The finalists in Science magazine’s 2013 “Dance Your PhD” video contest have been announced.
The idea of using interpretive dance as a PhD thesis may seem a bit…out there. But the dance videos are used only for “partial fulfillment” of the candidates’ PhD dissertations. And, there’s cash and prizes, not to mention “immortal geek fame on the Internet,” according to the Science news release, on the line. “The goal is to do away with jargon—indeed, to do away with spoken words altogether—and use human bodies to convey the essence of scientific research,” says the release, which also includes all 12 finalists for the contest’s sixth year.
Most of the 12 videos selected for popular voting are related to the social sciences. There is, however, one finalist related to materials science. It’s not ceramics, but Timothy G. Hunter of the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee made the top 12 with a video (screen capture above; credit: T. Hunter/Vimeo) aimed at further developing the Smith-Topper-Watson approach to understanding metal fatigue.
“This approach combines concepts from the stress-life and strain-life models,” Hunter explains in a brief text accompanying the video. “My dissertation recognizes that energy is needed to move grains along grain boundaries, break bonds, and open cracks in material.”
Hunter’s proposed “Energy Life Model” of fatigue “creates a relationship between strain energy and material life to fully capture the mechanism of failure of materials.”
Does the video capture the essence of his research? Judge for yourself, and vote for your favorite if you’re so inclined, here.