sarahkeenihan

Day 31. 3 minute thesis

In September 2012 on September 12, 2012 at 8:01 am

Could you describe and justify your job in less than 3 minutes?

Last night I attended a special Research Tuesday event put on by the University of Adelaide.

The 3-minute thesis competition pitted 10 PhD students against each other in a battle of wit and communication. Each was asked to prepare a single PowerPoint slide and astound the audience with a brief, simple and electrifying presentation of their research.

Topics were diverse, and included:

  • An investigation of how young Emirati women see themselves given the mixed way they’re perceived and represented in their own country and internationally;
  • The secret lives of dicyemid parasites, which infect cuttlefish, squid and octopus populations in the waters of South Australia; and
  • How can courts deal with mega-litigation efficiently & justly?

My personal favourite, and eventual judges’ choice as the winner, was Emily Cock with her presentation Exchanging Flesh: Prostitution & Plastic Surgery in 17th Century England.

Emily is interested in the historical and economic implications of prostitution. Her thesis addresses the activities of a certain Italian surgeon Gaspare Tagliacozzi, who developed new techniques in plastic surgery to hide nasal deformities arising from chronic syphilis infection. His method allowed prostitutes to continue to work and even enter the higher echelons of society without the stigmatisation associated with syphilis.

Sex, medicine, drama, deception, money….that’s what I call a winning thesis. Emily will travel to Queensland to compete in the national final in October.

[photo thanks to pasukaru76 on flickr]

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