Ten images and two videos created by students, faculty, and staff at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have been named winners of the 2021 Cool Science Image Competition.
A panel of nine experienced artists, scientists and science communicators judged the scientific content and the aesthetic and creative qualities of dozens of images and videos presented as part of the 11th annual competition. The winning works feature animals and plants, the small invisible structures all around us, as well as stars and nebulae millions of kilometers away.
An exhibit featuring the winners is open to the public at the Mandelbaum and Albert Family Vision Gallery at the McPherson Eye Research Institute, on the ninth floor of the Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research, 111 Highland Ave., until December. A reception – open to the public – for contest participants will take place at the gallery on October 7 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
The winning submissions were created using point-and-shoot digital cameras, state-of-the-art microscopes, and variety yard and mountain top telescopes.
Because sometimes nothing can replace the visual.
“A picture can often convey meaning more effectively than words,” says Ahna Skop, longtime competition judge, artist and professor of genetics at UW-Madison and an active advocate for science. “We know, through marketing and education research, that adding an image with words to a slide increases knowledge retention by 65%. The visual communication of science is essential for the transfer of knowledge in the broad sense.
The story continues after the gallery
Yuya Makino, scientific assistant, IceCube Neutrino Observatory
Kennah konrad, undergraduate student, Botany;
Duncan smith, graduate student, botany
Rebecca Salamon, graduate student, Cellular and Regenerative Biology
Jeffrey E. Shokler, Associate Director, Office of Undergraduate Advising
refracting telescope and CCD camera
Nisha Iyer, postdoctoral fellow, Wisconsin Institute for Discovery
Joel siegel and Marguerite Fortman, graduate students, Physics;Jian Sun, graduate student, Materials Science;Jonathan Dwyer, Former doctoral student, Chemical engineering
Electronique scanning microscope
Shin-Tsz (Lucy) KuoBachelor, Computer Science and Economics student
Jose guerrero, postdoctoral fellow, medical physics;André Alexandre, professor, Medical Physics;Pierre Ferrazzanoprofessor, Pediatrics
magnetic resonance imaging scanner
graduate student, Cellular and Molecular Biology;Timothy Gomez, professor, Neurosciences
Gregory Holdman, graduate student, Physics
focused ion beam and scanning electron microscope
Recurrent neural networks are the computational engines behind cutting-edge applications, from self-driving cars to speech recognition like Amazon’s Alexa. The behavior of these networks is difficult to characterize, but it can be visualized for small networks. This video shows the behavior of a network with only three neurons, showing the evolution of their output by mapping their values in blue. The result, a fractal structure called a “strange attractor,” could help researchers better understand the behavior and characteristics of these types of networks.
David J. Nowak, alumnus and audit student; Robert D. Nowak, professor, electrical and computer engineering
Captured at 20,000 frames per second, this video shows the shock wave induced mixing of two gases – raw imagery on the left; adjusted to better reflect the concentration of the lighter gas on the right. Experiments like this are conducted in the 30-foot-tall Wisconsin Shock Tube, shown at left, to simulate and explore the interface mixing of materials under extreme conditions such as nuclear fusion, supernovae, and hypersonic propulsion. .
Josh herzog, postdoctoral fellow and professor David rothamer, both in mechanical engineering; Riccardo bonazza, professor, Engineering Physics
Continuation of the gallery above
There may be some sort of ineffable something that makes a science image particularly effective – that’s the “Cool” in Cool Science Image Contest – but the good guys have a lot in common.
“You’ll know when you see it.” It’s like seeing “Starry Night” or “Mona Lisa” for the first time, in person. They hit you deep and quickly, ”Skop explains. “They are beautiful to look at, simple and convey meaning. Some images take your breath away. Looking deeper, they communicate the secrets of science beautifully.
The Cool Science Image Contest recognizes the technical and creative skills required to capture images or videos that effectively reveal something about science or nature while leaving an impression with their beauty or ability to elicit wonder. The contest is sponsored by Promega Corp. of Madison, with additional support from the UW-Madison Division of the Arts.
Winning entries are widely shared on UW-Madison’s websites, and all entries are presented at science outreach events on campus and at campus academic and laboratory facilities throughout the year. . Because there was no ability to show the 2020 contest winners in person, this year’s exhibit is dual functionality for the 2020 and 2021 contests. View last year’s winners.
The contest judges were:
Steve Ackerman, Professor of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and Vice-Chancellor for Research and Higher Education
Terry Devitt, Director Emeritus of Research Communications, University Communications
Kevin Eliceiri, Director, Optical and Computer Instrumentation Laboratory
Michael King, Visual Communication Specialist, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Steve Paddock, Former Scientist, Molecular Biology
Kara Rogers, Science Writer and Editor, Encyclopedia Britannica
Ahna Skop, professor of genetics
Kelly Tyrrell, Director of Research Communications, University Communications
Craig Wild, Videographer, University Communications
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