Finnish researcher Jakub Kubecka received this yr’s Dance Your PhD contest with a rap-based dance impressed by his work on the physics of atmospheric molecular clusters.

The worldwide pandemic ruined most of our plans for 2020, nevertheless it could not maintain graduate college students all over the world from setting their thesis analysis to bounce, submitting movies produced in strict adherence to native COVID-19 restrictions. With slightly assist from his mates, Ivo Neefjes and Vitus Besel, Jakub Kubecka, a Finnish graduate scholar, received with a rap-based dance in regards to the physics of atmospheric molecular clusters. Incorporating pc animation and drone footage, Kubecka beat out 40 different contestants to take prime honors, in addition to profitable the physics class.

As we have reported beforehand, the Dance Your PhD contest was established in 2008 by science journalist John Bohannon. It was beforehand sponsored by Science journal and the American Affiliation for the Development of Science (AAAS), and is now sponsored by AI firm Primer, the place Bohannon is director of science. Bohannon instructed Slate in 2011 that he got here up with the concept whereas attempting to determine learn how to get a bunch of stressed-out PhD college students in the midst of defending their theses to let off slightly steam. So he put collectively a dance get together at Austria’s Institute of Molecular Biotechnology, together with a contest for whichever candidate might greatest clarify their thesis subjects with interpretive dance.

The competition was such a success that Bohannon began getting emails asking when the following such contest can be—and Dance Your PhD has continued ever since. It is now in its thirteenth yr. There are 4 broad classes: physics, chemistry, biology, and social science, with a reasonably liberal interpretation of what subjects fall beneath every.

Through the years, the standard of the movies has improved a bit—Bohannon recalled the primary yr’s profitable video simply had a postdoc chasing after a few graduates to reveal mouse genetics—as have the prizes supplied. The general winner now will get $2,000 (a princely sum for many grad college students), together with a little bit of geek glory, with the person class winners snagging $750 every. The winner of the COVID-19 dance waltzed away with $500.

In response to Kubecka, he co-wrote the music for his video with Neefjes and Besel and initially balked on the prospect of singing/rapping himself. “To arrange for recording the lyrics, I used to be working with headphones enjoying the music not less than 30 occasions per day for the entire month to get it into my blood,” he mentioned. “I feel that I even dreamed about it.” As soon as the music was recorded, and the dance choreographed, they needed to get permission to movie the accompanying video—simply because the COVID-19 state of affairs in Finland was worsening.

They modified their plans in order that the trio would by no means be in the identical room with greater than two further folks (an actor and a digital camera man) for the indoor footage. They carried out an excellent chunk of the video outdoors, nonetheless. “In our infinite knowledge, we had determined that we might solely put on brief sleeve shirts all through the video, which the Finnish winter climate made us endure for,” mentioned Kubecka. “Every outside shot began with us throwing away our jackets simply off display, performing the choreography, after which working to get our jackets once more.” The radar on the native Finnish meteorological institute additionally interfered often with the drone sign (“generally it might simply fly away to the Baltic Sea”). However they persevered, and now they’ve $2,500 in prize cash to indicate for it.

Within the remaining classes, Fanon Julienne, a postdoc on the College of Le Mans in France, received the biology prize along with her dance illustrating her thesis, entitled, “Fragmentation of plastics: impact of the atmosphere and the character of the polymer on the dimensions and the form of generated fragments.” Latest MIT PhD Mikael Minier, now a software program engineer at WaveXR in Los Angeles, California, received the chemistry prize for his interpretation of his thesis on “Biomimetic Carboxylate-Bridged Diiron Complexes: From Resolution Habits to Modeling the Secondary Coordination Sphere.” Magdalena Dorner-Pau, a postdoc on the College of Graz in Austria, received the social sciences prize for a thesis entitled “Playful (De)Scribers: Examination of performative strategies for the promotion of descriptive expertise of kids in linguistically various elementary college courses utilizing the instance of picture description.”

As for the COVID-19 analysis prize, Heather Masson Forsythe, a graduate scholar at Oregon State College, received that class with an interpretive dance—carried out solo on a seaside, within the hall outdoors her lab, and within the woods, amongst different locales—impressed by her thesis analysis on “Biochemical & Biophysical Research of the COVID-19 Nucleocapsid Protein with RNA.” Forsythe makes use of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) imaging to study one of many important proteins encoded within the viral genome. That protein “performs vital roles in a number of processes of the an infection cycle, together with defending and packaging viral RNA as a virus is assembled,” she defined in her description. “Doubtless drug remedies might goal and disrupt the N-protein’s interactions with RNA, thereby disrupting the constructing of a virus and replication.”

Dance Your PhD 2021: Biochemical & Biophysical Research of the COVID-19 Nucleocapsid Protein with RNA.

Itemizing picture by YouTube/Simu Group Helsinki

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