Bill Nye the Science Guy may have danced his way into our hearts, but he won’t be bringing home the big prize on “Dancing With the Stars.” After injuring his leg in a previous routine, Nye gamely tried to rebound with a funky robot performance to a Daft Punk hit -- but to no avail.
On their first night before the cameras, Nye and professional dancer Tyne Stecklein performed a cha-cha routine that began with the Science Guy bringing his dancing partner to life on a laboratory set:
The judges weren’t enthused, however. But the real trouble trouble arose during last week’s paso doble routine. While performing the Spanish dance in a Beethoven getup, the Science Guy took a tumble (you can see it at about 2:48 in the video below):
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A checkup at the doctor’s office revealed that Nye had torn his quadriceps tendon, which runs along the leg from thigh to knee. Doctor’s orders: no dancing!
Nye and Stecklein attempted to work around his injured leg with a science-fiction inspired robot routine, which sadly couldn’t keep them in the game:
"What breaks my heart is Tyne [has to go home]," Nye said after elimination, according to People. "She's fantastic."
If you’re disappointed that your weekly TV fix won’t be supplying as many science-themed dances in the future, there are alternatives! John Bohannon, a correspondent for the journal Science, has challenged scientists to interpret their research through dance in yearly contests since 2008. (If you're a scientist, you still have until Oct. 21 to enter this year's contest!)
Some tidbits from last year’s “Dance Your Ph.D” entries include an offering from University of Illinois at Chicago graduate student Carrie Seltzer, who examines how seeds get dispersed from trees in the Tanzanian rain forest. In her routine, a dancer in a rat costume leads some seeds through their steps:
Last year’s winner in the chemistry section was Peter Liddicoat at the University of Sydney in Australia, who turned his quest to build super-strong alloys into a burlesque performance complete with unicycling, juggling, and dancing:
Brown University mathematician Diana Davis took last year’s top prize in physics (since there’s no separate math category) for her video, which explores “geodesic flow on regular polygons.” According to an interview with Science, the mathematics involved in Davis’ work describe a system kind of like a pool table with no friction, where the ball keeps bouncing off of walls forever. The same math also may have applications in a cosmological theory that hypothesizes our universe is shaped like a three-dimensional torus (a doughnut, basically).
To further slake your science dancing thirst, there’s also this classic 1971 video put together by Stanford University chemist Robert Weiss, who marshaled a horde of college students to recreate the process of protein synthesis: