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2022 Cool Science Image Contest

May 3, 2022

2022 Cool Science Image Contest winners have been announced!

Want to share your work or interest in science?

Send us your cool science images and videos.

A crested gecko keeps its clear, immovable eyelids clean and moist with a swipe of the tongue in this 2020 winner by postdoc Nisha Iyer.

What we’re looking for

This contest is open to the UW–Madison community. Faculty, staff, students, postdocs and others with campus connections are eligible, and may enter as individuals or groups.

Images can depict an object or phenomenon from any discipline, and we welcome any method of producing an image — including, but not limited to:

    • • Microscopy
      • Photography (astronomy, nature, etc.)
      • Animations and (short) videos
      • Medical imaging
      • Science-as-art
      • Schematics
      • Photos of 3D-printed objects

Images will be judged on aesthetic and informational qualities.


Check out the 2022 winners.


What you could win

  • A published image. Winning entries are featured in slide shows on UW–Madison and select external web sites and venues.
  • A valuable prize. Creators receive receive a Downtown Madison gift certificate for each winning image or video.
  • A large format print. Winners receive a large format print of their cool image or still from their video.
  • Winning images will also be displayed in a fall semester exhibit at the McPherson Eye Research Institute’s Mandelbaum and Albert Vision Gallery and for a year at Promega’s Fitchburg headquarters.


How to enter

[Entries are closed for the 2022 contest. See you next year!]

Photo: An immunohistology staining of a human tissue containing blood vessels

Immunohistology or impressionism? This image, by postdoc Wei-Hua Lee, of human tissue and blood vessels was among the winners of the 2016 Cool Science Image contest. Image by Wei-Hua Lee

Our entry form will ask for the following information:

  • Who to credit, including the names and titles of the individuals responsible for creating the image.
  • Your affiliation with UW–Madison (i.e. undergraduate student, graduate student, postdoc, faculty, or staff). Please include university departments.
  • Your permission to allow us to reprint your entries.
  • A caption, no more than 150 words long, that answers questions like these:
    — What does the image depict?
    — How was the image made?
    — What is an interesting fact about the object or phenomenon depicted?
    — How is this object, phenomenon and/or method of image-making important to your research, discipline, studies or interests?

Important note: Please write your caption in layman’s terms, avoiding scientific jargon. It should be easy for a non-scientist to understand. An image that can be described in a meaningful way to a broad audience has an advantage in our contest.

Image quality is important. Please enter high-resolution image files. We are keenly aware of copyright issues on the web and we always credit creators when publishing images or videos. We hope this encourages others to be respectful of copyrighted property.

Winners will be announced soon.

Judges and advisors

  • Steve Ackerman, professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences
  • Terry Devitt, emeritus director of research communications, University Communications
  • Kevin Eliceiri, director, Laboratory for Optical and Computational Instrumentation
  • Michael King, visual communications specialist, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
  • Steve Paddock, associate scientist, Department of 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

Tags: research