Three Minute Thesis Contest

Imagine you are in a meadow in the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest. Imagine a whistle that blew the same exact pitch always and everywhere. Imagine self-steering immune cells that targeted and attacked tumors. All the above and more was what the audience was invited to imagine at the Three Minute Thesis competition this past Wednesday evening. Participants discussed topics ranging in scale from the quantum to the galactic, and everything in between. 

Framing a research problem, motivating why a general audience should care, and outlining one’s specific contribution to the field is a challenge for a researcher in any setting. At this competition, however, that challenge is heightened as presenters have no notes, no slides, no props, and only three minutes to get their message across. The participants rose to meet that challenge. Everyone in the audience came away knowing a little more about a lot of topics, and even more importantly, interested and excited about learning more. I know I sure did. 

The third annual iteration of this contest at Dartmouth saw eleven participants present their research to an excited audience at the Top of The Hop. Their presentations were judged by an esteemed panel of faculty, including Guarini Dean Jon Kull, who were all impressed by the performances. At the end of it all, Rachel Brog (Molecular and Cell Biology), Braden Elliot (Ecology, Evolution, Ecosystems, and Society), and Christina Gilligan (Physics and Astronomy) emerged victorious. 

This year, the Three Minute Thesis Competition is more than just a Dartmouth competition; Rachel and Christina will be headed to NYC in two weeks along with winners from Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, and Yale to compete on April 25 at the United Nations.

Many thanks to all the participants for making it an informative and entertaining evening, the judges for their hard work, and the audience for coming out to support everyone.