SPC’s mission is to engage high school students around the globe in the exploration of scientific concepts through the art of photography. We strive to create an international platform where young minds can express their fascination with science, showcasing their unique perspectives through the camera's eye. This contest aims to blend artistic expression with educational discovery, challenging students to communicate complex scientific ideas visually. We endeavor to inspire a lifelong engagement with science, enhance cross-cultural understanding, and celebrate the diverse ways in which the wonders of science can be captured and shared. By nurturing the talents of these young photographers, we hope to foster a global community that values science communication, critical thinking, and the visual arts as tools for learning and connection.
High school students who are in the 9th to 12th grades (or the international equivalent) are eligible to participate in the contest.
Submissions are accepted annually from Feb 1st through April 1st for the contest of that particular year.1
Submission Deadline: May 1st 2024
Award Announcement: June 1st 20242
There is a limit of 1 entry per category per student each year. Each photo should also include a description under 150 words3
30 USD/ 200 CNY. All income will be used for project operations and other non-profit activities.4
First Prize 150 USD + Certificate
Second Prize 100 USD + Certificate
Third Prize 50 USD + Certificate
Honorable Mention Certificate
- Natural Photos: This category includes photographs capturing real-life scenarios that illustrate various science principles.
- Contrived Photos: In this category, photographs are intentionally composed to demonstrate a specific science principle or a group of related principles.
- Artwork created by artificial intelligence is not permitted.
- Imagery must be produced through the use of smartphones or digital cameras
- Please specify the photographic methods when you submit your work.
- When submitting to the Awards, the focus should be on selecting a photograph that best represents originality, technical skill, and a personal style or voice.
Contrived Photo Sample
By Charmi Rajiv Patel
This is a photo of a water balloon at the exact moment it is popped. As the balloon is popped the water retains the shape of the balloon until gravity pulls the water down. According to Newton’s first law, because the water was previously at rest, it remains at rest until gravity, the unbalanced force, acts upon it. This photo also includes the physics concept of surface tension. Because the water retains the shape of the balloon, the photo shows that the like molecules are attracting to each other. The wisps of water flying out of the water balloon are created as the needle pops the balloon and the latex retracts over the surface of the water, introducing the concept of skin friction -- the drag created by the water as it moves across the skin of the balloon. In the photo, the latex of the balloon is in the process of expanding over the water which is shown toward the bottom left of the balloon where the latex is seeming to pinch the side of the water. Since the force at which the latex expands over the water is proportional to the area of the balloon, the greater the water balloon would have been, the greater the value of its skin friction would have been, and the greater the wisps of water flying out of the water would be. In the end, the photo, while simple on the outside, is a much more complicated action shot when further analyzed.
Natural Photo Sample
By Ryan Blake Miller
There are often instances in our everyday lives when the physics concept of light reflection and refraction can be observed. This photograph provides just that opportunity. The modern skyscrapers that occupy downtown Vancouver, BC are reflected by the waters of False Creek. Instead of a simple mirror image, the rippling and movement of the water itself creates a visually intriguing texture and adds to the artistic composition of the photo. From a physics standpoint, the incident rays from the buildings in the foreground travel towards the water and bounce off the surface at a myriad of different angles which correlate to the undulation of the liquid?s surface. The rays of light, having all been refracted at different angles, travel towards the camera and are captured. The result is an artistic photograph reminiscent of surrealism which the viewer is able to appreciate as being a sight which seems familiar, yet amiss.
Professor Emeritus of Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology
Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Naval Architecture, Ocean & Civil Engineering
Deputy Head of Department of Engineering Mechanics
Oren A. Scherman
University of Cambridge
Professor of Supramolecular & Polymer Chemistry / Director of the Melville Laboratory for Polymer Synthesis