Scientific Images Contest

The same scientific research that generates new understanding and innovation also brings unexpected and often breathtaking beauty. Northwestern University's annual scientific images contest, "Capturing the Beauty of Science," celebrates and showcases the aesthetic side of research. 

Submitted by Northwestern University researchers, these images represent advances across a wide range of disciplines, including medicine, genetics, chemistry, engineering, and nanotechnology. Judged by an interdisciplinary panel of local artists, scientists and community leaders, each image comes from a Northwestern research project and cannot be fundamentally altered from its original form. In essence, the images represent both scientific data and art.

The winning images have been displayed throughout the Chicagoland area, including WBEZ's studio on Navy Pier, Harold Washington Library, Evanston Public Library, the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, WBEZ's North Side Community Bureau and the Evanston Arts Center.

The contest also serves as a science communications training platform by offering winning scientists the opportunity to participate in outreach events at local schools, libraries, and community centers. Hear more about the project in this WTTW interview (skip to 36:20).

Visit HELIX magazine to view winning images, or click on the gallery links below:

2016 Winners Gallery and 2016 student art pieces (Find out more about this collaborative art project here.)

2015 Winners Gallery

2014 Winners Gallery

2013 Winners Gallery

2012 Winners Gallery

2011 Winners Gallery

2010 Winners Gallery

To purchase fine art and canvas prints of your favorite images, visit our online store on Imagekind:

Download the "Beauty of Science" app from the iTunes Store

Click here for the app support page


Scientific Images Contest
Chambers Hall, 600 Foster St
Evanston, IL 60208
Phone: 847-467-3297

Get Involved!

Submissions open each spring. Exhibitions roll out the following academic year.

Want to know more about the project? See this recent news piece to get a flavor of the opportunities available to winners each year.

Visit the HELIX Magazine website for the latest in science news.

Science in Society has been publishing original articles, Q&As and blog posts by Northwestern faculty, students, staff and alumni in our online magazine since 2008.

Visit our online calendar to find science outreach events at Northwestern and in the Chicagoland area that are designed for the public.

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