Biography:Jeffrey Vinokur

From HandWiki
Short description: American science educator and entertainer
Jeffrey Vinokur
Dr. Jeff Vinokur Hosts Educational Science Videos 02.jpg
Vinokur hosting a science show (2019)
BornAugust 24, 1990 (1990-08-24) (age 31)
Montvale, New Jersey
Other namesDr. Jeff, The Dancing Scientist
EducationPhD, Biochemistry (UCLA)
OccupationScience Communicator, Scientist, Entrepreneur
Years active2010-Present
Known forPopping, science demonstrations, hosting
Scientific career
ThesisDiscovery of a novel mevalonate pathway and its potential to produce biofuels.

Jeffrey Vinokur (born August 24, 1990), who also goes by Dr. Jeff[1][2] and The Dancing Scientist,[3] is an American scientist, science communicator and entrepreneur known for hosting over 100 episodes of educational science shows used in classrooms in the United States .[4][5] As of November 2021, the educational streaming video platform he created is used in 30% of all schools in America.[6]

He is also known for combining the hip hop dance genre of popping with live science demonstrations. He has performed on Good Morning America,[7] The Today Show,[8] The View,[9] Rachael Ray,[10] America's Got Talent,[11] and Discovery Channel,[12] as well as at the World Science Festival,[13] Smithsonian Institution,[14] and the USA Science and Engineering Festival.[15][16]

Early life

Jeffrey Vinokur was born in 1990 to Russian immigrant parents and attended Montvale Public Schools.[17] His early interest in science was fueled by doing kitchen science experiments in elementary school, which later progressed to creating a chemistry lab in his parent's garage at age 14, where he would do amateur experiments like making sodium metal from household supplies.[17] Vinokur began conducting biochemistry research at age 15 at Rutgers University.[18]

While a senior at Pascack Hills High School,[11] he began learning the hip-hop dance genre of "popping" through online videos and DVDs.[15] He later traveled to New York City to take classes from leading practitioners of the dance style such as Jazzy J of The Electric Boogaloos.[19] Afterwards he began posting dance tutorials on YouTube under the username "TheRussianTiger,"[19] and the videos have since garnered millions of hits.[11][17]

Vinokur first combined science and dance together while attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison as a biochemistry major where he conducted biofuels research.[20] He received guidance from UW-Madison chemistry professor Bassam Shakhashiri, UW-Madison physics professor Clint Sprott, and lecture demonstrator Jim Maynard. The performance was later premiered on America's Got Talent in 2010.[21][22]


TV & Media Appearances

Vinokur premiered as "The Dancing Scientist" on the fifth season of America's Got Talent where he successfully placed in the Top 100 acts out of 70,000 auditions.[23][24][19][25] The America’s Got Talent appearance lead to Vinokur hosting a monthly science segment on the local CBS News in Madison, Wisconsin beginning in 2011.[19][26] The local news appearances lead to him co-hosting a series of science segments on the Discovery Channel (Canada) show Daily Planet in 2012.[12]

In 2014, Vinokur began performing science demonstrations on national TV talk shows, with appearances on The Today Show,[8][27] The View,[9] Rachael Ray,[10] The Queen Latifah Show,[28] Fox & Friends,[29] Home & Family,[30] AMHQ With Sam Champion,[31] as well as internationally on "Nippon-yo! Sekai-wo Taose! FUJIYAMA," a show on Fuji TV in Japan.[32]

In 2020, Vinokur appeared in a Super Bowl commercial for TurboTax[33] and hosted educational science content for Walmart.[34]

Live Shows

Vinokur’s stage show called “So You Think You Can Do Science?” has been performed at the World Science Festival,[35] Liberty Science Center,[17] Maryland Science Center,[36] Saint Louis Science Center,[19] USA Science and Engineering Festival,[15] Caltech,[37] Singapore Science Festival, Smithsonian Institution, and toured over 400 schools nationwide.[38][39][40]

Generation Genius

In 2017, Vinokur founded and became CEO of Generation Genius, Inc. The educational technology company produces educational videos in partnership with the National Science Teaching Association.[2]

Generation Genius raised $2.7 million in seed funding which included contributions from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and over $1 million raised from equity crowdfunding.[41][42][6][2]

Vinokur hosts 3 original series on the platform, consisting of over 100 episodes, covering science topics taught in grades K-8 science.

In 2020, Pitchbook ranked Generation Genius #2 on its list of "50 Hottest Startups in LA."[43] As of Nov 2021, Generation Genius videos, hosted by Dr. Jeff, as used by 3 million students each week with subscriptions in more than 30% of all elementary schools in the United States.[6]

Scientific Research

Vinokur received a PhD in "Biochemistry, Molecular and Structural Biology" from UCLA in 2017.[44] During his graduate studies, he published research on the discovery of new enzymes, protein structures and a new biochemical pathway in ancient bacteria that grow in some of the most extreme conditions on Earth.[45][46][47]

His research shows how some enzymes are able to work in harsh conditions and how they can potentially be modified to produce biofuels.[48] For his research, Vinokur is a recipient of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, NIH-UCLA Chemistry Biology Interface Fellowship, and Audree Fowler Award in Protein Science.[49][44]

Personal life

Vinokur has stated publicly that he almost never uses personal social media despite having a career working in media and multiple verified accounts. In an interview, he states, "I'm not active on a personal level on social media... I don't want to be spending time thinking of interesting things to say and taking pictures of my food... I just want to eat quick and get back to growing Generation Genius to reach as many kids as possible."[50]

See also


  1. "DR. JEFF". Retrieved 28 December 2020. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Fox, MeiMei. "Generation Genius Is Disrupting EdTech With Its Engaging STEM Series For Classrooms" (in en). 
  3. "THE DANCING SCIENTIST". Retrieved 28 December 2020. 
  4. "Dancing Scientist". Academic Entertainment. Archived from the original on 2011-07-14. Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  5. "Dancing Mad Scientist Will Be at Science Center". Fox 2 News. May 20, 2011. Archived from the original on October 6, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Nadeem, Mehr. "How a pair of startup founders made their first million dollars after being rejected by 500 investors" (in en-US). 
  7. America, Good Morning (in en), ‘Generation Genius’,, retrieved 2021-12-27 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "NBC Today Show, 5-23-2014". NBC News. May 23, 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-19. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 "ABC The View". ABC Studios. June 27, 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-19. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 "The Rachael Ray Show: 10-13-2014". The Rachael Ray Show. October 13, 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-19. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Forster, Stacy (September 15, 2010). "UW-Madison student mixes passions for science, dancing". University of Wisconsin-Madison. Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Daily Planet: December 5, 2012". Daily Planet. 2012-12-05. Retrieved 2013-01-12. 
  13. "NYU to Host Fourth Annual World Science Festival Events—June 1-5". 
  14. "Jeffrey Vinokur Performance". Smithsonian Institution. July 2012. Retrieved 2013-01-12. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Ariana Ricarte,"‘Dancing Scientist’ performs to have kids follow in his steps". 9 May 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2020. 
  16. "2012 Science and Engineering Festival". National Academy. April 2012. Retrieved 2013-01-12. 
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 "Science Onstage". Grow. Summer 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  18. Lally, Robin (June 2012). "Rutgers’ Waksman Scholar Uses Hip Hop to Ignite the Joy of Science in Youth". Rutgers. Archived from the original on 2013-05-14. Retrieved 2013-01-12. 
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 "Interview with Jeffrey Vinokur/The Russian Tiger/Dancing Scientist". DancersGlobal. Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  20. Worland, Gayle (November 20, 2010). "Madison Dance Conference to feature free lessons and performances". Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  21. "Jeffrey Vinokur". 30 August 2011. Retrieved 28 December 2020. 
  22. "America's Got Talent". Retrieved 28 December 2020. 
  23. Parkzer, Adam (December 11, 2010). "Dancing Mad Scientist Jeffrey Vinokur at Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery". The Badger Herald. Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  24. Ricks, Thomas (May 20, 2011). "Pictures: Dancing Mad Scientist". CW 11 News, Saint Louis. Archived from the original on May 24, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  25. Donaldson, Kevin (July 16, 2014). "Q&A: Jeffrey Vinokur, The Dancing Scientist". Young Hollywood. Retrieved 2014-10-19. 
  26. "Video: UW Students Gives Tips About Chemistry of Cooking". CBS News, Madison, Wisconsin. March 4, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  27. "NBC Today Show, 9-30-2014". NBC News. Sep 30, 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-19. 
  28. "CRAZY AWESOME SCIENCE COURTESY OF THE DANCING SCIENTIST!". The Queen Latifah Show. August 4, 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-19. 
  29. "Fox News Channel, Fox & Friends, 5-23-2014". Fox News Channel. April 19, 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-19. 
  30. "Hallmark Channel, Home & Family Show,". Hallmark Channel. April 1, 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-19. 
  31. "AMHQ W/ Sam Champion, 7-11-2014". The Weather Channel. July 11, 2014. Archived from the original on November 7, 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-19. 
  32. "坂上忍「『フジヤマ』は、“総合格闘技”なんだと思います」" (in ja). 
  33. "TurboTax Super Bowl 2020 TV Commercial, 'All People Are Tax People' Featuring Keith L. Williams". Retrieved 28 December 2020. 
  34. "Camp by Walmart". Retrieved 28 December 2020. 
  35. Ferri, Amanda (May 18, 2011). "World Science Festival Hosts Family Street Fair". NearSay. Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  36. Stein, Betsy (June 9, 2011). "Watch a mad scientist and more at Carnival Science Days at Maryland Science Center". Maryland Family Magazine. Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  37. "Jeffrey Vinokur, The Dancing Scientist: So You Think You Can Do Science". 1 April 2016. Retrieved 28 December 2020. 
  38. "National Tours". Retrieved 26 December 2020. 
  39. "Singapore Science Festival 2014: Science Rocks!". 18 July 2014. Retrieved 26 December 2020. 
  40. "Be Rock Star Singapore Science Fest". Retrieved 28 December 2020. 
  41. "UCLA Graduate Students Featured Generation Genius Video". 15 October 2020. Retrieved 28 December 2020. 
  42. "Generation Genius, Inc". Retrieved 28 December 2020. 
  43. Ben Bergman,"Here Are the dot.LA/PitchBook 50 Hottest Los Angeles Startups for Q2". 3 August 2020. Retrieved 28 December 2020. 
  44. 44.0 44.1 "UCLA Electronic Theses and Dissertations: Jeffrey Vinokur". 
  45. Jeffrey M. Vinokur, Matthew C. Cummins, Tyler P. Korman & James U. Bowie,"An Adaptation To Life In Acid Through A Novel Mevalonate Pathway". Retrieved 28 December 2020. 
  46. Jeffrey M. Vinokur, Tyler P. Korman, Zheng Cao, and James U. Bowie,"Evidence of a Novel Mevalonate Pathway in Archaea". Retrieved 28 December 2020. 
  47. Jeffrey M. Vinokur Tyler P. Korman Michael R. Sawaya Michael Collazo Duillio Cascio James U. Bowie,"Structural analysis of mevalonate‐3‐kinase provides insight into the mechanisms of isoprenoid pathway decarboxylases". 25 November 2014. Retrieved 28 December 2020. 
  48. Vinokur, Jeffrey Vinokur,"Discovery of a Novel Mevalonate Pathway and its Potential to Produce Biofuels". Retrieved 28 December 2020. 
  49. "Street-dance scientist: CALS alumnus Jeff Vinokur brings science to the masses". 20 July 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2020. 
  50. Dave Schlom and Matt Fidler,"Blue Dot 192: Mr. Wizard for Generation Z: A Conversation With Jeff Vinokur". 20 October 2020. Retrieved 28 December 2020. 

External links