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Sydney University finalist in Dance Your PhD competition

Connie Ye still cries because of her stage mum

A University of Sydney scholar has been selected as one of twelve finalists in the International Dance Your PhD competition for 2012, with a work titled ‘A Super-Alloy is Born’.

Dr Peter Liddicoat from the Australian Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis made the final cut out of 36 entrants from around the world. His interpretative dance was based on his PhD thesis about the internal structures of a high-strength aluminium alloy.

The result was five minutes of silent film-era dance following a scientist (Dr Liddicoat, playing himself) playing ‘the Engineer’ on the quest to discover a new super-strong light-weight aluminium alloy. Described as ‘romantic revolution of Lightness & Strength”, the video, hosted on Vimeo, has attracted over two thousand views already.

Currently in its fifth year, the competition was established by Science Magazine to encourage a layperson’s understanding of science-related theses, which can often be long and contain “a minefield of jargon,” according to the magazine.

Dr Liddicoat’s entry along with the eleven others was scored on the basis of both scientific and artistic creativity. Other dances attempt to explain concepts such as “governance of natural resources and development of local economies in rural areas” through a range of styles and techniques from burlequse to break-dancing. An independent panel including senior scientists and professional dancers will choose and announce the winners on October 15. Readers also get to pick their favourites by voting online at