Scientists Experiment with Movement for "Dance Your PhD" Contest

Popular 2012 submission by Rianne t'Hoen

If “to dance is to live; to live is to dance,” then who better to explore movement than scientists, those inquisitors of life? This year marks the 5th annual international “Dance Your PhD” contest, sponsored by Science magazine. Those eligible are PhD candidates whose studies fit, if only loosely, under the contest’s categories of physics, chemistry, biology or social science. They must make video submissions. While the solo and group dance submissions are not limited to any particular genre, the goal is to express the significance of a PhD thesis through movement, so the style has been deemed “interpretive dance.”

Scientific ideas can get pretty complex for those of us who don’t frequent the library or laboratory. That’s why this contest works for everybody. Viewers of the videos might grasp a tricky concept once they’ve seen it presented from a different angle. Scientists, who engage in mostly left-brain problem solving, can embrace this opportunity for right-brain thinking and exploring a new art form. The winner of each category will be awarded a $500 cash prize, and the overall winner receives an additional $500. It’s safe to hypothesize that this marriage of science and dance will promote interdisciplinary collaboration and yield positive results, only to be replicated each year. Entries are due October 1, 2013. Click here to apply!

Take a look at last year's winning entry, about creating a strong but light aluminum super-alloy!

Photo: Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research

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