2011 Cool Science Image Contest Slideshow

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2011 Cool Science Image Contest

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Congratulations to our winners!

Scientific imagery, of course, is intended to help scientists. It is a critical form of data in many fields and can yield important and sometimes striking insights into nature.

But the pictures and other images of science can also have remarkable aesthetic qualities that the non-scientist can appreciate. That has been the philosophy of our Cool Science Image feature, published on this site for 15 years.

As an experiment, The Why Files this year held its first Cool Science Image contest. Limited to Why Files headquarters, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the contest yielded more than 60 entries.

Choosing the winners was difficult, but our judges narrowed the field to five winners and two honorable mentions, included in this slide show along with several finalists.

Our experiment, we think, has been a success. Our goal now is to institute this as an annual event, open to scientists everywhere. Our hope is to grow the contest and help bring the visual beauty of science to a larger audience, an aspiration that can make all of us winners.

*If you wish to repost any of these images, please acknowledge the University of Wisconsin-Madison and include a link to this site. We would also appreciate notification of repostings.