3MT prize for dragon fly researcher

University of Adelaide PhD student Bernard Evans has won the University’s annual Three Minute Thesis competition for research communication.

Mr Evans, from the Adelaide Medical School in the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, won both the overall competition and the people’s choice award with his talk ‘What dragonflies can teach us about motion adaptation’.

“I investigated motion and target detection in dragonflies by measuring brain signals that corresponded with their reactions to complex environments,” says Mr Evans.

“I found that the dragonfly target detection system interacts with cluttered environments through the mechanism of selective attention, interpreting trees and branches as if they were potential small targets. Relative velocity was a key determinant in choosing targets.”

His research has potential application in finding reliable and safe solutions in automatic navigation, object detection and collision avoidance in drones and driverless cars.

Faculty of Arts PhD student Chidozie Alozie won the ThincLab Adelaide prize for his talk, ‘The new problem we all live with’ about educational reform policy and segregation.

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition helps to teach postgraduate research students how to effectively communicate their work to a broad audience – and provides the public with the opportunity to hear about fascinating research in very short, simple presentations.

Most PhD theses take three years to complete and are up to 80,000 words long. Distilling their projects into three minutes makes for a fast-paced and demanding communication challenge.

Mr Evans will go on to compete in the Asia-Pacific 3MT competition at the University of Queensland on 27 September.

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