Astro’s ‘Stars’ Teach Astrophysics Through Dance

Friday, May 31, 2019
by Department of Astrophysical Sciences

A team of graduate students and researchers from the Department of Astrophysical Sciences and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering recently collaborated in an award-winning dance performed at Princeton Research Day, (2019). The Astrophysics through Dance performance, entitled “From Stellar Death to Chemical Rebirth” received first place in the Graduate Student Impact Award category. David Vartanyan, a fifth-year graduate student, conceived the idea to do a dance enactment of his doctoral research on supernovae (exploding stars). Dance talent from Astrophysics included both graduate students and postdoctoral researchers: Melinda Soares-Furtado, Eric Moseley, Amy Secunda, Yusra AlSayyad, and Jamie Rankin. Dance team member and graduate student, Claudia Brunner, represented Mechanical and Space Engineering, where she studies Fluid Mechanics. Tying the dance all together with her choreography skills was Amberly Simpson, a professional dancer and choreographer. 

Princeton Research Day is an annual, campus-wide event open to the public and to all members of the University community. It gives people a chance to learn about original research and artistic projects created and led by Princeton undergraduates, graduates, postdoctoral researchers and other non-faculty researchers.  Awards are presented to participants who were best able to communicate their research ideas to an educated, yet broad audience. David Vartanyan received The Graduate Student Impact Award for his ability to convey his scientific research in an informative, yet easy to learn format . 

The award-winning research dance presentation can be viewed here