Washington, December 2 : Calling scientists awkward and ungraceful may not be fine anymore, as some researchers have translated their dissertations into interpretive dances in 36 YouTube videos.
Videos showing four women in black cavort to '80s new-wave dance tunes to explain the evolution of smell in mammals, three MIT grad students boogie to Curtis Mayfield's "Move On Up" to represent nitrous oxide contribution to global warming, and two lobsters gyrate with hula hoops to the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations" as a passing seal senses their movements with his whiskers are part of the 'Dance Your PhD' contest.
John Bohannon, the "Gonzo Scientist" columnist at the esteemed research journal Science, had organised the contest throwing down a challenge to researchers in all fields in three categories -- grad student, post-doctoral and professorial.
Each dance had to feature the author of the dissertation in a main role, and each clip had to be uploaded to YouTube by the deadline.
Sue Lynn Lau, an endocrinologist at the University of Sydney in Australia, topped the grad-student category with a light-hearted ensemble examination of 'The Role of Vitamin D in Beta-Cell Function'.
The post-doc prize went to neurologist Miriam Sach of the University of California, San Diego, for a fascinating solo interpretation of how different sectors of the brain light up when speaking regular versus irregular verbs.
And Louisiana State biologist Vince LiCata emerged as the winner of the professorial stakes with a six-part modern dance piece illustrating the interactions of pairs of hemoglobin molecules in red blood cells.
Markita Landry, a statuesque physics grad student at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, whose sensual tango represents measuring protein folding using focused lasers, bagged the popular choice award.
The four winners will not join forces with professional choreographers so as to meld their entries into a single piece, to be entitled 'This Is Science'.
They will also performed during the American Association for the Advancement of Science's next annual meeting, scheduled for February in Chicago, reports Fox News.