Art of Science 2014: Princeton launches online galleries of prize-winning images and video

Jul 22, 2014
"Fungus among us" is by James S. Waters (postdoctoral researcher). Our bodies are ecosystems. From the bacteria in our bellies to the mites on our eyelashes, an entire frontier of unexplored diversity is living and breathing alongside and within us. The same is true for other animals as well, including ants. I photographed this microscopic view of an unidentified species of Rhizopus fungus growing on debris within a lab-reared colony of Aphaenogaster rudis seed-harvesting ants. The gossamer network of strands making up the fungal mycelium transports nutrients between spores (the brown spheres here), which helps them to reproduce. Those spores are tiny -- 64,000 times smaller than the typical ant in whose colony they share a home. Credit: James Waters, Princeton University Art of Science Competition.

The exhibit consists of both still images and video of artistic merit created during the course of scientific research. Forty-four still images were chosen from more than 250 submissions from undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, staff, and alumni representing more than 25 different University departments. Twelve videos were chosen from more than 50 submissions.

Zach Donnell, a graduate student in molecular biology and one of the 2014 organizers, noted that the exhibit highlights the interplay between art and science. "While the scientific methods behind the exhibit strive for objectivity and consensus, everyone's individual response to the images is subjective and highly personal," he said.

The top three image entrants as chosen by a distinguished jury received cash prizes in amounts calculated by the golden ratio (whose proportions have since antiquity been considered to be aesthetically pleasing): first prize, $250; second prize, $154.51; and third prize, $95.49.

1st – Sara Sadri, postdoc, Civil and Environmental Engineering, "Watermarks"

2nd – James S. Waters, postdoc, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, "Fungus among us"

3rd – Yasmin Afsar, graduate student, Electrical Engineering, "Portrait of the artist in the air shower"

"Watermarks" is by Sara Sadri (postdoctoral researcher). Water can erode rock, carve through cliffs, and sculpt sand. Water moving back and forth on the Atlantic coast created this intricate pattern. As a hydrologist, I am fascinated by the natural phenomena of our beautiful planet. The way water in this picture found its way back to the ocean reminded me of a peacock's tail spreading under the sun or a woman's hair blowing in the wind. Credit: Sara Sadri, Princeton University Art of Science competition

This is the seventh Princeton University Art of Science competition but the first to include a category of video. The top video award was a GoPro camera, awarded to Sabine Petry, assistant professor of molecular biology, for "Microtubules branch out."

"So much of science and engineering involves video or animation these days that it was inevitable we would include it in Art of Science," said Dan Quinn, a graduate student in mechanical and who is one of the 2014 exhibit organizers.

The jury for the print images included David Dobkin, Dean of the Faculty; Katherine Bussard, Peter C. Bunnell curator of photography at the Princeton Art Museum; and Naomi Ehrich Leonard, Edwin S. Wilsey Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and director of the Council on Science and Technology.

The jury for the videos included Renee Hlozek, postdoctoral research associate in astrophysical sciences; Sam Wang, associate professor of and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute; and filmmaker Michael E. Wood '08.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.
This compilation reel gives a glimpse of each of 12 videos in the 2014 Princeton Art of Science exhibit. Credit: Dan Quinn, Princeton University Art of Science Competition

Those attending the opening reception for the physical gallery in May were asked to fill out a paper "People's Choice" ballot. Of 185 ballots cast, 1st place for the still image went to "Fruit fly factory" by Yogesh Goyal (graduate student), Bomyi Lim (graduate student), Miriam Osterfield (postdoctoral researcher), Stas Shvartsman (faculty), of Chemical and Biological Engineering. The People's Choice award for video went to "Plenty of Fish" by Colin Twomey (graduate student) and Haishan Wu (postdoctoral researcher) of Ecology and Evolutionary

The physical gallery of the 2014 exhibit will be on view in the Friend Center on the Princeton University campus through the end of April 2015. The gallery is free and open to the public from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday, excluding major holidays. Directions to the Friend Center may be found here.

Explore further: Princeton to offer meningitis B vaccine to 6,000

More information: artofsci.princeton.edu/

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