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Science as Art

  MRS Foundation LogoAs a special feature of MRS meetings, we offer the popular Science as Art competitions with entry open to all registered meeting attendees. 

Visualization methods provide an important tool in materials science for the analysis and presentation of scientific work. Images can often convey information in a way that tables of data or equations cannot match. Occasionally, scientific images transcend their role as a medium for transmitting information and contain the aesthetic qualities that transform them into objects of beauty and art.

The galleries below represent some of the best entries from past meetings.

Copyright for these images belongs to the Materials Research Society. To request permission to reuse the images, please contact us here »

In addition, we invite you to view this video featuring some of the best entries from past MRS Science as Art competitions:

Science as Art Winners

2021 Virtual MRS Spring Meeting

Click on image to see a full-size version in a new browser tab. 




Separated Yet Connected

Alekha Tyagi, Indian Institute of Technology

Presented here is a FESEM micrograph of a nickel sulphide-doped carbon hybrid material for ORR catalysis with unique porous interconnected morphology. Our lives are highly interconnected as a virus originated at one corner created havoc in the entire world. The COVID-19 pandemic confined us in narrow spaces (pores). Staying in touch with maintaining social distancing is important in these times to avoid anxiety and depression. The image is coloured as rainbow to represent the combined efforts of different people around the world to end this pandemic (realize a white (bright) future).

The Silicon Planet vs Covid19 Comet

Poorani Gnanasambandan, Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology

The Silicon Planet is a collage of thin film on Si deposited using Atomic Layer Deposition Blue: 12-in Si monitor consisting of 91.84±2.32nm MgO film Pink: Wafer pieces from 201.24±1.28nm ZnO film Green: 303.91±1.89nm Zn1-xSnxO films.  The Collage has been Photoshopped into background. Background stars and covid virus image: From Pixabay. 

Lithium Dendrite Aquarium

Vikalp Raj, IISc Bangalore

This is a cross-sectional SEM image of a lithium/solid electrolyte (Li6.4La3Zr1.4Ta0.6O12) interface. On the rightmost edge we have lithium metal interface with solid electrolyte (shaded in red). The fish is just a piece of lithium metal hanging from the parent lithium. The bottom rock like morphology is the solid electrolyte. On top of solid electrolyte, we have electrochemical growth of lithium dendrites (shaded in green) with curvy rods like morphology. Adobe Photoshop was used to false color this SEM image. (Photoshop credits: Sourayan Basu Bal)




Snowman Village

Eunjin Choi, Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems

An SEM image of standing gold (Au) nanodimers, separated by a dielectric nanogap. The snowman-like nanodimers are fabricated by a wafer-scale "lithography-free" scheme, glancing angle deposition (GLAD) with thermal annealing.

La Marche des Aiguilles/ The March of the Needles

Sara Coppola, CNR ISASI

The artwork “La marche des aiguilles / The march of the needles” represents a collection of biocompatible and functionalized microneedles for drug-delivery, just like the spectacular film “La marche de l'empereur / March of the Penguins (2005)”. The images were taken under photoluminescence emission of the micro-structures fabricated by physical intelligence driven by pyro-electric effect.

Water Lilies in the Moonlight

Yadong Yin, University of California, Riverside

This artwork is inspired by a transmission electron microscopy image of silicate nanosheet assemblies synthesized in a colloidal reaction. With a well-defined flower-like morphology, these nanosheet assemblies are reminiscent of water lilies blooming in a pond. The flowers and leaves were colored digitally using an oil painting effect, giving them vitality that bursts in tranquility and harmony.