Published: March 12, 2019

Watch Bury's presentation at CU Boulder's 3MT, held Feb. 1, 2019.

Luke Bury wants to tell you about his thesis -- in three minutes or less.

The Smead Aerospace PhD student is representing the University of Colorado Boulder at the first ever statewide Three Minute Talk Competition on Thursday, April 4, 2019. The event was originally scheduled for an earlier date, but was postponed to April 4 due to snow.

Competitors described their research in three minutes, using only one static slide, in front of a panel of judges and a live audience.

Bury's work is focused on designing trajectories for future spacecraft to more feasibly land on moons in the outer solar system, like Jupiter's Europa. It is a complex subject to condense into three minutes, but Bury is up to the challenge.

"Teaching about space exploration is one of my favorite things to do. Many people have no idea that there are moons out there with giant liquid oceans underneath their surfaces, and I find introducing people to that concept to be a lot of fun," Bury said. "I'm in this field because I think searching the solar system for other forms of life (aliens) is fundamentally really cool, and convincing the audience of that is ultimately my goal."

Bury is headed to the state competition after finishing in second place at CU Boulder's Three Minute Thesis (3MT) event in February.

The competition is being organized by the Colorado Council of Graduate Schools.

3MT was founded by the University of Queensland in 2008 as an academic competition that cultivates students’ presentation and research communication skills.

The idea for the 3MT competition came about at a time when the state of Queensland was suffering severe drought. To conserve water, residents were encouraged to time their showers, and many people had a three minute egg timer fixed to the wall in their bathroom. The then Dean of the UQ Graduate School, Emeritus Professor Alan Lawson, put two and two together and the idea for the 3MT competition was born.

CU Boulder held its first ever 3MT in 2018.