2010 Contest

First Place – Jie Ren

Graduate Student in Physics

 Sand Strings: Granular materials, such as sand, behave in a surprising way: they can flow like a liquid, yet carry weight like a solid. We employ photographic techniques to study this behavior in a two dimensional model system: we use transparent disks made of photo-elastic material that changes its optical properties when subjected to a force. Images such as shown reveal the otherwise hidden and intricate force network between the particles, and continue to give surprising new insights in the interesting behavior of something as common as sand.

Second Place — Joshua Dijksman

Post-Doctoral Fellow in Physics

Bubbles in a Petri Dish: This is an image of a layer of UV-light exposed fluorescent foam bubbles in a petri dish, squeezed between a liquid and the confining lid. Such monolayers of bubbles are used as a model system to study the intricate and poorly understood mechanical behavior of disordered systems like sand, mayonnaise and, yes, shaving foam. This image is one of the first proof-of-principles that shows that a fluorescent dye in the fluid can greatly facilitate recognizing the foam bubbles, which in these studies is an essential yet otherwise strenuous task.

Third Place and People's Choice — Lola Kelleher

Senior at New York City Lab School for Collaborative Studies

Rain on Windshield: The rain illuminates moving traffic during a torrential storm, from behind a car window. The combination of movement, light,and reflection created the illusion of an Aurora Borealis-like sky. The rainstorm which was once a dreary misfortune became a sublime marvel with the lens of my camera.

Honorable Mentions

John Dolbow

Faculty in Duke Civil & Environmental Engineering

Broken: Embedded finite element simulation of dynamic fracture in an expanding ring.

Yuejun Zhao

Post-Doctoral Fellow in Duke Mechanical Engineering & Material Science

U.F.O. (Unidentified Floating Object): On a flat hydrophobic surface subject to a linear temperature gradient, a droplet of water-heptanol mixture takes on the shape of an UFO. The binary droplet is driven by interfacial stresses toward the colder region, leaving a wake behind. Since the exact mechanism is still unknown, the self-propelling droplet is named an UFO (unidentified floating object) for now.

Martin Hautefeuille

Post-Doctoral Fellow in Duke Civil & Environmental Engineering

Popcorn Math: Mathematics of a popcorn flake

Gwendolyn Williams

Graduate Student in Biology

Agave: This species of agave displays ghostly impressions on its leaves, reflecting its pattern of growth and development. Photographed in the mountains of Tamaulipas, Mexico.

Elliott Hagedorn

Graduate Student in Genetics & Genomics

Ceiling light through a drinking glass: Image was taken by placing the camera lens inside of a drinking glass and pointing it towards a ceiling light in the room.