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Friday, Oct. 24, 2014

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Contest showcases beauty in science

In an effort to spur greater dialogue between the arts and sciences, a group of Princeton researchers has organized a contest for aesthetically appealing images that have emerged from scientific research or technical innovation.

The contest organizers are soliciting images from faculty, staff and students in any department at Princeton. The images may come directly from research in science and engineering or may be works by artists who incorporate tools and concepts from science. The deadline for entries is 4 p.m. Monday, April 4.

“We want to find the people at the University who are making imagery as part of their research and get them more involved in the visual arts program at Princeton and in the arts in general,” said Andrew Moore, a lecturer in the Council of the Humanities and the Program in Visual Arts.

Scientific images, such as a microscopic view of a cell or a computer simulation of a fluid flow, often have an intrinsic beauty, he said. In addition, scientists are increasingly finding ways to generate visual representations of complex data sets to discern underlying patterns. “So we thought: Why not look at this work from an aesthetic standpoint, from the standpoint of making art?” Moore said.

The top three entries will be recognized with cash prizes, and about 30 entries will be selected for an exhibit in the Friend Center in May. The work also will be shown on the display wall that is being constructed in the Icahn Laboratory.

The prizes are $250 for first place; $154.50 for second; and $95.50 for third. The organizers derived these amounts according to the golden ratio, a mathematical proportion that has been found in aesthetically pleasing designs, from seashells to ancient Greek temples.

The contest is co-sponsored by the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, the Council of the Humanities, the Office of Information Technology, the Program in Visual Arts and the departments of computer science, comparative literature and molecular biology.

Details about the contest and how to submit images are available online.

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