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  • April Green

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  • April Green

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UC San Diego Library and San Diego Natural History Museum Collaborate to Raise Awareness of the Beauty that Emerges During Scientific Research

New community partnership results in an exhibit celebrating the intersection between art and science

Today, the UC San Diego Library announced its new community partnership with the San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat), which has resulted in an art exhibit that will be featured at the Balboa Park museum and UC San Diego from August 12 to October 24, 2022. The exhibit features the winning images from the Library’s 2022 Art of Science contest, a program aimed at celebrating the beauty that can emerge during scientific research at UC San Diego and beyond.

Seaweed Kaleidoscopes

Seaweed Kaleidoscopes was created using pressings of common seaweed species found in San Diego by Adi Khen, Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, Smith Lab.

Each year, the Art of Science contest kicks off with a call for submissions where UC San Diego students, researchers and affiliates are invited to submit images or graphics that tells a story about their research, along with a caption that explains their work in an engaging and accessible way for non-scientists. A panel of judges composed of UC San Diego faculty and campus and community administrators select the winners and the works are put on display on campus, and now this year in Balboa Park, providing greater public access.

“We are excited to embark on this new community partnership with the San Diego Natural History Museum and are grateful for their willingness to highlight the Art of Science contest and this year’s winners,” said Audrey Geisel University Librarian Erik Mitchell. “The contest was originally created to raise awareness of the Library’s research data curation services, which are available free of charge to UC San Diego affiliates, and has evolved into a program that serves multiple audiences and scientific disciplines. I’m glad this program is in place; it gives us the opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the brilliance behind the research conducted in the university’s labs.”

2022 Art of Science Winners

  • Edward Ashworth, postdoctoral researcher, Department of Emergency Medicine at UC San Diego with contributions from Ryotaro Ogawa and Peter Lindholm
  • Adi Khen, graduate student, Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, Smith Lab
  • Anne Lyons, doctoral student, Department of Bioengineering at UC San Diego, Jin Zhang Lab with contributions from Danielle Schmitt, Sohum Mehta and Jin Zhang
  • Lev Tsimring, research scientist, BioCircuits Institute at UC San Diego with contributions from Liyang Xiong
  • Maggie Yu, undergraduate student, Departments of Cognitive Science and Visual Arts at UC San Diego

2022 Art of Science Honorable Mentions

  • Mitchell Chandler, graduate student, Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego
  • Loren Phillips, undergraduate student, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UC San Diego
  • Sheng Xu, associate professor, Departments of Nanoengineering, Bioengineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering at UC San Diego with contributions from Yusheng Lei

3D model of jellyfishes generated by diffusion tensor imaging by Maggie Yu.

The Library’s Research Data Collections repository hosts more than 40 terabytes of data from a range of scientific disciplines at UC San Diego, including archeology, chemistry, climate science, structural engineering, ocean science and more. The allure and beauty of some of these digital resources inspired the Library to host the Art of Science contest.

“The Art of Science contest gave me the opportunity to articulate my research in an accessible manner,” said Anne Lyons, 2022 Art of Science contest winner and doctoral student at the Department of Bioengineering at UC San Diego. “It's a true privilege to share a glimpse of the captivating activities occurring inside of cells. I’m honored to have been selected as a winner this year and look forward to visiting the exhibits to learn more about the scientific artworks on display.”

Bacterial Flowers

Bacterial Flowers, an image of complex structures that arise during interactions between different strains of bacteria by Lev Tsimring with contributor Liyang Xiong.

The Art of Science exhibit will feature eight images from the 2022 contest and will be located in the museum’s 1st floor gallery. A duplicate exhibit will be on display concurrently in the breezeway at UC San Diego’s WongAvery Library for the campus community to readily enjoy. To view these images along with the winning images from last year’s contest, visit the Library’s digital exhibit, which will also be accessible via a QR code on the exhibit title wall panel.

“We are two organizations that conduct research and provide science communication for the public, so naturally The Nat is excited to showcase the research occurring at UC San Diego through the beautiful artwork of the contest winners,” said Justin Canty, vice president of education and engagement at the Museum. “The fields of art and science work incredibly well together because they provide a way to explore, express and describe the world around us — something which both of our organizations are committed to. The work featured in this exhibition will provide a truly unique perspective for the community to understand science.”

For more information, visit the Art of Science contest website. To view the 2022 Art of Science digital exhibit, visit

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