Friday, December 2, 2011

Who Knew Science and Dance Could Be So Closely Related?

So often we think of the arts and science as opposites.  Many who are talented in one feel hopelessly lost in the other.  But the two are more related than it might seem, sometimes in the most unexpected ways...

Take last year's Dance Your PhD contest winners from the chemistry department of my own school, Carleton University.  Their dance explains a technique called Systematic Evolution of Ligands by Exponential Enrichment (SELEX).


Or how about the series of videos that explain how sorting algorithms work? I've used these with great effect in my own introductory CS courses, and recall showing it during a TA workshop I attended, where some participants suddenly understood how quick sort worked as a result.


John Bohannon is the man behind the aforementioned Dance Your PhD contest.  He recently gave a talk at TEDxBrussels with a modest proposal.  He thinks that "bad PowerPoint presentations are a serious threat against the global economy." (A man after my own heart!)  Instead of sitting around and wasting time being distracted by pretty pictures and too much data, we should use dance to explain challenging topics and issues.


I think dance is just the start.  Art and science are both important and they could be connected in so many meaningful ways.  Let's get our thinking and creative caps on and see what we can come up with.

2 comments:

Kate said...

Hungarian Quick Sort! Love it!

Gail Carmichael said...

If you search on YouTube, you can find other dances for sorting algorithms, too! (Made by the same people...) :D

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