Creating digital content to share information has been more important and popular than ever over the last year, and Ph.D. candidates around the world have not help back on their work, their research, or their dancing.
This year’s “Dance Your Ph.D.” winners have been announced. From clouds to COVID research, scientists, are still dancing out their work to make it fun and accessible for everyone. From amateur dancers to experienced performers and choreographers, these dancers are bringing science to life with movement.
The judges which included dancers and choreographers from Pilobolus, Black Label Movement and Kinetech Arts; scholars from the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and artist Alexa Meade selected winners in physics, chemistry, social sciences, and biology categories as well as an overall winner and a winner for the new COVID-19 category.
Overall Winner, Physics Winner: Jakub Kubečka
Jakub Kubečka, Ivo Neefjes, and Vitus Besel are Ph.D. students at University of Helsinki in Finland where they study atmospheric sciences. Their dance and original rap on molecular clusters combines Jakub’s work on low energy structures with Ivo’s work in the fragmentation of those clusers and Vitus’ work on vapor pressures of organic molecules.
Chemistry Winner: Dr. Mik Minier
Dr. Mik Minier (AKA Dr. Robotnik) combines breaking and animation styles to show how methane monoxygenase operates and how structural components are replicated in research to understand the relationships between structures and reactivity.
Social Sciences Winner: Magdalena Dorner-Pau
Magdalena Dorner-Pau explores methods of teaching descriptions to elementary school children by testing performative teaching approaches (which might include dance!) to understand how we can bridge language gaps in education. To show this off, she dances with her own children in her “Playflul (De)Scribers” video.
Biology Winner: Julienne Fanon
Fanon Julinne’s doctoral thesis looks at the accumulation of plastic in the oceans and the consequences of things like microplastics and the chemicals they shed in the water. Her work explores the ways that the current impact of plastic pollution can continue to change and evolve over time. She danced her Ph.D. with choreographer Emmanuelle Ridé and dancers from Studio Vibrations who play plastic, the sun, and water.
COVID-19 Winner: Heather Masson-Forsythe
COVID-19 researcher Heather Masson-Forsythe looks at an essential protein in the genome of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and ways that certain treatments might target and disrupt that protein to disrupt viral replication. Along with her studying biochemical and biophysical studies, Heather is also a ballerina. She has been studying dance since she was 10 years old!
The overall winner received a $2000 prize while chemistry, biology, and social sciences received $750 each. The COVID-19 category winner took home her own $500 prize, too.