Explaining science isn’t easy. Sometimes it helps to show a colorful graph of data. Sometimes a microscope image does the trick. And sometimes there’s just nothing better than a woman in a giant plastic ball being chased by nearly naked men on a lake. That is what Cedric Tan, a Ph.D. student at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, used to explain his research on sperm competition in the red jungle fowl.
Tan’s bizarre and beautiful video is one of the 12 finalists in the 2013 “Dance Your Ph.D.” contest. This is the 6th year of the contest, which challenges scientists to explain their doctoral research through the medium of interpretive dance. The finalists were selected from 31 dance submissions by the winners from previous years of the contest. The production value has increased considerably from the live Ph.D. dance event that launched the contest in 2007. The goal is to do away with jargon — indeed, to do away with spoken words altogether — and use human bodies to convey the essence of scientific research.