Wednesday, January 28, 2009

When scientists dance

I recently surfed into a fascinating competition sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. For the 2009 AAAS Science Dance Contest, entrants were asked to interpret their scientific PhD thesis topics using interpretive dance. The videos were posted on YouTube and the winners were chosen by a panel of artists and scientists (except for the popular vote, which was based upon the number of YouTube hits). The winners get to work with professional choreographers and will present their dances at the annual AAAS meeting in February 2009.

Of the winning entries, my favorite was Dr. Vince LiCata's entry about hemoglobin. In this video, the four dancers (dressed in blood red) represent the four subunits of a hemoglobin protein. The white balls depict oxygen molecules; the dance shows how the subunits handle oxygen molecules. And the sprinkles of glitter with the photographer snapping pictures remind us of how Dr. LiCata had to cool down the hemoglobin in order to study it.

Unfortunately, WMG disabled the audio to this clip not long after I finished this post. But let's face it, just the idea of a biochemistry professor dancing with his students is pretty fun. Congrats to Dr. LiCata and all of this year's winners!

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