Science’s Dance Your Ph.D. contest is now open, with an AI twist | Science

Yes, COVID-19 has had us all social distancing and made dancing with friends far too rare. But as last year’s winners of Science’s Dance Your Ph.D. competition showed, where there’s a will (and a thesis) there’s a dance. So, we’re happy to announce the start of our 14th annual research-themed dance-off. (The link offers more detailed rules and a FAQ)

As always, we’re challenging scientists to explain their research obsession with fancy footwork but no PowerPoint slides or jargon. It doesn’t matter whether you’re just starting your Ph.D., or you completed it decades ago; you just need imagination and the ability to keep a beat.

This year, category winners—physics, biology, chemistry, and social science—can take home $750 and the top dance will earn the ultimate glory and an extra $2000. We were impressed by the entries in our special COVID-19 category in 2020, but this year we’re pivoting to a new special category theme: machine learning, a specialty of our contest’s sponsor, the artificial intelligence company Primer. Entries can cover machine learning directly or how it’s used in other topics or disciplines. In this category alone, the dance doesn’t have to be on a Ph.D. thesis, but it should still convey a paper, a talk, or research project.

You must follow all your local COVID-19 rules while practicing and performing your dance entries. Science also urges all participants to be safe and sensible. Get vaccinated if you are eligible. Use the outdoors as a venue, and wear masks during rehearsals. Submitted dances should not feature unvaccinated, unmasked people in close contact.

Beyond that, it’s simple. Go dance your science, create a video of it, and upload it to YouTube or TikTok. The deadline for submissions is 28 January 2022.

To enter the contest, submit here. The winner will be announced in the spring.

Good luck, stay safe, and enjoy!

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