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Boffins explain research with interpretive dance

Dance your Ph.D. winner scores with 'The romantic revolution of Lightness & Strength'

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Australian scientists have won this year's Dance your PhD competition, an event boffins who explain their work with interpretive dance.

Material scientist Peter Liddicoat, from the University of Sydney, took out the competition with a performance of A super-alloy is born: The romantic revolution of Lightness & Strength, describing his research quest to create materials that have high strength and low weight.

Liddicoat's no dancing dilettante – his work has made it into Nature, which in 2010 saw fit to publish his Nanostructural hierarchy increases the strength of aluminium alloys.

The winning dance tells the tale of a collaboration between and engineer and a scientist. The latter finds that “when force is applied to the perfect crystal structure of Lightness the bonds break and the atoms slip along a straight line” before “”applying torsion to redesign the atomic architecture. He applies this revolving force to the crystal, dividing it into multiple smaller parts, and creates interfaces that might block slip.”

That process works, the engineer proves it, and waltzes off into the sunset with the new material in hand, as depicted below.

Other entries to this year's competition, there were 36, are available here. ®

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