Dance Your Ph.D on YouTube

Sorry I haven’t had a lot of time to post! I’m still hanging out at my parents’ place for the holiday weekend, and will be boarding a bus tonight back to Boston. To make up for my silence, I hope you enjoy the greatest thing to hit YouTube since that histrionic gopher, or whatever: Science magazine’s Dance Your Ph.D contest! Here are the 2009 winners, which are mostly interpretations of biological processes. They’re fantastic, and below are two more I happened to really enjoy. The contest was open to all disciplines, so here’s a cool entry from an MIT student, about haptic (physical) communication between dance partners. I’m guessing it didn’t win because it was so literal . . . this easily could have been included in her thesis as an appropriate example of her research. Anyway, watch to the end and remember this is not choreographed and she is blindfolded:

And here’s a very amusing winner from the previous year’s contest, from the world of anthropology:

Search YouTube for other “Dance Your Ph.D” videos and waste away the rest of a rainy* Sunday.

Oops: forgot to mention, I originally found this via PZ!

*in New Jersey, and since I’m here it’s the only weather that matters

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky

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  1. @Freiddie: meaning that the steps have not been planned out beforehand. She is being led by her un-blindfolded partner, using only his physical touch to tell her where to go and what to do.

  2. How good is that! Did they have four judges and a dance-off? I imagine some sadistic external thesis supervisor making grad-students go through their Viva’s in the medium of Dance.

    On a similar theme, Science-Charades is always a laugh at xmas parties.

  3. I’ve never commented here before, but you’ve posted about something I know about, so…

    I’ve been doing Swing (the type of dance they’re doing) for about a year – really, really hard! My instructor occasionally gets us to close our eyes while dancing – in some ways, it’s difficult, because you have to trust the other person to not run you into a wall, but I’ve found that it’s also easier – in Swing, something can start out as one move and change into another, so sometimes I’ll screw up because I’m following the move I see, not the move I feel.

    They’re much better than me, though. That was still a seriously impressive video.

    And the second one was very amusing.

  4. I was very saddened that despite my urging, no entomologists entered. I may be forced to make a faculty entry next year.

    BTW, the winners get time with a professional choreographer and perform at the AAAS meetings!

  5. Bug_girl: “I was very saddened that despite my urging, no entomologists entered. I may be forced to make a faculty entry next year.”

    That’s because the mere thought of dancing to THE FLIGHT OF THe BUMBLEBEE is frightful.

  6. umm I just squealed when I saw that the first video involved Swing Dancing.. I’ve been doing it for a few years, so it amused me to see two of my favoritest things in the world combined. :D

  7. If I was going to dance my research, it would be about pheromones. No bees.

    I tried to figure out how to tie “I touch myself” to pheromones, but I got nothing.
    Maybe “London Calling” would work?

  8. Thanks for posting this, Rebecca. I particularly liked the first video since I’ve actually met Sommer Gentry. She’s an Asst Prof in Math at the Naval Academy. She and her husband (and partner in the video) are an amazing couple in many more ways than dancing! Much of their work focuses on the application of math to health care & medicine (his field). They have a web-site called Optimized Match on kidney-paired donation. If you’re interested, you can read more about them at It’s awesome to see folks so young and accomplished–too bad they didn’t win.


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