Dance Your PhD

(by Michael Lavine)

NPR reports (http://www.npr.org/2011/05/17/136402623/scientists-and-musicians-compare-notes) on the Songwriter in Residence program at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis at the University of Tennessee. A video at the NPR site shows a performance of Jay Clark’s piece Sexual Selection. Comments to the post mention earlier efforts to put science to music. But when I checked, none of them mentioned Dance Your PhD, a contest that challenges scientists to choreograph and perform dances based on their PhD dissertations. The contest dates to 2008 and is still going strong. The 2008 report, with videos, is at http://www.sciencemag.org/content/319/5865/905.2.full. Video from later years can be found by searching the web.

The most serious dancer I know among statisticians is Richard De Veaux, who teaches statistics at Williams College. He earned an MA in dance education years before his PhD in statistics. Can anyone top that?

(Editor’s note: I assume none of these PhD’s are in architecture.)

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The Statistics Forum, brought to you by the American Statistical Association and CHANCE magazine, provides everyone the opportunity to participate in discussions about probability and statistics and their role in important and interesting topics.

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