Science World

Indian origin scientist wins gold in “Dance Your Ph.D.” contest


An Indian origin scientist won gold in the 2014 “Dance Your Ph.D.” contest for the mind-blowing dance performance to explain her research on tornadoes.  Research was done by Uma Nagendra at the University of Georgia in Athens, United States.

The event was organised for the seventh time consecutively. This year Journal Science and Highwire Press sponsored the event.  The event is focused on explaining the research conducted by the scientists pursuing their Ph.D. in most innovative and jargon-free way. Uma’s mind boggling performance on tornadoes that had different colours led her to the gold.

Tornado is a natural calamity which occurs due to a sudden change in wind-pressure that results in circular wind, blowing at a very high speed. These winds are so destructive that they end up ripping up the surface of the Earth, swallows automobiles and crushes buildings. The longer it lasts, the more destructive it becomes. It is known as cyclone in India, willy willy in Australia, typhoon in China and hurricane in Atlantic and Northeast Pacific.

When Uma is not out in the forests gathering data, she spends a good deal of her time hanging upside down on a trapeze. “I got into aerial circus as an undergrad,” she says.

“Windstorms and natural disturbances have always been a big part of my life. I grew up on the Gulf Coast of the US, where hurricanes are very common. When hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, I was fascinated by the ways in which the forest was transformed — and wanted to know the mechanisms driving the recovery of that ecosystem. That event is what first brought me to disturbance ecology. I’ve since learned how large of a role these storms (tornadoes, hurricanes, fire) play in shaping ecosystems– in terms of diversity, structure, composition, and more,” Uma said.



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