Wednesday, November 10, 2010
In a previous life, I was a dancer, taking classes in modern dance technique and improvisation, and was actually in a few performances. This was in the middle 1970's, a period when I was also traveling to the Esalen Institute in the California Big Sur coast to commune with Monarch butterflies and migrating whales, and take classes in Gestalt therapy, Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais technique, and massage...those were the days! This history explains why I am particularly seduced by the recent piece in Science Magazine by John Bohannon on dancing scientists, which covers the "Dance your Ph.D." contest run by Science Magazine for the past three years. The dancing scientists actually originated in the hippie 1970's, down the California coast from where I was watching whales, in Paul Berg's lab at Stanford. The tedious filming of those days has been replaced by digital camera outputs sent straight to YouTube. Berg got hundreds of requests for the original film, which then became a DVD, and is now on YouTube. It is a hoot to watch as a historical piece, and drives me to spasms of nostalgia.