Dancing Science

The seminal and most hilarious (in my opinion) science dance video on you tube, is the one where a rather large group of students danced the prokaryotic translation on a football field at Stanford in 1971.
Since the 70s quite a lot of science themed dance videos were posted on youtube, or wherever they got posted before youtube.  Sometimes they are part of biology classes in college and often hilariously bad.However dance and music are great ways to explain the basics of science to students who aren’t interested or have very little background. As for more complicated science: there is for example this great optical illusion, which really blurs the border between arts and science. And this video, which tries to explain the action potential by and to medical students via interpretive dance. Since the style is very similar to the original Stanford video, it can be assumed that they have at least been inspired be it.
There are also a couple of more professional science/music/advertising videos produced by large lab supply companies.
The “music videos of science” movement cumulates in the “Dance your PhD” contest which is held annually for the past 5 years and is sponsored by the AAAS. Last year’s competition included such diverse dances as the Generation of Haploid Stem Cells via Immaculate Conception with Ethanol to the tune of ‘I Get Knocked Down’ by Chumbawamba and Hydrogen Retention in Damaged Tungsten at High Surface Temperatures danced in a physics lab with great light effects. The winning video explained the formation of a superalloy using a mix of circus and silent movie. Entry into this year’s competition recently closed and the videos are now online. So if you have 30 minutes to spare have a look at them. I especially liked E.coli adapting to stress.

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