Dancing With the Scientists: Researchers Express Findings in Interpretive Dance

By Nina Bai | November 21, 2008 1:31 pm

danceWhat does it take to get scientists to dance? A Youtube contest, of course. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) announced yesterday the winners of its Science Dance Contest, which called on science graduate students, post-docs, and professors to create and videotape a dance about their research.

Out of 36 entries, the four winning dances used contorting bodies to explain protein-DNA interactions, neuron firing, hemoglobin, and the role of vitamin D in beta cell function. Other submissions ranged from ballet to tango, hoola-hooping to traditional Indian dance, as well as scientists just jiggying in their labs. View them all here.

The idea for the contest came from John Bohannon, a science journalist who started a Dance Your Ph.D. contest last year.

“What I noticed was that there’s always this tipping point with scientists where they all really have fun and cut loose. And it kind of goes against the stereotype of the scientist as the dry, nerdy pencil neck. And so I wanted to demonstrate to the world that scientists really can dance,” he said, adding that he hopes the videos will help scientists connect with the public by cutting out scientific jargon.

So what’s in it for the scientist-dancers (besides Youtube fame)? The winners will get a chance to work with professional choreographers and dancers to create a four-part dance that will be performed at the annual AAAS meeting in February and possibly a world tour— if they can get funding, says Bohannon.

Disco: You Can Dance if You Want to, You Can Learn from Different Bees

Image: Gonzolabs

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