UC San Diego Library Set to Host 2nd Annual Art of Science Contest

Library celebrates the beauty that can emerge during scientific exploration through art contest

Today, the UC San Diego Library, ranked among the nation’s top 25 public academic libraries, announced it will be hosting its 2nd annual Art of Science contest, a program created by the Library’s Research Data Curation Program (RDCP) and aimed at celebrating the beauty that can emerge during scientific research.  

The 2022 Art of Science contest will kick off on January 18 with the opening of the submission period. UC San Diego students, researchers and affiliates, are invited to submit images or graphics related to their research, along with a caption that explains their work in an engaging and accessible way for non-scientists. Submissions will be accepted through March 4, with judging and open voting beginning soon thereafter. The winners will be announced on May 2. 

“On top of being visually stunning, the brilliance behind the research conducted in UC San Diego’s labs is something to be appreciated and celebrated,” said Colin Zyskowski, director of the UC San Diego EnVision Arts and Engineering Maker Studio, a collaboration between the Jacobs School of Engineering and the Division of Arts and Humanities. “This contest allows us to connect with our research in a visceral manner and witness it being displayed through an artistic lens. I’m thankful that the Library identified such compelling synergy between art and science and created this engaging program. It was a pleasure to serve as a judge for the inaugural year of the contest.” 

Being of service to the entire UC San Diego community, the Library is uniquely situated when it comes to having a window into all the awe-inspiring research that takes place on campus. Data curators work with researchers across a range of scientific disciplines as they prepare data for the Library’s Research Data Collections repository. The allure of some of these research data sets has inspired RDCP to host the Art of Science contest, which in addition to highlighting the connection between art and science, is also designed to raise awareness of the Library’s data curation services, which are free to students, faculty and affiliates.  

“Our Research Data Curation Program supports a core piece of the Library’s strategic plan: engaging with campus partners to make digital scholarly work and data openly discoverable and accessible,” said Roger Smith, associate university librarian, scholarly resources and services. “We collaborate with faculty, researchers, students and other partners to ensure the long-term accessibility of scholarly works in all formats. We hope this contest brings further awareness to this service at the Library and encourages more UC San Diego affiliates and partners to leverage the talents of our experts.”  

The Library’s Research Data Collections repository hosts more than 40 terabytes of data from a range of scientific disciplines, including archeology, chemistry, climate science, structural engineering and ocean science. These data sets are preserved in Chronopolis, a preservation network that replicates the data among three geographically dispersed partner sites adding to the security and integrity of the content. RDCP is available to assist all UC San Diego and affiliate researchers with their creation of a data management plan; train on data management best practices; provide guidance on depositing data in a repository; create a digital object identifier (DOI) for research outputs; and advise on research computing skills. 

“I’ve always wanted to introduce the public to the fascinating world of microscopic science,” said Keunyoung Kim, 2021 Art of Science contest winner and project scientist at the National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research at UC San Diego. “I am grateful to the Library for giving me the ability to do just that through this program. If you’re working on research that is visual in nature, I encourage you to submit your work for consideration.”

This year’s Art of Science contest is supported by the San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat), a local museum and regional biological research center that shares the Library’s passion for the intersection of art and science. To help share the winning submissions with the wider San Diego community, The Nat will be hosting an exhibit in a gallery on the 1st floor of the museum this summer. A duplicate exhibit will be on display concurrently in the breezeway at the Biomedical Library Building at UC San Diego for the campus community to readily enjoy.

For more information about the Art of Science contest, please contact the Research Data Curation team at research-data-curation@ucsd.edu or visit lib.ucsd.edu/artofscience.

About the UC San Diego Library

The UC San Diego Library, ranked among the nation’s top 25 public academic libraries, plays a critical role in advancing and supporting the university’s research, teaching, patient care, and public service missions. The world-renowned research for which UC San Diego is known starts at the UC San Diego Library, which provides the foundation of knowledge needed to advance cutting-edge discoveries in a wide range of disciplines, from healthcare and science to public policy and the arts.


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.