A headshot of a man wearing a black jacket and baseball cap.

Mikael Minier (PhD ’15), wins Science’s annual Dance Your PhD contest

Categories: Alumni, Awards

A former member of Professor Stephen J. Lippard's lab, Minier was delighted to mix his passion for dance with his background in chemistry.

Mikael Minier (PhD ’15), a former member of Professor Stephen J. Lippard‘s research group, was recently named the winner of the 13th annual Dance Your PhD Contest in the Chemistry category. Run by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Science, and sponsored by artificial intelligence company Primer, the contest awards the best presentation of the entrant’s PhD using interpretive dance.

“In recent years I have become increasingly interested in science edutainment and I saw this contest as an opportunity to challenge myself to teach chemistry in an unconventional way,” said Minier. “My approach was to link each abstract scientific concept to a dance movement with a tangible semantic relationship. For example, the video uses precessing spinning movement from the dance style breaking to explain NMR spin and grid shapes from a style called tutting to explain repetition in crystal structures. Dance is a huge passion of mine with almost 8 years of training, so I was delighted to mix it with my background in chemistry. Moving forward, I hope to use gaming to explore edutainment in a professional capacity.”

Minier’s prizewinning video used animation, robot, breaking, tutting, and waving dance styles to depict his thesis, “Biomimetic Carboxylate-Bridged Diiron Complexes: From Solution Behavior to Modeling the Secondary Coordination Sphere”. In addition to compiling this video for the contest, he participated – and one first prize – in an online animation dance battle.

Minier is currently a software engineer at WaveXR in Los Angeles.