The Gonzo Scientist

In this occasional online series, Science contributing correspondent John Bohannon takes a look at the intersections among science, culture, and art -- and, in true gonzo style, doesn't shrink from making himself a part of the story. The stories include original art and accompanying multimedia features. To learn more about the projects and events related to these stories, visit the Gonzo Labs.

Announcement: 2011 Dance Contest

Announcement: Calling All Dancing Scientists! (2 September 2011) >
Call your labmates, get the video camera, and leave your fear of Internet fame behind. It's time to dance.

The Science Hall of Fame

Episode 14: The Science Hall of Fame (14 January 2011) >
The frequency with which names appear in books has been used to create a pantheon of the most famous scientists of the past two centuries.

Why Do Scientists Dance?

Episode 13: Why Do Scientists Dance? (5 November 2010) >
To cap off the 2010 "Dance Your Ph.D." contest, the Gonzo Scientist explores the history of science dances and asks the contestants how online geek fame has affected their lives—for better or worse.

Announcement: 2010 Dance Contest

Announcement: Calling All Dancing Scientists! (4 June 2010) >
Call your labmates, get the video camera, and leave your fear of Internet fame behind. It's time to dance again.

Episode 12: Galileo in Senegal

Episode 12: Galileo in Senegal (16 April 2010) >
The Gonzo Scientist travels to Senegal with an astrophysicist to deliver the universe to remote villagers.

Episode 11: Do Scientists Like Green Porno?1

Episode 11: Do Scientists Like Green Porno? (25 September 2009) >
The Gonzo Scientist introduces a group of researchers to Green Porno, a series of cartoonlike vignettes about the sex life of animals, and asks them what they think of seeing their discoveries transformed into sexy art.

Announcement: Results from the Science Dance Match-Up Challenge

Announcement: Results from the Science Dance Match-Up Challenge (5 June 2009)>
How well did you do in the Science Dance Match-Up Challenge? Compare yourself to the hundreds of other people around the world who tried to guess which of four research papers inspired which of four modern dances commissioned by AAAS.

Episode 10: The Science Dance Match-Up Challenge

Episode 10: The Science Dance Match-Up Challenge (17 April 2009)>
Can science-turned-art be turned back into science? The Gonzo Scientist asks readers to view the final output of the 2009 AAAS/Science Dance Contest and see if they can figure out which dance was based on which scientific research article (with videos).

Episode 9: Gourmet Food, Served by Dogs

Episode 9: Gourmet Food, Served by Dogs (20 February 2009)>
Starting with a dog-led truffle hunt and ending with a dog food taste-test, the Gonzo Scientist takes a real-world tour of hedonics (with audio slideshow).

Episode 8: Flunking Spore

Episode 8: Flunking Spore (24 October 2008)>
In this article, the Gonzo Scientist explores the computer game Spore and how it scores on its scientific themes.

Announcement: 2009 Dance Contest

Announcement: Calling All Dancing Scientists! (10 October 2008)>
If you missed this year's "Dance Your Ph.D." contest, act fast: The deadline to enter the 2009 contest, for which the stage will be much larger and the prize far grander, is 16 November 2008.

Episode 7

Episode 7: How Astronomers Have Fun (and Nearly Die Trying) (5 September 2008)>
The Gonzo Scientist risks life and limb to reach the Gobi Desert in time to help rescue the sun from being swallowed by the dragon-god Rah.

Episode 7

Episode 6: Slaying Monsters for Science (20 June 2008)>
The first scientific conference held in Azeroth, the online universe of the role-playing game World of Warcraft, went off virtually without a hitch. Although the participants all died during the final day's social event — a massive raid on an enemy fort — they agree that this event is a glimpse at the future of scientific exchange.

Episode 6

Announcement: Scientists, We Need Your Swords! (18 April 2008)>
Put on your tabard and join troll huntress Gonzorina (a.k.a. the Gonzo Scientist) and her fearsome pet, Darwin, at the first scientific conference in World of Warcraft, to be held 9 to 11 May.

Episode 5

Episode 5: Play It Again, Robot (21 March 2008)>
One advantage robot musicians have over humans, the Gonzo Scientist learns in this installment, is that they don't need coffee breaks. But both types of performers share one problem: "If you ignore your audience, they ignore you."

Episode 4

Episode 4: Can Scientists Dance? (15 February 2008)>
An experimental DJ uses a DNA sequencer to make club music. It inspires the Gonzo Scientist to host the first-ever "Dance Your Ph.D." contest to answer the question, "Can scientists dance?"

Episode 3

Episode 3: The Gonzonaut Goes to Mars (14 December 2007)>
In this installment, our intrepid Gonzo Scientist slips the surly bonds of Earth (well, sort of) and learns that a space suit may not be the best choice of attire when attempting to sneak uninvited into a scientific meeting. [Extras: The article includes a video clip from Austrian TV on John Bohannon's adventure in "space." You can also listen to more about his odyssey in an audio snapshot.]

Episode 2

Episode 2: Happy 300th Birthday, Linnaeus (2 November 2007)>
In addition to inventing modern taxonomy, Carl Linnaeus published works on the origin, preparation, serving, and health effects of food. To celebrate the 300th anniversary of Linnaeus's birth, the Gonzo Scientist spends 3 days in Sweden sampling recreations of 18th century meals, from peasant food to a royal banquet. [Extra: In an audio slideshow, Bohannon takes guests on a Linnean food tour.]

Episode 1

Episode 1: A Summer Camp for Grown-Up Geeks (14 September 2007)>
"Summer camps" focused on science and technology themes have been sprouting everywhere in recent years. At Toronto's "Idea City," Bohannon provides an intimate look at what happens when grownups go back to camp. [Extra: In an audio slideshow, Bohannon provides a tour of some of the sites and sounds of IdeaCity.]