Programs & Outreach

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 Anita Miller at

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

2018 MRS Fall Meeting

In this photo, you are seeing the SEM image of a transition metal carbide (MXene) fiber showing similar features (at the micro-scale) to that of a coral reef. Who Lives in Your Nanotubes is an image acquired by field-emission scanning electron microscopy of high purity carbon nanotubes.  The presence of "alien" silhouettes are visible to the viewer. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) image of a two-dimensional (2D) V2CTx MXene particle showing similarities to the head of an imaginary giant turtle under the sea. The diversity of ZTO nanostructures achieved in a simple low-temperature hydrothermal synthesis. This is a creatively colored SEM image of a Monarch Butterfly's wing segment. Thanks to Ms. Marion Jacob for providing the wing sample. Soft microrobots captured and sterilized by the attack of immune cells, looking like various Monster characters.

2018 MRS Spring Meeting

Polyethylenimine and PEDOT:PSS mixed scaffold obtained after freeze-drying process This is a TEM image of titania nanofibers that we synthesized using a solution phase reaction. No additional editing has been made other than coloring the parts of flowers and adding the texts. Photocatalytic Cu(x)W(y)S2 by Chemical vapor deposition [False Colored SEM] Dendritic antimony selenide micro-trees as seen through an optical microscope. The growth of zinc carbonate crystals from zinc oxide The deep-sea fish is a SEM image of a MXene/gelatin composite. The fish represents a blend of two materials from different worlds, namely, two-dimensional inorganic ceramic (MXene) and a natural polymer (gelatin).

2017 MRS Fall Meeting

thin films of crystalline V2O3 consisting of nanosheets with a flower-like morphology  [Co-author: David Graf] This SEM image shows crystals of the two-dimensional material molybdenum disulfide (MoS2). Here, we see many of these triangular crystals have merged together to create a stunning scene of MoS2 “stars”. chemical vapor deposition SEM image of a big nanoparticle, sunken into an amorphous inverse opal. Copper chalcogenide nanostructure is a promising material for sensors, catalysis, and solar energy conversion. When we can control their assembled structure, the range of application can be explored. A thermoelectric bismuth telluride micro-film fabricated by electrochemical deposition, which can transform heat into electricity, mimmics the shape of a sunflower, which collects sunpower and transforms it into biomass.

2017 MRS Spring Meeting

SEM image of the freeze-fractured cross-section of a polynuclear microcapsule embedded in a polymer matrix. Nano-anatase (TiO2) crystals decorating amorphous graphene-like carbon, fabricated by oxidizing two-dimensional Ti3C2 MXene powder. Authors: Leah Clark, Babak Anasori, Yury Gogotsi Copper microstructures synthesized by template electrodeposition. The world map design was first patterned using a laser-writer on a fluorescent copper-clad circuit board from which fresh copper was then etched out using the conventional photolithography process. Based on SEM micrograph of accumulative roll bonded Cu/Nb nanolayers. The shape is obtained via FIB cutting. The image shows an array of self-folding microstructures. Each structure is 70 micrometers from tip to tip before folding. Green represents the head; red represents the two arms; blue represents the legs.