Bill Nye the Science Guy Gears Up for 'Dancing With the Stars'

Bill Nye the Science Guy
Bill Nye the Science Guy. (Image credit: Helga Esteb /

Bill Nye the Science Guy is getting a rare chance to show off his out-of-this-world dance moves.

The scientist and head of the Planetary Society is joining the cast of the 17th season of the ABC show "Dancing with the Stars," which premieres Monday (Sept. 16).

Bill Nye is most famous for his educational television show, which aired from 1993 to 1998. Nye began his career as a mechanical engineer, but has transitioned over the years into science education, comedy and acting.

In a blog post, Nye said he was inspired to compete on the show to get the word out about the Planetary Society's mission of human space exploration.

Nye isn't the first geek to strut his stuff on the show.

In 2009 Apple founder Steve Wozniak shimmied his way through a dance number to "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet," but his performance was panned: One judge even described his moves as a "Teletubby going mad," CNET reported.

Buzz Aldrin, an astronaut most famous for his real-life moonwalk, also enjoyed a brief stint on the show in 2010, but was booted off after his waltz to "What a Wonderful World" failed to impress the judges. 

Will Nye be able to break the streak of bad luck for scientists on the show? Nye isn't exactly famous for his dance moves, as this video attests.

But perhaps Nye has a few tricks hidden up his sleeves (or pant-legs).

The scientist faces some stiff competition, including Snooki of the show "Jersey Shore" and Elizabeth Berkley, best known as a cast member of "Saved by the Bell," and the lead actress in the movie "Showgirls."

Follow Tia Ghose on Twitter and Google+. Follow LiveScience @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on LiveScience.

Tia Ghose
Managing Editor

Tia is the managing editor and was previously a senior writer for Live Science. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, and other outlets. She holds a master's degree in bioengineering from the University of Washington, a graduate certificate in science writing from UC Santa Cruz and a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Tia was part of a team at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that published the Empty Cradles series on preterm births, which won multiple awards, including the 2012 Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism.