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The "Dance your PhD Contest" 2010
Teachable Moment: Thesis defense? How about a Thesis dance! I don't know what surprises me more... that someone came up with this idea, that multiple people submitted... or that there are some real gems in here!
But I don’t know how to dance.
Nonsense. Everyone knows how to dance. And anyway, the judges will be looking for great ideas and great performances. You know a great idea when you see one. (It makes you say stuff like, “Ah ha! I get it! Cool!”) And we definitely know a great performance when we see one. It’s about emotion and stage presence, not being virtuoso. Consider, for example, the OK Go treadmill dance, the Numa Numa guy, and the prison Thriller video. And if you’re going for a more serious sort of dance, you can hardly do better than to emulate Pilobolus. Take a look at the Tips & Tricks page for how to make a good Ph.D. dance video.
I’m shy. Do I really need to be in the video?
Are you serious? Yes, the author of the Ph.D. thesis has to be one of the dancers.
I’m not a scientist anymore.
We still love you. If you completed a science-related Ph.D. sometime in your distant past, you’re in.
I’m an engineer/mathematician/economist/historian of science.
But I’m not even vaguely a scientist, and never was!
OK, that’s a problem. But not a deal-breaker. You just need to find a scientist friend and convince her to enter this contest. Then you can make a dance based on her Ph.D. She just has to be part of the dance. (Note: The prize still goes to the author of the Ph.D.)
OK, I’ll do it. But the only video camera I have is my mobile phone.
Yeah, that’s going to look horrible. Take a look at the Tips & Tricks page for how to make a good Ph.D. dance video.
Why do I have to put my video on Vimeo instead of YouTube?
You can actually put your video wherever you want. It’s your Ph.D. dance, after all. But to officially enter the “Dance Your Ph.D.” contest, you have to upload it towww.vimeo.com. Vimeo is a sponsor of the ISF Film Festival, which is where the “Dance Your Ph.D.” screening and award ceremony was in 2010. That’s the main reason. But it’s mostly arbitrary.
I totally just danced my Ph.D.! Now how do I enter the contest?
Congratulations! That was surprisingly fun, wasn’t it? OK, now you have to upload your video, and send us a link. Here are instructions and a form for doing that. You know you’re in the running when your video is added to the videos page.
How do I win?
Finalists for each category (Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Social Sciences) will be announced in September. A panel of judges will score each Ph.D. dance with 3 parameters: scientific merit, artistic merit, and creative combination of the science and art. Basically, to win this contest, you have to impress the judges. Some of them are scientists, some of them are artists. Your dance has to convey something essential about your Ph.D. research. Whatever that is, the judges need to “get it”. But you also have to make something that is fun to watch. Sure, it can be funny. But if so, it should also be impressively creative. And put some effort into the “Description” text for your video. This is really important. Steer clear of jargon. This is your one and only chance to nudge viewers (including the judges) in the right direction as they try to interpret your Ph.D. dance. It should be short, sweet, and easy to understand. Take a look at theTips & Tricks page.
When do I find out if I win?
TEDxBrussels needs to know who the winner is by 15 October so they can arrange for transportation to Belgium. So you’ll be hearing from us by email around then. Also, Science will announce the winners with much fanfare.