Uma Nagendra uses dance to explain research and has won the top prize in this year’s ‘Dance Your PhD’ contest. Using movement to explain her dissertation, the Indian scientist has received $1,000 and a trip to Stanford University in California.
A researcher at the University of Georgia, Athens, Nagendra’s Ph.D. focuses on the interaction between several species of tree seedlings and soil organisms in the southern Appalachian mountains. The dissertation primarily addresses how tornadoes mix up both tree seedlings and soil organisms and its effects. Nagendra told IAN:
“I use a combination of greenhouse and field experiments to investigate how tornadoes can change not only what plants grow in an area, but also how they interact with each other — through the soil.”
Speaking about her artistry and her dance piece that won the competition, Nagendra stated that she took to trapeze because it helps her use a different part of her brain. Taking dance trapeze two years prior to the competition, the Indian scientist used this form of art as a way to express her research:
“It’s a different way of challenging yourself, both creatively and physically. One of my first trapeze instructors is a researcher in the genetics department, and several former graduate students in my program did trapeze and silks at Canopy for many years,” Nagendra stated.
Uma Nagendra will be screening her winning dance at a publishing conference at Stanford University which will be sponsored by the High Wire Press.
Uma Nagendra Uses Dance to Explain Research in 2014 ‘Dance Your PhD’ Contest.