Guys in Speedos portraying chicken sperm: That's a winning combination for the "Dance Your Ph.D." contest, which celebrates efforts to turn doctoral thesis topics into interpretive dance.
This year's top prize goes to University of Oxford biologist Cedrick Tan, for a series of dances based on his study of "Sperm Competition Between Brothers and Female Choice." The dance video has to be seen to be believed (and understood).
The annual competition is sponsored by the journal Science and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. John Bohannon, a contributing correspondent at Science, presides over the proceedings. The final judging is done by a panel of scientists and artists.
Thirty-one videos were submitted to the sixth annual dance-off, leading Bohannon to rate 2013 "the best year yet." Tan was tops in the Biology category and also won the overall prize, which earned him $1,000 plus a trip to screen his video at Stanford University.
The other prize-winners included:
- Chemistry: Ambalika Khadria, a Ph.D. student at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, demonstrated her method to determine whether proteins are linked together in pairs. The dance features colored masks and fluorescent light.
- Physics: Timothy Hunter of Wolf Star Technologies demonstrated his Ph.D. on metal fatigue using the forces between human bodies.
- Social sciences: Tina Sundelin, a Ph.D. student at Stockholm University, danced her way through two versions of an entire day to illustrate the effects of sleep deprivation.
- Reader favorite: The video that received the most thumbs-up online was done up by Andres Florez, a Ph.D. student at the German Cancer Research Center. He and his dancers tell the story of cancer cells with salsa and superheroes.
Congrats to Bohannon and the winners. Check out the five top videos:
More about the science of dance:
- How dance is linked to your personality
- Dance your way into her heart, scientifically
- Sweet scents lure dancers onto the floor
Alan Boyle is NBCNews.com's science editor. Connect with the Cosmic Log community by "liking" the log's Facebook page, following @b0yle on Twitter and adding the Cosmic Log page to your Google+ presence. To keep up with Cosmic Log as well as NBCNews.com's other stories about science and space, sign up for the Tech & Science newsletter, delivered to your email in-box every weekday. You can also check out "The Case for Pluto," my book about the controversial dwarf planet and the search for new worlds.