It’s hard to explain your research to non-scientists. My PhD defense was preceded by a slide show (yes, that was once-upon-a-time that we didn’t use Powerpoint). It was the only part the public could follow a bit. But it is too long, static and detailed.
That cannot be said of these videos, where PhD’s from all over the world interpret their graduate research in dance form.
The videos below are the winners of the 2011 edition of the Dance your PhD contest. For the 4th year, this contest is organized by Gonzolabs & Science. See http://gonzolabs.org/dance/
There are 4 categories—chemistry, physics, biology, and social sciences
The overall winner of 2011 was Joel Miller (category physics), a biomedical engineer at the University of Western Australia in Perth. Miller apparently compensated his poor dancing skills and the lack of a video by applying stop-motion animation (stringing together about 2,200 photos to make it look as though his “actors” were dancing). His video shows the creation of titanium alloys that are both strong and flexible enough for long-lasting hip replacements.
I love the song by the way. It fits perfectly to the dance scene.
You can see all winning videos here and all 2011 (this years) PhD videos here. You can also check out the 2010 and the 2009 PhD dances.
The other winners of 2011 were FoSheng Hsu (chemistry category) who guides viewers through the entire sequence of steps required for x-ray crystallography, Emma Ware (social science) who studies the traditional ‘stimulus-release’ model of social interaction using pigeon courtship (a beautiful pas a deux) and Edric Kai Wei Tan (biology) with the funny dance about Smell mediated response to relatedness of potential mates, simply put “fruit fly sex”.
Being Dutch, I would like to close with the Dutch winner of the biology category in 2010, Maartje Cathelijne de Jong who dances her PhD, “The influence of previous experiences on visual awareness.”