Back in the day, back in the very embarrassing and incriminating day, my dear friend Kathleen and I would (half) jokingly enact interpretive dances of our molecular biology curriculum. It was akin to adapting song lyrics to your test material but much funnier and - this would be why we kept reverting to it - much easier to do successfully on less mental steam.
So imagine my delight in discovering that some genius out in Vienna has put together an honest to god “Dance your PhD” competition and had the wherewithal to post all the submissions online over at Science‘s website. Needless to say the dances are an exercise both in body forms as well as the varied and obscure forms that science’s underbelly of investigation can take ( PhD titles included the mouthfuls “mRNA stability regulation as a drug target” and “A spectroscopic study of the Blazhko effect in the pulsating star RR Lyrae"). Marry the two together and you have something both absurd, and touchingly beautiful.
My favorite however was the winner of the “Professor” category. Giulio Superti-Furga (in the middle of the trio pictured above on the left hand side) won for his trio’s riveting dance of his PhD “Transcription Factors Involved in Development and Growth Control.”
Now I had a vague idea of what this PhD topic meant. But that vague notion was dashed to pieces upon watching the dance. Now I’m convinced it’s all related to leap frog, factory workers doing a riff of the macarena dance and The Beatles Rubber Soul album. Oh well. It made for great viewing.
Especially when I found out that the lithe man dancing his heart away in the middle was none other than the CEO and Scientific Director of the Research Center in Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Check out how serious he looks in his profile picture. Just looking at him I feel like he’s staring me down all the way to my own very transcription factors and hijacking their use for growth control. Now check out how all together un-serious he is in his dance. See? See why scientists are great people???