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NUANCE: Nanoscale Characterization Experimental Center

"The Art of Science" Image Contest

image contest block imageMany fascinating images are produced using the instruments of the NUANCE Center. Phenomenal research takes place in our center, and the image gallery represents a nice cross-section of this research.

Winning images will be revealed at NUANCE FEST on October 9th, then in the NUANCE Image Gallery, which is located in the 1st floor of Cook Hall, east side of building and the Silverman Hall, 1st floor corridor by room 1593. The images will also be posted on our NUANCE website and our social media pages.


• The contest is open to all students, postdoctoral fellows, research associates, scientists, professors, staff, and external users who use the NUANCE Center instruments. The image submitted must have been produced from a NUANCE Center instrument. Only one entry per person will be allowed.

o If you are a user of an instrument which produces smaller images, you may submit several images as a collage. The collage of images should represent a theme, and preferably be from the same sample.

• Image must not have been fundamentally altered from its original form, or combined with other images for artistic effect. Colorization of the image is not required for submission, you may submit it grayscale, but if you’d like to colorize your image it should be limited to traditional techniques used to better display data. Colorization should not alter the image to present components that were not in the original image. If you’d like to colorize your image and aren’t sure how to do so, see “Basic Photoshop for Electron Microscopy” by Eric Miller:

• The submitter must have been involved in the generation of the image and must obtain permission for its use in this contest from any colleagues who participated in its generation. Acknowledgment of collaborators can be credited in the written description, but only the submitter will be recognized by the judges.

• Each entry must include a short description, of 150 words or less, written in layman's terms. This should describe the image, discuss how it was generated and explain its significance to the research project in which it was produced.

• Each entry must include a 1-5 word title. This can be creative or more literal.

• Images must be submitted by email to, or by drop-box, or flash drive.

• Images will be judged on aesthetics, originality and composition.

• The NUANCE Center reserves the right to use any submitted image for educational and promotional purposes (with credit to the author).

• The deadline for entries has been extended to Sept. 15th, at 5:00pm CST. Online voting takes place from September 18th - October 1st 11:59pm; results will be announced at NUANCE FEST on October 9th. No late entries will be accepted.  You can vote online by visiting here.

• If you have any questions about the rules, please A.J. van Nispen ( / 847-467-3144)

A $100 cash prize will be awarded to the top image and there will be six runner-up prizes.

Categories of winners:

  • 1st Place ($100 Prize Winner)
  • 2nd Place
  • 3rd Place
  • Social Media Winners (2)
  • NUANCE Staff Pick (1)
  • Director's Cut (1)


1st, 2nd, & 3rd Place winners:

  • Visit HERE to vote for your online picks.

Social Media winners:

  • Images will be placed on the NUANCE Facebook page at the beginning of the voting period, September 18.
  • The two pictures with the most "Likes" on the NUANCE Facebook page by the end of the voting period, October 1st, will be the two Social Media Winners.
  • Visit HERE to vote on your social media picks.

The decisions of the votes are final.


1. Your first and last name
2. Your appointment (graduate student, scientist, postdoctoral fellow…)
3. Your affiliation (Northwestern University, Rubicon, Argonne….)
4. Your department, if applicable (Materials Science, Chemistry…)
5. Your research group, if applicable (Dravid research group, Odom research group…)
6. Title of your image
7. Short description of your image (150 words or less), written in layman’s terms.
8. Instrument used to produce image.
9. Image must be submitted in JPEG, PNG or TIFF format, and should the highest-resolution you have available (300 dpi or higher is best).
o If you are a user of an instrument that produces smaller images, you may submit several images as a collage. The collage of images should represent a theme, and preferably be from the same sample.
10. Submit image by email to, or by drop-box, or flash drive.