The 2009 AAAS/Science dance contest winners are announced

November 21, 2008

WASHINGTON, DC -- The results of the 2009 AAAS/Science dance contest are in. Using a sexy tango, a soulful modern dance solo, an exuberant mix of breakdance and ballet, and a folkdance-like piece for a quartet of begoggled dancers, four scientists have expressed their Ph.D. theses in dance form.

The dances are "ingenious and humbling," says Giulio Superti-Furga, director of the Center for Molecular Medicine in Vienna, Austria, and one of the judges.

The contest was organized by Gonzo Scientist, a.k.a. Science Contributing Correspondent John Bohannon, and builds on the success of his earlier "Dance Your Ph.D." competition. "This was an experiment," says Bohannon. "What happens when you ask scientists to express their research with nothing but music and movement? The results prove that there is an incredibly diverse solution set to this problem."

The new contest, international in scope, was open to anyone who has or is pursuing a Ph.D. in any scientific field. Applicants were asked to make a video of their own Ph.D. dance and post it on YouTube. A panel of nine judges, consisting of the three winners of the last contest, three scientists at Harvard University, and the three artistic directors of the dance company Pilobolus, has now selected the four winners.

These winning scientists will now work with professional choreographers to develop their published research into a full-scale dance that will debut at the AAAS Annual Meeting in Chicago in February 2009. Register now for the AAAS Annual Meeting to participate in the Dance Your Ph.D. performance in Chicago.

The winners of the 2009 AAAS/Science Dance Contest:

Category: GRADUATE STUDENT
Name: Sue Lynn Lau
Ph.D. Title: "The role of vitamin D in beta cell function"
Ph.D. Institution: Garvan Institute of Medical Research / University of Sydney, Australia
Date: 2010 (expected completion)
Current affiliation: graduate student, Garvan Institute of Medical Research / University of Sydney, Australia

Category: POST-DOC
Name: Miriam Sach
Ph.D. Title: "Cerebral activation patterns induced by inflection of regular and irregular verbs
with positron emission tomography. A comparison between single subject and group analysis"
Ph.D. Institution: University of Duesseldorf, Germany
Date: 2004
Current affiliation: Post-doctoral researcher, University of California, San Diego

Category: PROFESSOR
Name: Vince LiCata
Ph.D. Title: "Resolving Pathways of Functional Coupling in Human Hemoglobin Using
Quantitative Low Temperature Isoelectric Focusing of Asymmetric Mutant Hybrids"
Ph.D. Institution: Johns Hopkins University
Date: 1990
Current affiliation: Lewis S. Flowers Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge
The video of this dance can be viewed here.

Category: POPULAR CHOICE (with 14,138 views by the deadline)
Name: Markita Landry
Ph.D. Title: "Single Molecule Measurements of Protelomerase TelK-DNA Complexes"
Ph.D. Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
Date: 2011 (expected completion)
Current affiliation: graduate student, University of Illinois
-end-
The four winning video entries are available for journalists to use in their news coverage and are downloadable at the Science Press Package (SciPak) website at http://www.eurekalert.org/jrnls/sci/. Biographies of the judges are also available via the SciPak. Science publicly announced the four winners at 2 pm, US ET, Thursday, 20 November, at http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/. Further information about the contest is available at http://gonzolabs.org/dance/ or please contact John Bohannon, Ph.D., contributing correspondent, Science Magazine, at 1-617-852-0739 (mobile), or gonzo@aaas.org.

Science (www.sciencemag.org) is a leading international journal covering all scientific disciplines. It is published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world's largest general scientific organization. AAAS was founded in 1848, and serves 262 affiliated societies and academies of science, reaching 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of 1 million. The nonprofit AAAS (www.aaas.org) is open to all and fulfills its mission to "advance science and serve society" through initiatives in science policy; international programs; science education; and more. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert!, www.eurekalert.org, the premier science-news Web site, a service of AAAS.

AAAS is the world's largest general scientific society, dedicated to "Advancing science - Serving society."

American Association for the Advancement of Science

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