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Discovering beauty through the Art of Science

"Stressful Beauty" by Emma Liu

"Micro-Yacht" by Peter Heard

Press release issued: 4 December 2014

Proving that science involves much more than lab coats and complex tests, the Art of Science competition has returned to Bristol.

The competition offers a unique challenge to researchers - to find and publicise the aesthetic beauty in their laboratories and experiments.

The pictures produced by University of Bristol scientists reveal the unexpected imagery that can be discovered by looking at technical research from a new perspective.

This year, there were 103 entries which were displayed and judged at an event held in the atrium of the University’s new Life Sciences building.

There were 12 wining images in all, which fell into three categories: the judges’ vote, the people’s vote, and the school’s vote, which was judged by pupils from St Michael’s on the Mount Primary School.

The judges were Professor Sir Michael Berry, from the School of Physics, Fred Swist, a senior graphic designer at the Institute of Physics and Denzel Le Roy, a dentist and artist.

Among the winners were Emma Liu from the School of Earth Sciences, who captured an image of the internal stresses of a Prince Rupert Drop, shown through colour.  A Prince Rupert Drop is a tadpole-shaped glass structure, created by dropping molten glass into cold water.

Another unusual image was taken by Dr Peter Heard, from the Interface Analysis Centre.  Entitled Micro-Yacht, and taken through an electron microscope, it shows a platinum structure deposited onto silicon with an electron beam in a platinum-bearing vapour.

Becky Brooks, a PhD student in the School of Biochemistry and co-ordinator of the competition, said: "I very much enjoyed organising and running this year's competition. We opened it up to both the Faculty of Medical and Veterinary Sciences and the Faculty of Science, so we received really exciting entries that stimulated some great discussions and got people talking about their research.

“A personal highlight for me was one of the organisers introducing a ten-year-old pupil to a physics professor - they had a 20 minute discussion about how to take a picture of the galaxy we live in. For me that's what events like this are all about - making science accessible."

Many of the winning entries will be selected and submitted to Wellcome Images – a biomedical collection which holds over 40,000 high-quality images from the clinical and biomedical sciences, and is the world’s leading source of images of medicine and its history.


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