Just the other day I was presented with quite an interesting video by a friend from a website called TEDxTalks. This video merges two things that are, as characterized by popular media, diametrically opposed with one another; Dance and Science.
John Bohannon launched a competition, Dance your Ph.D., that encourages Ph.D. students and degree holders to explain their thesis through the medium of dance. John Bohannon wants people to interact with scientific research on a different level by using dance to relate complex concepts and arguments in a visual way which can be easier to understand.
In the video, Bohannon references a conversation on how lasers can cool things down with a physicist friend at MIT, rather than what conventional knowledge about science tells them. He explains the basic principles of the way light works and the dancers visualize this concept by chaotically running about in different directions. The entire presentation is beautifully choreographed and does an excellent job of giving, in simple and visual terms, an explanation of these marvelously fascinating and incredibly complex ideas.
As he says in the video above one of the challenges of relating scientific information to people, even other Ph.D. holders like himself, is that relating concepts often times has far less effectiveness with the more words that you use. The idea is transmitted better from one person to another when you use as few words as possible or, in a best case scenario, no words at all. And, as Bohannon says later in the video, wouldn’t it be great to, instead of sitting through a Power Point presentation on something where most of the information related isn’t absorbed to be able to see those ideas presented through the act of dance?
When thinking about this kind of contest on a more local level, what kind of ideas and concepts and presentations would crop up out of the merger of the Marygrove College Dance Department and the Marygrove College Science & Mathematics Departments under the same sort of creative conditions.
I wonder if there would be any interest in graduating seniors in the science and mathematics departments utilizing the skills of graduating seniors in the Dance Department to present their senior seminars. Maybe a little radical and different, but after seeing the concepts related in this video and actually being able to understand them, maybe radical and different is exactly what is needed in order to get the point across.