Dancing Scientist, Jeffrey Vinokur, featured in UCLA Magazine

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Biochemistry graduate student Jeffrey Vinokur explains how he combined his two loves: chemistry and hip-hop, in recent issue of UCLA Magazine.

Jeffrey’s “Dancing Scientist”, was a product of his passion for science and his interest in dance. What started out with personal YouTube video postings, led to a nationwide tour of his act. Jeffrey has performed on several television shows and at many festivals and events. When he’s not performing, Jeffrey is conducting research on biofuels in the lab of Prof. James Bowie.

From UCLA Magazine (by Hugh Hart):

The Dancing Scientist

Jeffrey Vinokur M.S. ’13 found a way to combine his two loves: chemistry and hip-hop.

Who says hip-hop and exploding chemicals don’t mix? Not UCLA biochemistry Ph.D. candidate Jeffrey Vinokur. Known to schoolkids as the Dancing Scientist, the edutainment superstar blends street-smart dance moves with spectacular lab demonstrations. “I was basically born a mad scientist,” says Vinokur, who grew up in New Jersey doing DIY experiments in his parents’ garage.


The Dancing Scientist Jeffrey Vinokur  (photo by Dan Busta) 

Then, in high school, he took a deep dive into hip-hop dancing. He learned moves from YouTube tutorials, then created a series of instructional videos — 23 million views and counting — that teach home viewers how to lock and pop.

Five years ago, Vinokur combined pyrotechnic chemistry with rubber-limbed choreography on America’s Got Talent, and his Dancing Scientist act took off. In one segment, he dances the “robot” while pouring acids and bases into vegetable dyes that change colors to the beat of electronic music. In another, demonstrating how car engines can operate on biofuel, he punctuates his slow-motion, body-popping moves with a literal “bang” by igniting ethanol-vapor-filled bottles with a Tesla coil device. These days, when he’s not appearing on TV shows such as The View or performing at schools, the 25-year-old doctoral candidate conducts biofuel research in UCLA’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Read full article here.

Visit Jeffrey’s website here.

Links to more articles about Jeffrey can be found below:

Daily Bruin article – January 2013 Headlining at Nebraska Science Festival – May 2013 Appearance on Discovery Channel Canada – December 2013 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship – April 2014 Appearance on National TV shows – October 2014, May 2014 ASBMB Today Feature – December 2014 OnWisconsin Alumni Magazine – June 2015