Data curators at the UC San Diego Library have the privilege of working with researchers from a wide range of scientific disciplines as they prepare data for the Library’s research data collections repository. The visually stunning nature of some of the research data sets they curate inspired the Library’s Research Data Curation program to host its inaugural Art of Science contest.
The contest was created for two reasons: to celebrate the beauty that can emerge during scientific exploration and to raise awareness of the Library’s data curation services.
In February 2021, UC San Diego and affiliate students, postdoctoral and faculty researchers were invited to submit images or graphics related to their research, along with a caption thatexplained their work in an engaging and accessible way. Many of the contest participants used imaging techniques to capture beauty that normally goes unseen by the human eye, which as contest award winner Keunyoung Kim says, “can be so intricately and artistically organized.”
Researcher-artists were allowed to modify images in order to enhance overall aesthetics, and images could be obtained by a variety of techniques. For example, submissions could be the result of modeling and simulation or created by combining multiple images into one. Photographs depicting instrumentation, apparatus, devices or other objects used during scientific investigation were also accepted.
Four award-winning images were selected by a panel of judges froma range of academic disciplines and campus roles. Three additional images were awarded honorable mention and a separate prize was awarded to the overall crowd favorite, which was identified during the open voting period.
The Research Data Curation program acknowledges the generous support of Wendy Ibsen and Arica Lubin for sharing their insights about producing the UC Santa Barbara Art of Science contest; Brian Wolf for giving a deep dive into the UC Santa Barbara Art of Science website development tools; student graphic designer Erinna Lin for creating the Art of Science mark; and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies for their partnership. We hope you enjoy a glimpse into our participants’ worlds of research.
View the online exhibit at lib.ucsd.edu/aosexhibit.
UC San Diego Judging Committee
- Anita Bandrowski, Department of Neurosciences, FAIR Data Informatics Lab
- Ricardo Dominguez, Visual Arts, Principal Investigator at CALIT2 and the Performative Nano-Robotics Lab at Structural and Materials Engineering
- Vic Ferriera, Professor, Department of Psychology
- Ananda Goldrath, Professor, Division of Biological Sciences, Molecular Biology Section, Tata Chancellor’s Endowed Professorship in Molecular Biology
- Christine Kirkpatrick, Division Director, Research Data Services, San Diego Supercomputer Center
- Maryann Martone, Professor Emerita Department of Neuroscience, FAIR Data Informatics Lab
- Robert Twomey, Visiting Scholar, Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination
- Colin Zyskowski, Assistant Director, EnVision Arts and Engineering Maker Studio, Jacobs School of Engineering
UC San Diego Library Judging Subcommittee
- Tim Marconi, Director of Technology and Digital Experience
- Sue McGuinness, Director of Academic Engagement and Learning Services
- David Minor, Director of Research Data Curation
Image: Judges’ Award, Graduate Student Participant Category [ above ], Drifting World through the Scripps Plankton Camera, By Pichaya Lertvilai, graduate student associated with Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Jaffe Laboratory of Underwater Imaging. A collage of tiny ocean drifters imaged by the Scripps plankton camera shows the hidden beauty of the underwater world that is unseen to naked eye.