QUIRK: Ph.D. Students Explain their Research Using Interpretive Dance

By Brandon Hook 10-19-2012

Science students are known for their interpretive dance skills, right? Well, soon they might be.

For the last five years, Ph.D. students in science from all over the globe have been participating in Science's annual Dance Your Ph.D. contest. 

The rules of Dance Your Ph.D. are simple:

  1. You must have a Ph.D., or be working on one as a Ph.D. student.
  2. Your Ph.D. must be in a science-related field.
  3. You must be part of the dance.

This year's contest winner was Peter Liddicoat, a materials scientist at the University of Sydney Australia. John Bohannon, who created the contest in 2007, describes Liddicoat's entry:

Explaining a scientific Ph.D. thesis to nonscientists is never easy, even with words. Liddicoat's is titled "Evolution of nanostructural architecture in 7000 series aluminium alloys during strengthening by age-hardening and severe plastic deformation." But after 6 months of preparation, and the help of dozens of friends, he turned his Ph.D. into a burlesque artwork. The performance employs juggling, clowning, and a big dance number-representing the crystal lattices that he studies with atomic microscopy.

Hypothesis confirmed: these dances are pretty crazy.

Brandon Hook is the Online Assistant at Sojourners.

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