Why would you want to write a PhD abstract when you could make it truly abstract -- through the medium of interpretive dance? For the seventh year running, Science magazine and the American Association for the Advancement of Science have challenged PhD students to do just that -- with the finest dance taking home $500 and a trip to Stanford University, California for a screening of the PhD dance.
This year, 21 entries were received, which the judges have boiled down to 12 finalists: three each in the fields of chemistry, physics, biology and social sciences. Each category also has a $500 prize for the best dance -- meaning the winning dance takes home a total of $1,000.
"The previous winners of the contest scored each of them on their scientific and artistic merits, and these 12 finalists made the cut," Science wrote. "Now it's a dance-off between the sciences, including a tango based on robot collision avoidance, an acrobatic spectacle based on soil ecology, and, in one of the most meta PhD dances ever, a hip-hop dance about the anthropology of hip-hop."
Other dances include Saioa Alvarez, whose thesis is on the use of high pressure homogenisation in order to reduce fat in emulsions such as mayonnaise; Hans Rinderknecht's dance (and thesis) about atomic behaviour during fusion; Ina Kirmes, who is studying the scarification of the genome caused by heart attack; and David Manzano Cosano's dance exploring the role science played in the European colonisation of the Pacific.
The 12 dances are currently before a judging panel, to be announced on November 3. The public, however, can also vote for their favourite by hitting up the Science magazine announcement.