State News: ‘Jeopardy!’ host Ken Jennings to headline Nebraska Science Festival (2/2/23)
Ken Jennings will chair the Nebraska Science Festival this spring.
OMAHA, Neb. — If the answer is Ken Jennings, the question is, who is the biggest “danger”? players of all time?
Jennings – who will headline the 2023 Nebraska Science Festival this spring – rose to fame in 2004 when he spent six months as a contestant on “Jeopardy!” His 74-game streak and $2.52 million in winnings are still alive “Jeopardy!” Records Today.
The Nebraska Science Festival — scheduled for April 1-30 — will offer a range of science and technology-related activities in communities across the state with the goal of making science accessible, interactive, relevant and fun for all ages.
On April 6, Jennings will present Artificial Intelligence: Are Humans in Jeopardy? as part of this year’s festival. The presentation is free to the public (but requires a reserved ticket) and is recommended for 5th graders and up. The 7:30 p.m. event will be held at Boys Town Music Hall, 13715 Flanagan Blvd., near the north entrance of the Boys Town, Nebraska campus.
During his keynote, Jennings will describe the behind-the-scenes look at his epic 2011 battle with IBM’s Watson, the super-intelligent supercomputer specifically designed to beat the world’s best players at Jeopardy!
He’ll also ask important questions for anyone interested in — or thanks to Hollywood, terrified of — the idea of ever-sentient machines that can think and learn rationally.
“Ken Jennings is a strong advocate for education and will engage audiences with his little things, behind-the-scenes stories of Jeopardy! and his love of geography,” said SciFest coordinator Kacie Baum.
Beginning March 6, general admission tickets to the Jennings presentation will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis at Event Brite (four per person); Visit nescifest.com for more information. Although the presentation is free, tickets are required to enter when doors open at 7pm on April 6th
A Seattle native, Jennings spent 15 years in South Korea and Singapore, where his father was a lawyer. The only lifeline of American pop culture back then was the Armed Forces Network, where he saw “Jeopardy!” every day after school and dreamed of being there.
Jennings later returned to the United States and led Brigham Young University’s successful quiz bowl team. During this time he began writing and editing questions for national academic quiz tournaments. He rekindled his dream of competing on Jeopardy! after noticing Quiz Bowl friends and acquaintances showing up on game shows to help pay off student loans or buy cars. In 2004 his own Jeopardy! was released. Fantasy became reality.
In 2020, Jennings was named the show’s “Greatest of All Time” after winning a prime time tournament against legendary champions James Holzhauer and Brad Rutter, earning an additional $1 million. In 2022, he signed on as a permanent co-host for the show with Mayim Bialik. The author of 12 books, he also stars on ABC’s hit game show The Chase, Master Minds on Game Show Network, and co-hosts the twice-weekly podcast Omnibus.
Past SciFest speakers have included scientist Bill Nye; Animal Planet host and conservationist Jeff Corwin; meteorologist and extreme storm chaser Reed Timmer; actor LeVar Burton, who spoke about the merging of technology, storytelling, and science fiction; Kari Bryon, host of Discovery Channel’s “Mythbusters” and “The White Rabbit Project” on Netflix; and the late Grant Imahara, an electronics and robotics expert from “Mythbusters”.
Presented by the University of Nebraska Medical Center, the Nebraska Science Festival is a collaboration of organizations and individuals interested in advancing science literacy. Other sponsors besides UNMC so far are Boys Town, Metro Credit Union and the media sponsor KETV.
In addition to NeSciFest.com, you can find SciFest updates and information on Twitter (@NESciFest) and Facebook (NE SciFest).