Carleton’s Dancing Chemists win Science Magazine contest

It pretty much goes without saying, but Maureen McKeague is involved in some heady research. The PhD candidate is studying how nucleic acids called aptamers bind with specific molecules for a process called homocysteine.

Did you get any of that? Don’t worry. You’re not alone.

But recently McKeague – and a few of her colleagues – turned this complex research into an elaborate interpretive dance routine for a Science Magazine contest (above)

They won the top prize last week.

Carleton’s Dancing Chemist talks about the award-winning video and the resulting fanfare.

Why do you think your submission was so well received?

MM: The feedback we’ve received from many people was that it was fun to watch, and that the interpretation of the science was also well done. And many thought parts of it were hilarious.

To date, almost 100,000 people have viewed your video online. How does it feel to know your research has reached such a diverse and typically non-scientific audience?

MM: Wonderful. We are all really happy that people have enjoyed the video. We are especially excited that non-scientists are even willing to watch it and in the end usually end up loving it and learning something.

Do you think you’ll forever be known as the Dancing Chemist?

MM: Probably not. I imagine this will die down. But my supervisor, Maria DeRosa, will probably be known for having the Dancing Lab for quite a while.

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Daniel Reid

By Daniel Reid

Whether it’s scientific breakthroughs, political manoeuvres or loaded technical jargon, Daniel Reid loves to untangle complex ideas to make them accessible to everyone. He is currently an editor at @newsrooms and is a former web editor at @CTVNews and homepage editor at @TheLoopCA. You can argue with him on Twitter at @ahatrack.

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