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Party Like Scientists

Party Like Scientists

By Shamini Bundell

What happens when you get a group of scientists to organize a party? If you were expecting a gaggle of white-coated nerds too shy to dance you’d have been in for a shock. Surrounded by photons, galaxies and proteins whirling energetically around the dance floor to the strains of DNA being sequenced, researchers have been coming out of their shells and on to the dance-floor.

The ‘Dance your PhD’ event was held last week at the new Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) and Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA) building in Vienna.

IMP student Nilay Yapici organized a competition in which scientists from astronomers to molecular biologists had to dance the subject of their PhD thesis resulting in the sight of a professor cart-wheeling across the stage before dancing like a chicken and a group of post-docs pulsating like stars.

The dancing was only the warm-up however; the highlight of the evening was DJ and student of molecular biology Christoph Campregher’s collaborative music project ‘Molecular Code’. A number of different songs were created using only sounds recorded in a molecular biology lab – from dev
ices like centrifuges, beta counters and luminometers - one piece was based on the sound of a DNA sequencer.

For next year’s competition, organizers plan to have scientists post videos on the Internet to be judged – so get working on your interpretive dance skills. And if you want to know what a representation of ‘the role of the WSS operon in the adaptive evolution of experimental populations of Pseudomonas fluorescens SBW25’ looks like, you can check out some videos here along with participant John Bohannon’s detailed report.

Images: Rodolfo Clix; Stacy Braswell

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06 Dec 2008
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