PhysCon Art Contest

Share This:

The Particle Decay Series, a set of jewelry by Kristal Feldt, won Best in Show in the 2008 Quadrennial Physics Congress Art Contest.


The 2008 and 2012 Congress art contests were great successes, and we’re looking forward to new artwork and participation in 2016.

See 2008 Art Contest Winners | See 2012 Art Contest Winners

Attendees are encouraged to submit their 2- and 3-D creations for display and/or judging at the 2016 Quadrennial Physics Congress (PhysCon). Selected winners will display their artwork at a regional or national physics meeting, will be featured on the PhysCon website, and published in Radiations and The SPS Observer magazines.

Art Contest Rules

Submissions of any type of visual art, such as paintings, photographs, collages, holograms, and sculptures are invited from any Congress attendee. Collaborative projects, particularly those by SPS or ΣΠΣ Chapters, are also invited. Artwork should be mounted by noon on Friday, November 4th, and will remain in place for the entire meeting.



The Optical Society of America Foundation (OSAF) has generously funded the OSA Art Awards. Award categories include:

  • The OSA Art Award for Best in Show recognizes the overall most outstanding piece of art as determined by the session judges. Artwork will be judged on artistic merit, originality, category-specific attributes, accompanying abstract and adherence to submission guidance.
  • The OSA Art Award for People’s Choice recognizes outstanding artwork as selected by session attendees.
  • The OSA Awards for General Science, Unifying Fields (mixed media) and Tour Site Inspiration (3 awards) recognize the relevance of the piece to the specific category and how well the piece conveys scientific content.

Judging Criteria

Artwork will be judged based on the following considerations:

  • Artistic merit
  • Originality
  • Category-specific attributes
    • Does the work really fit in the category? 
    • General Science: Is the science evident?  How well does the art convey the scientific principles?
    • Unifying Fields: How well does the art integrate mixed media into the presentation?
    • Tour Inspired: Is it obvious what tour site inspired the artwork? How well was the theme of the tour site integrated in the piece?
  • Accompanying abstract (description of artwork)
    • Is any scientific information correct?
    • Does the description enhance the viewer’s experience?
  • Adherence to Rules for Submission (listed below)

Artwork Specifications

  • Any photographs submitted should have been taken by the submitting artist. Photographs taken by someone else will be disqualified, unless they are incorporated into a different artistic work by the artist.
  • 2D artwork must be mounted on a stiff backing (e.g., cardboard, poster board or foam board) to which strips of Velcro will be adhered for hanging. Artwork must be able to hang as described without damage to the work, and protrusions can extend no more than 4" from the backing. If your work of art is too heavy to be suspended by velcro, please contact the Art Committee Chair, Brittney Hauke, at bmhauke [at] to make advance arrangements.
  • 3D artwork should weigh no more than 50 lbs and should fit on a 3' x 3’ table top, unless advance arrangements are made (for advance arrangements, contact the Art Committee Chair, Brittney Hauke, at bmhauke [at]
  • Abstracts must be mounted separately on a stiff backing (e.g., cardboard, poster board, foam board, or some like material), and should fit onto a 4 x 6” index card 

Rules for Submission

  • Entrants may submit multiple works of art, either individual or as part of group submissions. Work may be designated as “display only” if the artist prefers that it not be considered for prizes.
  • Artwork must meet the specifications listed above.
  • Artwork must be entered by the artist into one of following categories:
    • General Science
    • Unifying Fields (mixed media)
    • Tour Site Inspiration: SLAC, NASA-Ames, X (formerly Google X)
  • Each submission must be accompanied by an abstract of no more than 200 words, summarizing how the piece exemplifies the theme for which it is submitted. Each abstract should be mounted onto a 4 x 6” index card and will be hung next to the entry.
  • Artists must fill out the abstract submission form on the Congress website by October 1, 2016.
  • Artists are responsible for transporting their artwork to the Congress. They may ship the artwork in advance or bring it with them to the Congress.
  • Artists bringing their own work should bring it to Harbor Room A between 11:30AM and 2:00PM on Friday. Artists shipping their artwork to the Hyatt will incur a Hyatt handling fee. Hyatt will not be responsible for damaged shipments.
  • Artists should plan on standing alongside their artwork during Poster & Art Session I, Friday from 2:45 pm – 5:00 pm; and Poster & Art Session II, Saturday from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm.
  • Artists should plan on removing their art immediately following the Poster Sesssion II and Art Show, which ends at 6:00pm on Saturday, November 5th.

Compliance with these rules will be determined by the organizing committee, but exceptions may be made with advance arrangement, subject to approval by the organizing committee. If you have questions about the eligibility of your submission or want to request an exception, please contact the Art Committee Chair Brittney Hauke at bmhauke [at] ahead of time to check.