“U. of C. contest seeks astronomy art from South Side students”, Hyde Park Herald

February 5, 2024

An astronaut meets a celestial whale in a painting from the 2023 South Side Science Art Contest, April 2023.


Astrophysicists and astronomers at the University of Chicago are holding an art contest with the aim of connecting more South Side kids to the cosmos.

Back for its second year, the South Side Science Art Contest is open to all kindergarten through 12th grade students attending schools on the South Side. Submissions are open now through Feb. 16.

This year’s theme, “Reflecting on Illumination,” is inspired by the total solar eclipse in April. It’s said to be the longest and most visible total solar eclipse that the United States has experienced in 100 years. 

“The cosmic interplay of light and shadow in the form of the solar eclipse has occurred regularly throughout human history and across the globe,” the contest description reads. “Light and shadow also play a fundamental role in art, much in the same way that reflection and illumination play a large role in how we view the solar system and the universe.” 

Emily Lichko, a postdoctoral student at the University of Chicago and plasma physicist, is one of the organizers of the contest. “I work on basically everything that you see lit up in the night sky that’s not a planet,” she said. “So stars, the sun, everything in between.” 

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