Quantcast

«

»

Sep 05 2011

New requirement for a Ph.D.: You gotta dance

Not really, but if you feel like it, go ahead and record it. There’s a contest for the best interpretive dance of your Ph.D. project (here are some past winners). Easy, right? Perform your dance, record it and submit the video, and maybe you’ll win $500, a trip to Brussels, and eternal fame and glory.

(Also on Sb)

32 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    chigau (違う)

    This gets funnier and funnier the more I think of the theses I’ve read.

  2. 2
    Abelard

    My dance would require a starving squirrel, a noose and the pope’s hat.

  3. 3
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    1. Given the sheer length of the performance and its malingering tendency toward sweaty repetition, it would have been unlikely to win.
    2. Further, as that dance requires a flying leap into a suitably sized abyss of uncertainty and stultifying indecision, it is really unsuitable for conventional venues.
    3. If my committee were even to harbor the slightest suspicion that such a performance were being choreographed, they likely would put an end to my efforts by whatever means necessary.

    Thus, I have chosen to spare us all.

  4. 4
    weirdbuglady

    Hmmm. If I could create some convincing costumes, perhaps I could dance out the phenotypic changes between the instars of my caterpillars. Acronicta funeralis goes from a bird-poop mimic to a bizarre aposematic pattern with giant paddles on its back. Ohhhh I’ll have to do some more brainstorming on this.

  5. 5
    chigau (違う)

    What about undergrad efforts?
    Anyone up for Variations on a Theme of Stone-boiling?

  6. 6
    ChasCPeterson

    Fuckin graduate theses. You really have to watch out for pseudo-relevé-tion in these. And special plié-ding.

  7. 7
    Daniel Fincke

    At Fordham I once taught a class with about 15 Alvin Ailey dance majors that the school scheduled to accommodate their dance classes. Can one of them write and perform it for me? I’ve seen them dance, I guarantee I’d win.

  8. 8
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    ChasCPeterson: You’ll just have to take my word for it that my cap is doffed in your general direction.

  9. 9
    The Countess

    Mine would involve John Belushi’s bee costume, plastic explosives, and a jelly dildo, all danced to Enigma’s “The Principles of Lust”.

    Don’t even get me started on the clown fish. :)

  10. 10
    Mikko

    I feel that my project would be perfectly represented by this dance, but I can’t quite pull it off yet.

  11. 11
    Steve

    What happens if you have a Ph.D in dance?

  12. 12
    Dr. Strabismus (WGP) of Utrecht

    If writing about music is like dancing about architecture, surely the reverse is true. And dancing about architecture can’t be much harder than dancing about physics or biology, or “Northern Thai Peasant Society: a Case study of Juraland Political Structures at the Village Level and their Twentieth Century Transformation”.

    And I can write about music all day, no sweat!

  13. 13
    chigau (違う)

    Steve @11
    You must present a PowerPoint presentation ‘splaining the mathy angles, like, y’know?

  14. 14
    Interrobang

    It’s a good thing PhDs didn’t have a dance requirement when you were in school, eh, PZed? ;)

  15. 15
    Sili

    We need to get DDMFM to do this in New York.

  16. 16
    Zeno

    Emulating Jules Feiffer’s dancer:

    “A dance to algebra errors involving the equal sign … a tragedy in one senseless act.”

  17. 17
    Lane

    I’ve been watching this contest for a couple of years now because I would really like to do it someday. I’ll be starting my PhD next fall, and assuming it’s still running, watch out for a tiny neurobiologist lady in a couple of years, which may or may not involve an astrocyte-neuron foxtrot, or perhaps a protein aggregate tango (get it: tangle, tango? har har har).

  18. 18
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    It’s a good thing PhDs didn’t have a dance requirement when you were in school, eh, PZed? ;)

    That’s all they had back in the day. Well. a song and dance anyways.

  19. 19
    Masks of Eris

    As a mathematics graduate student, I define “dance” to be a pair (m,X) of a motion m and a music X such that (1) m is a Hälfass regular series, (2) m matches the rhythm r(X) and (3) m matches the speed s(X) in the Ahlfors sense.

    Pairs (m,X) that fulfill conditions (2),(3) but fail (1) are called choreomania; those with (1),(3) but not (2) paradance and those with (1),(2) but not (3) shitty dancing. These three together are known as quasidances; it is well known any sequence of K-quasidances, where K is the Ahlfors constant, that converge weakly towards a dance can be danced by a person of arbitrary radius r<K within a temporal sphere B(t,r) of arbitrarily small t, if and only if the series incentive I is sufficiently large. It is the celebrated result of Dore, Fasol and Apeshit that \sup_{\textrm{graduate students}} I = I_{\textrm{thesis}}, which explains the paucity of extra-thesical incentives for graduate student dancing.

    As you can see, dancing is easy. For the theory of paired dancing, which is more involved and technical, I refer the curious at the book of Fiddle, Sticks and Apeshit, “An introduction to the theory of dances, quasidances and quasisuperdances in general metric spaces, and nonlinear elliptic systems”, Springer, forthcoming, and Sticks’s paper “On Nijinsky’s phenomenon”, Bull.Sh.Soc., 66 (2007), 5–23 (in Russian).

  20. 20
    Nele

    Teehee. I would have had to dance the early modern constitutional debates about the role of the king and their repurcussions on Shakespeare’s History Plays.

    Would have been funky. :)

  21. 21
    blotonthelandscape

    I read that last bit “eternal flame and gory”. Which is probably true. A special circle of hell is reserved for interpretive dancers…

  22. 22
    David Marjanović, OM

    We need to get DDMFM to do this in New York.

    I’m not good at emulating tree bisection/reconnection as the algorithm is called.

  23. 23
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    DDMFM: You could do some subtree pruning and regrafting, and I’ll slide in with some sectorial searching. And we’ll finish with the tootsie roll.

  24. 24
    Keith Dougla

    I had a colleague at UBC who asked her supervisor (in semi-jest) if she could submit her MA thesis in philosophy as a modern dance performance … I forget what the answer was.

  25. 25
    Robin Marie

    Why don’t they have this for humanities dissertations? Not fair!

  26. 26
    David Marjanović, OM

    DDMFM: You could do some subtree pruning and regrafting

    Weaksauce!!!

  27. 27
    Caelan (aka Itsumademootaku)

    More organizations need to start doing this.

    I’m being sent (possibly against my will) to do a presentation at the national AICHE conference next month, on a paper I co-wrote with a colleague about dissolving solid uranium in a mildly basic environment (resulting in no hydrogen evolution). We found that the only feasible chemistry to do this with involved gigantic quantities of hydrogen peroxide, which gets really fun when there’s a lot of iron in the solution to eat it.

    I think an interpretive dance of the chemistry would be quite pretty, actually. More importantly, though, I could record it instead of having to do it live right after 5 days of brain-numbing computer modeling training!

  28. 28
    Skepgineer

    The best ones would be from zoologists who study mating rituals.

  29. 29
    Drew

    If Kent Hovind learned to dance, he could take his “doctoral dissertation” to broadway. I’d pay two bits to see that!

  30. 30
    Ben

    My dissertation was on sexual conflict and rape in solitary bees. I can only imagine how frightening my interpretive dance would be.

  31. 31
    Halloween Express Coupons

    This is definitely a nice study. I used to be trying to find exaclty this information and I am pleased that I located your blog. On the other hand, I observed that your (New requirement for a Ph.D.: You gotta dance | Pharyngula) doesn’t appear to be written to reflect just what you possess written here. In the beginning I did not even think it was probably going to be about what I was in search of. If you want assist creating your title better you may send me an email at [email protected] and I can provide you with help.

  32. 32
    John Morales

    Halloween Express Coupons spammer, if you were a human and not a bit of software, I’d diss you.

    (So, instead, I’ll just say that whoever wrote you is scum)

Comments have been disabled.