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Explaining Ph.D. science theses through interpretive dance

Break out your scientific dancing shoes. Ph.D. students from around the world show off interpretive dance versions of their theses.

Science dancers
Dancers demonstrate the properties of atoms in a lightweight alloy. Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Pick one: "Evolution of nanostructural architecture in 7000 series aluminum alloys during strengthening by age-hardening and severe plastic deformation," or "A super-alloy is born: The romantic revolution of Lightness & Strength." I'm betting you're going for the romantic revolution.

"A super-alloy is born" is the interpretive dance version of a Ph.D. thesis by Peter Liddicoat, a materials scientist at the University of Sydney in Australia. It's also the grand prize winner of Science magazine's Dance Your Ph.D. contest. The contest challenges Ph.D. students in the sciences to create interpretive dance videos to explain their theses.

Twelve finalists emerged from 36 entries, but Liddicoat took home the top prize. Other top theses that won recognition for their videos include "Governance of natural resources: Social Network Analysis and good governance indicators" and "Computational approaches in high throughput proteomics data analysis."

Those titles may sound a little dry, but the respective videos feature a hand-drumming tree and modern dancers swaying in the dark. Best of all, the dances make otherwise hard-to-grasp topics easily accessible to lay people. I now feel I have a pretty good understanding of how a super-alloy comes about.

If these dance videos get popular, it's probably only a matter of time before the big Hollywood remake comes along. I can't wait to get my ticket to an advance screening of "Step Up 5: "Multiactivity Wear Testing of Total Knee Replacements."

(Via io9)