Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Science Guy Turned Dancing Guy

Nye rocking a bow-tie at the Ohio State University in July 2012
There is a lot going on in science this week.  The Costa Concordia is being salvaged, this guy set his string theory dissertation to the tune of Bohemian Rhapsody and they found dinosaur feathers.  But by far the most exciting thing to happen in science this week is the debut of Bill Nye the Science Guy on Season 17 of Dancing with the Stars.  Last night Bill and pro partner, Tyne Stecklein, performed a Cha-Cha to Weird Science (of course, I mean, really, is there any other song that geeks are allowed to dance to?) and the world got to see a different side of this number one geek.

If you haven't had a chance to see team "Hot Knowledge" perform, watch this:

From a dancing perspective, his performance was questionable.  His background in swing dancing didn't translate well to the Cha-Cha and there were more props than dance steps.  Unfortunately the judges felt the same way and ranked him last of the celebrities competing for the coveted mirror-ball trophy.

From a science outreach perspective, his performance was awesome. The show kept with his public persona and instead of the standard tuxedo he had a blinged out lab coat and bow tie. In the original "rules" for the Bill Nye the Science Guy TV show it is stated that the host (Bill) will always wear a lab coat and tie. Guess that includes while dancing? In the intro he made several amusing science jokes and during the judge's (scathing) critique they all kept with the science them.  This is a wonderful way to bring some science to an audience that may not traditionally watch science shows.  It is great that a science guy can be seen as having enough star power to dance along side Snooki and Showgirl's Elizabeth Berkley.  Having a man who was an inspiration to so many budding scientists along side cast members from Jersey Shore and Glee is really quite an impressive statement about how Hollywood views science and science shows.

Hopefully the audience will vote for Bill to stay another week and we can keep watching his moves both on the dance floor and in the lab.  Maybe if enough people vote, science won't lose out to the cast of Saved by the Bell.

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