Strictly PhD dancing

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It’s the grand final of Strictly Come Dancing in the UK tonight. If you’re not aware of this series it pairs professional dancers with celebrities and then they compete over many weeks to see who’s the best dancer (if you’re in the USA it’s the same as Dancing With the Stars). Since our travel plans were foiled by the snow this morning, my mum and I will be settling down (probably with a Christmas glass of sherry) to watch it at home instead (I think we’ll be voting for Matt if you care about that sort of thing).

It’s not just celebrities that get to take part in stuff like this though. Since 2008 scientists have had the chance to explain their research through the medium of dance in the annual `Dance your PhD’ contest. One of my fellow postdocs in Nottingham, Ruth, took part in the very first competition, presenting her thesis work on “The eventful life of galaxies in low-density environments”. Here she is as a small galaxy tangoing around, and eventually merging with, a much bigger companion:

I doubt any of the Strictly competitors tonight will be thinking much about expressing science in their routines (though if they did maybe they’d need a peer review panel of judges of as well) but it’s nice that someone out there is!