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Geek Love: 30 Nerd Sex Symbols

Astrophysicists and sci-fi TV icons, comic-book obsessed porn stars and Cylons: these are the men and women that are likely to up the BPM of the Geek Nation’s pulse

Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection; Frank Ockenfels/AMC; Brian Bowen Smith/FOX

The phrase "Nerd Sex Symbols" usually refers to one of two things: Smart celebrities who get the pulse racing; or sci-fi characters and superheroes who inspire NSFW fan-fiction and beaucoup cosplay among nerds and nerdettes. (George Clooney is hot, but how many people do you see dressed up like him at Comic-Con? The Walking Dead's hillbilly hunk Daryl Dixon, on the other hand….) There are legendary characters from intergalactic sagas and fantasy epics that we all love, sure. But there are also actors who obsess over comics, astrophysicists with swagger, jocks who love gaming, and babes and hunks whose knowledge of Middle Earth, mathematic theory, and how a TARDIS works can put the average fanboy to shame. Being a geek isn't just cool these days. It's downright white-hot.

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With that in mind, we decided to combine the best of both worlds (Universes? Galaxies?) to come up with a definitive list of the most alluring — conventionally or not — movie stars, scientists, robots, alien warriors, tech gods, comedians, wizards, zombie killers, musicians, and more. By Dan Reilly

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April O’Neil

It doesn't take a unique porn actress to star in Game of Bones or other adult-film parodies, but April O'Neil comes from a legit geek background. Her stage name is taken from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' best pal, she goes to Comic-Con as a fan, and has an obsession with Doctor Who. Lots of geeks fantasize about porn stars; O'Neil, however, may be one of the few triple-X performers they'd actually run into in line for a panel on sci-fi TV shows or at a TARDIS exhibit.

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Chris Kluwe

Punters are rarely remembered for their on-field contributions, and while Kluwe had some solid seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, the retired NFL player will always be known for his vocal, sometimes vulgar, support of same-sex marriage and other no-brainer civil rights. Case in point: In an open letter, he told one homophobic politician that gay couples "won't magically turn you into a lustful cockmonster." An obsessive gamer – his Twitter name is @ChrisWarcraft – Kluwe recently found a way to, ahem, marry both causes in one tweet that referenced a newly struck-down marriage ban and  the classic computer program Oregon Trail: "This makes up a little bit for dying from dysentery so many times."

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Jesse Eisenberg/Michael Cera

We couldn't decide which of these talented kings of the beta-males to include — so we're putting them both on this list. While both have range, Cera may have the edge when it comes to comedy thanks to Arrested Development, while Eisenberg wins out for drama on the strength of The Social Network. Cera might be too soft to play Zuckerberg and Eisenberg is too severe to play George Michael, but each of them have that vulnerable, offbeat vibe that makes them simultaneously appealing and versatile.

Dave M. Benett/VF14/WireImage

Harrison Ford

The ruggedly handsome star would be a strong contender for any sex-symbol list, really, but when it comes to the world of serious nerdom, Ford may be the sexiest man alive — the George Clooney of the Geek Nation. If the star has one character that he can call his own, it's the gritty hero who's in it for the gold, whose heart gets the best of him for better or worse, and who gets the job done while trying to avoid the glory. He's also got a wisecrack or a too-cool-for-school remark at the ready: A princess says he loves him as he heads into a cryogenic prison and he replies, "I know." That takes almost as much courage as crawling through a pit full of snakes or fighting off Daryl Hannah and Rutger Hauer. Almost.