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I like science and I like dance.
So you can imagine my delight when I first learned of the Dance Your Ph.D. Contest, which was held in 2008. John Bohannon does a pretty good and thorough write-up in all of these links, so I’m not going to bother rehashing all the details. Below is a video of one of the winning dances. I’ve watched the dance at least five times and still think it is beyond awesome.
The contest was such a success that it was repeated in 2009, but this time with an amazing prize: the chance to pair up with a professional choreographer who would create a new dance from a peer-reviewed paper authored by the winning scientist. (Leading to the Science Dance Match-Up Challenge – more about that here and here.) One of the winners is below – her original dance is already quite bewitching. She clearly has a dance background – I see good turnout and pointed toes!
You could spend days watching Dance Your Ph.D. entries. Wonder if there will be a 2010 contest?
My Ph.D. thesis was on signaling in yeast cell polarization. I’m afraid that if I tried to create a dance inspired by my thesis, it would degenerate into a mosh pit. Seriously. One of the main ideas of my thesis was the dynamic, non-static nature of the polarity site, i.e. proteins moving around rapidly, attaching to and detaching from each other. Sounds like a mosh pit to me!
Despite all of these amazing performances, my favorite science dance is still the “free love” interpretation of protein synthesis, performed back in 1971 and directed by Robert Alan Weiss at Stanford. “GTP… woo!” Love it.