Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

A Time To Dance

By Stephen Luntz

Joel Miller is seeking to create better bone implants, and turned his PhD into a competition-winning dance.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

University of Western Australia PhD student Joel Miller is the 2011 winner of the Dance Your PhD competition sponsored by Science. With his victory he completed an unprecedented trifecta for Australian science, along with Prof Brian Schmidt’s Nobel Prize and two Ig Nobel prizes (AS, December 2011, p.36–37; p.45).

Thesis-dancing prowess may never gain the same status as a Nobel, but Miller is on the way to catching the Igs after logging more than 100,000 views on the website where he uploaded Microstructure–Property Relationships in Ti2448 Components Produced by Selective Laser Melting: A Love Story – and many more views on media website worldwide.

Miller is just over 1 year into his thesis, and says that winning the prize has been very motivating. Moreover, the award came with a trip to the Technology, Entertainment and Design conference in Brussels, which enabled sidetrips to a major conference to meet world leaders in the field.

The video explores Miller’s efforts to build better bone implants. “Typically hip and knee replacements last for around 15 years before they need replacing,” Miller says. Bone needs to experience pressure and stretching or it starts to decay. Overly rigid titanium implants do not allow this, and eventually the bone around the implant diminishes to the point where the metal comes loose.

“What we’re really trying to do...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.