Ten images and two videos created by students, faculty and staff at the University of Wisconsin-Madison were named winners of the 2021 Cool Science Image Contest.
A jury made up of nine experienced artists, scientists and science communicators assessed the scientific content as well as the aesthetic and creative qualities of numerous images and videos submitted for the 11th annual competition. The winning entries show animals and plants, the invisible small structures around us, as well as stars and nebulae that are millions of millions of kilometers away.
An exhibition with the winners is open until December at the Mandelbaum and Albert Family Vision Gallery of the McPherson Eye Research Institute on the ninth floor of the Wisconsin Institute for Medical Research, 111 Highland Ave. A public reception for the competition participants will take place on October 7th from 4.30pm to 6.30pm in the gallery
The winning entries were created using point-and-shoot digital cameras, state-of-the-art microscopes and telescopes in both the backyard and mountain top versions.
Because sometimes there is no substitute for the visual.
“A picture can often convey meanings more effectively than words,” says Ahna Skop, longtime competition judge, artist and UW Madison professor of genetics and active ambassador for science. “We know from marketing and education research that adding a picture with words to a slide increases knowledge retention by 65 percent. The visual communication of science is crucial for the broad transfer of knowledge. “
The story continues after the gallery
Yuya Makino, Research Associate, IceCube Neutrino Observatory
Kennah Konrad, Undergraduate student, botany;
Duncan Smith, PhD student, botany
Rebecca Salamon, PhD Student, Cell and Regenerative Biology
Jeffrey E. Shokler, Associate Director, Office of Undergraduate Advising
Refractor telescope and CCD camera
Nisha Iyer, Postdoc, Wisconsin Institute for Discovery
Joel Siegel and Margaret Fortman, PhD students, physics;Jian sun, PhD student, materials science;Jonathan Dwyer, PhD alumnus, chemical engineering
Scanning electron microscope
Shin-Tsz (Lucy) KuoBachelor student, computer science and economics
Jose Guerrero, Postdoc, Medical Physics;Andrew Alexander, Professor, Medical Physics;Peter FerrazzanoProfessor, Pediatrics
Magnetic resonance tomograph
PhD Student, Cell and Molecular Biology;Timothy Gomez, Professor, Neuroscience
Gregory Holdman, PhD student, physics
focused ion beam and scanning electron microscope
Recurrent neural networks are the computing machines behind state-of-the-art applications from self-driving cars to speech recognition such as Amazon’s Alexa. The behavior of these networks is difficult to characterize, but can be visualized for small networks. This video shows the behavior of a network with only three neurons and shows how their output evolves by mapping their values in blue. The result, a fractal structure known as a “strange attractor,” could help researchers better understand the behavior and properties of these types of networks.
David J. Nowak, Alumnus and auditing student; Robert D. Nowak, Professor, Electrical Engineering and Information Technology
This video was recorded at 20,000 frames per second and shows the shock wave-induced mixing of two gases – raw images on the left; adjusted to better reflect the concentration of the lighter gas on the right. Experiments like this are carried out in the 9-meter-high Wisconsin Shock Tube shown on the left to simulate and research the mixing at the interface of materials under extreme conditions such as nuclear fusion, supernovae and hypersonic propulsion.
Josh Duke, Postdoc and professor David Rothamer, both mechanical engineering; Riccardo Bonazza, Professor, Technical Physics
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There can be something unspeakable that makes a particularly effective science image – it’s the “cool” thing in the Cool Science Image Contest – but the good ones have a lot in common.
“You will know when you see it. It’s like seeing “Starry Night” or the “Mona Lisa” in person for the first time. They hit you deeply and quickly, ”says Skop. “They’re easy on the eye, simple, and convey meaning. Some pictures just take your breath away. When they look deeper, they exquisitely convey the secrets of science. “
The Cool Science Image Contest recognizes the technical and creative skills required to capture images or videos that reveal something about science or nature while making an impression with their beauty or their ability to work wonders. The competition is sponsored by Madison’s Promega Corp. sponsored, with additional support from the UW-Madison Division of the Arts.
Winning entries will be widely distributed on the UW Madison websites and all entries will be featured at campus science events and in on-campus academic and laboratory facilities throughout the year. Since there was no way to personally present the winners of the 2020 competition, this year’s exhibition has a double function for both the 2020 and 2021 competitions. Check out last year’s winners.
The competition judges were:
Steve Ackerman, Professor of Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences and Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education
Terry Devitt, Director Emeritus Research Communications, University Communications
Kevin Eliceiri, Director, Optical and Computational 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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