descent, I'm just this dorky guy that was raised in this country, and I am--it just overwhelms me and literally brings me to tears.

I just can't get over the number of kids that are embracing the show, and I think the reason is, it's science and you don't need--its true for everybody. It doesn't matter who's showing it to you, if you can see it work for yourself.

So, I just really believe that since science is a human endeavor, we have to include all the humans, especially if half the humans are women like my mom. My mom is a woman.

(Laughter.)

MR. NYE: You have to include them.

DR. RICHARDSON: You just discovered that?

MR. NYE: When I found that out is when I have to say no comment. You should watch MTV, because they cover that, when people discover.

DR. WASHINGTON: One of the major problems is the scientific literacy of the public as a whole.

Do you have two or three suggestions of what the Foundation could do more of to increase that 7

MR. NYE: I would say informal education. You have to go-

MS. BROCK: I'm sorry, I have to catch a cab to go to Dulles, but I guess one thing that I would like to say is don't be afraid to introduce art to the science.

I have had the pleasure of sitting on a few different National Science Foundation panels, and have been able to be part of juries judging other people's work, which is always great revenge, after having spent many, many hours writing those proposals myself, and actually very educational.

And I would urge producers--because that's what I know, I know television--and the National Science Foundation to be willing to embrace art, the art of television, the art of entertainment or humor in the telling of science.

It is inherently funny, and it's inherently beautiful and poetic, and I think we get a little too worried about the judgement of our peers, and we get a bit serious to be authentic.

That would just be my comment, to let the beauty of it come through in the medium in which you're working.

Thank you very much. I'm going to leave you with Bill.

MR. NYE: Thanks, Elizabeth.

(Applause.)

DR. KELLY: One or two more questions, then we will have to move on.

Joe?

DR. MILLER: Just a general question, then a more specific one. How do you determine what subject matter you use; and, number two, is there any thinking about connecting the show in a way to something like the National Science Standards, and the big ideas in the National Science Standards?

MR. NYE: That's a great question. You asked about standards and how do we choose topics.

First of all, I'm just going to go for it. To me, there are three things in elementary science education:

There is planetary science, which is earth science and astronomy. There's physical science, physics and chemistry; and there is life science and life science is two things: It's what traditional biology--you don't use the word, biology in fourth grade because then you have to explain the word, biology. You say life science and life science is two things: general biology and biology about your body.

So if you watch our show, every third show is one of those three topics, and then every other of the third one is about your body, so it's eyeballs, digestion. Eyeballs is a big hit.

Digestion, bones and muscles, the brain, the brain is a good show.

And there's a big emphasis nowadays on multidiscipline. No, this is not interdisciplinary, this is multidisciplinary. You see, you know, with all due respect, you don't have the change that much. You don't have to rethink that much, if you say we're going to do these three things, and you address them.

We have done all manner of shows. We did a show on caves, we did a show on patterns, we did a show on nutrition.

But they are all divided, to me, in these three categories. This is based on not necessarily the science that I was raised on, or the science that James Maxwell knew, but a synthesis of the science standards that were available to us.

Notably, California used to have a very good one, and Texas had a very good one. We synthesized those and chose topics that we thought were suitable for television.

In each topic, we are very, very careful to have two or three of what we call learning objectives.

So in the dinosaur show, dinosaurs and people did not live at the same time. We want to get that across, and the other one is, we know dinosaurs lived because we found their fossil bones. That's it, that's it.

If you come to it and you get 65 million years and you get sort of a sense of how long, how astonishingly long that is, if you get some sense of potassium-argon dating of adjacent soils or something like that, that's great. But we want you to get those two things.

They are a result of sitting in meetings,discussing.

(Laughter.)

MR. NYE: A couple of things ! we're going to get across.

Now, I'll tell you that I think it would be great to have National Science Standards and to hold people to it. But the very, very difficult thing is, you get everybody and his or her sister who wants to be involved, and things become ponderous, and, with all due respect, unusable.

Now, as somebody who is making a product that we're trying to get people to watch, and to me, the measure of that is your ratings, that's it, you know. We might be doing great, marvelous work, but if nobody watches it, who cares?

So, what we do is, we have to synthesize the standards because they're just too onerous, there's just too much going on.

But I will tell you, anecdotally--not anecdotally. It's on the record, isn't it?

I think the AAS the American Association for the Advancement of Science Science Benchmarks are very good, and we use those. But they're kind of after our time. We work with other stuff.

So, it's a thing where the national government, the Federal Government, would then be imposing more standards. So what we need, in my view, is leadership. It's going to take somebody, some person, to get up and synthesize these standards, with all due respect, at some point, no, you shut up; this is what we're going to do.

And that's a very difficult thing, but I think it would be in everybody's best interest. The key thing then would be succinct standards and as few of them as possible, and then don't worry, teachers will make up more stuff to do.

They'll fill out the day. I mean, teachers have the kids right there and they will give them stuff to do. But I think it's in everybody's, in the national interest to have everyone at a certain minimum level.

I think we all agree, but we do it by debate. That would be the answer, the short answer.

DR. KELLY: We're going to have to move on. I see half a dozen hands up.

MR. NYE: I'll keep it a lot tighter. Just go ahead, and we'll snap off a couple.

DR. GREENBERG: I regret that I'm not an avid observer of your show. I think that you have done an incredible job in capturing the imagination of many, many young people.

I wondered if, beyond the capture of their imaginations, you alert them to the fact that once they proceed down this path, that precision, discipline, arduous work is necessary to accomplish their goals?

MR. NYE: No, we don't go into that, that arduous work is necessary to accomplish the goal, because I believe that what happened to me, if you're passionate about it, if you love it, if you find what I like to call the thrill of discovery, the joy of discovery, then working hard and arduously and carefully is not difficult for you, it's fun.

So that's a good question.

DR. KELLY: Anita?

DR. JONES: Given that the audience is ten year olds, what you didn't list as possible topics are mathematics and information science, encryption, fractiles. Can you address those?

MR. NYE: Well, let me just say that the state of the art at the time we were doing it, we did a probability show, which has quite a bit of math.

I mean, there are things you always regret, a little bit, as they say in country music, a little whiskey under the bridge there, you've got to let go.

And then we did a patterns show which has fractiles, and we tried something that worked pretty well.

We had these sort of higher concept sort of deeper learning objectives, sub-objectives, whatever you might call them, shown by kids, not by me, but by kids. That worked out okay.

And what was the other one? Okay, nobody leave this room.

Oh, yes, we did a computer show. I'll tell you, the guy who told me this was Carl Sagan, who said, whenever you're teaching elementary science, focus on pure science. Try to avoid technology because technology changes.

Focus on the science. But computers are so ubiquitous that we did a computer show. The way we got around it was, we talked about switches.

Early computers used relays, early computers used beads and switches, and so transistors are switches, and then CMOS and so on. We'll all be switches. So that worked okay, so we have addressed it in a way.

Al Gore is on that show, by the way. Al Gore is a government employee.

(Laughter.)

MR. NYE: Hi, Mr. Vice President, what are you working on. Well, Bill, I'm watching a lightening storm on Jupiter with my laptop computer.

I said, gee, Mr. Vice President, it looks like you can do anything with your computer. He says, well, Bill, I can't do anything because I'm the Vice President.

(Laughter.)

MR. NYE: Now, he loved that joke. When you get the commitment from somebody at that level, it's really good.

DR. GREENBERG: He followed your path, and he's now hosting Larry King tonight, as a result of his involvement with you.

MR. NYE: So my show took him to Larry King. Let me say, Mr. Vice President, be careful what you wish for. (Laughter.)

DR. KELLY: With that comment, I think some more of you have questions, but we're going to take a 15-minute break. You can ask them privately, and individually.

This has been both educational and entertaining. We thank you very much.

(Applause.)

(Recess.)

 

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