It’s a common problem. Someone asks you what your PhD research is about and after a few sentences their attention wanders, eyes glaze over and you might as well be explaining it to the wall. What you really need are a short, sharp sound bites – or how about a dance?
From its beginnings as a drunken party stunt, the ‘Dance your PhD competition’ is now in its fifth year and growing in popularity all the time with entries received from all over the world. The competition was the brainchild of Science reporter John Bohannon who videoed his friends at a party dancing their theses and put them online. The idea appealed to scientists worldwide and the contest took off. And according to the organisers at GonzoLabs,
While you’re at it, you can win $1000, achieve immortal geek fame on the Internet, and be recognized by Science magazine for your effort.
You also get a free trip to Brussells to be crowned champion.
PhD theses tend towards the obscure and their concepts incomprehensible to anyone but fellow scientists – the 2011 winning dance entry is entitled Microstructure-Property relationships in Ti2448 components produced by Selective Laser Melting: A Love Story, (?!) but after watching the video it’s easy to understand what the research is all about. Titanium, lasers and bone replacement, all in captivating stop-motion animation.
The winning scientist, Joel Miller, is a biomedical engineer from the University of Western Australia in Perth. So come on Victoria doctoral students, put on your dancing shoes and get creating – New Zealand needs to feature in 2012! Check out all the 2011 finalists, which include x-ray crystallography, the mating dance of a fruit fly and pigeon courtship. Apparently an earlier entry known as the ‘Bee Guy’ is also worth a look. Whatever’s next – boogie your BA?