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Thesis Statement: I Will Dance My Advanced Degree

As a Ph.D. candidate, one of your main tasks is to conduct original research that makes you one of the world's leading authorities on the subject. But could you dance it?

It seems like there's a strange contest for everything these days, because even the Piled Higher and Deeper crowd can get in on the action. Case in point: A competition that lets Ph.D.s perform an original dance interpretation of their doctoral thesis for trips and prizes.

Science and AAAS recently sponsored the fifth year of the Dance Your Ph.D. contest. This year's winner is Peter Liddicoat, a materials scientist at the University of Sydney in Australia, who performed an original dance to his Ph.D. thesis entitled "Evolution of nanostructural architecture in 7000 series aluminium alloys during strengthening by age-hardening and severe plastic deformation." Yeah, say that five times as fast as you can. Shake it down to the alloy ground, Dr. Liddicoat!

Here is the performance that won Dr. Liddicoat $1,000 cool ones and a trip to Belgium to watch TEDxBrussels attendees watch his dance performance on the big screen. I hope he's not planning on trying to dance his way into a Ph.D. gig here in the States, where we currently have too many trained scientists for too few jobs. Still, congratulations! Nerd dancing rules.

I sure hope this competition doesn't slip down to the Master's degree level though, because your average, super-cool holder of a Master's degree likes to think he or she was smart enough to escape the Ph.D. route while it was still possible. Open the pod bay doors, Hal.


  1. Kristyn ArringtonJune 3, 2013 at 5:12 AM

    It was really amazing to see how they interpreted the thesis of Peter Liddicoat. Who would have thought that thesis paper can also be a good source of dance routine. And after seeing how good they are, I think they really deserve the prize. Just wondering what the other contestant did.


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