This year, we are inviting members of the EFRC, Hub, CMS, and CCS communities to use their creativity and imaginations to produce science-inspired images and poetry. This is an optional contest in the same spirit as the Life at the Frontiers of Energy Research Video Contest, Life at the Frontiers of Energy Research Video Contest II, Ten Hundred and One Word Challenge, Poetry of Science Contest, and Intersection of Sounds and Science Podcast Contest, as we’ve done in past Principal Investigators’ Meetings. These contests are designed to educate, inspire, and entertain a well-informed but non-expert audience with the extraordinary science, innovation, and people in the EFRCs.

The People's Choice voting is now open!

Come and explore this year’s creative entries and vote for your favorite poetry art inspired by science! Whether if it is because you loved the poem, the image, or the connection to science, simply click on the "Vote" button next to your favorite entry and enter your email to show them your support.

We encourage you to vote for your top two choices as you may vote for up to two (2) entries. Please invite your friends and family to vote for their favorites as well!

The People’s Choice voting will end on September 15, 2023, 5:00 pm EST. Winners of the People’s Choice and the juried contest entries will be announced on September 18th during the PI meeting.


The Hierarchy of Cellulose

A complex hierarchy
Not of people, but of molecules
An intricate hierarchy
Not social, not corporate, but natural
Extremely organized, but riddled with chaos, too
Intertwining chains, forming cliques with one another
Reaching out, pulling others into their growing bundles
Coming together, until fully eclipsed by a whole new scale
Scale up and up
Atoms, molecules, polymers, fibers, cell walls, stems
Up and up
Until the trees brush the clouds

An intricate hierarchy
Detailed, yet disordered
Transforming with each step
From miniscule, to immense
Into a beautifully constructed network
Entangled and sophisticated
Designed carefully, by nature itself

Votes:112 -->


heat - motion - transport - touch

Learn through a warm mother’s embrace
to stave off the cold of raging worlds;
The challenge you would never face
to turn to actions all your words.

At the touch of bodies, attract
the swaying motion of crystals,
transference of spirit and fact:
an impulse, sudden, from the pistons.

A warm spring breeze, polar vortex,
the distance traveled by your breath.
Caress your sensory cortex
sudden changes heralding threat.

Projectiles impacting the fuel:
Invisible force of love and strife.
Our energy’s the Earth’s jewel
alarms blaring: a silent fife.

Votes:47 -->

A Quest Profound

In this time of technology catching our gaze,
Talk of AI is the wildest craze.
But here’s a playful jest to impart,
Did ChatGPT scribe this from the start?

This search for progress, our thoughts ignite,
With physics as guide, we seek the light,
Energy efficiency—a quest profound,
With quivering quanta, we thread the ground,
For quantum materials, the mystery’s clear,
Computers like the mind we hold so dear,
Data’s dance in energy’s embrace,
A kinship to the brain, in time and space.

Why have logic and memory in serial,
When you can instead use effects most ethereal,
Whereby your resistance
Exploits the existence—
Of hysteresis in a quantum material!

Votes:522 -->

Can a Scientist Dream it Alone?

From weapons and power to waste and sludge,
      I dream, Yo sueño
What triggers radioactive catastrophe?
      Yo sueño, Je rêve
Waste, tangled mats of rocks and brine.
      Je rêve, Ich träume
Rocks, chaotic clumps of crystals.
      Ich träume, 我梦想
Crystals, perfect stacks of aluminum atoms.
      我梦想, 꿈을 꾼다
Amidst constantly changing caustic, we find flawless beauty.
      꿈을 꾼다, אני חולם
Who unravels such chemical complexity?
      אני חולם, আমি স্বপ্ন দেখি
Can a scientist dream it alone?
      আমি স্বপ্ন দেখি, أنا أحلم
Such knowledge takes us all.
       أنا أحلم, Я мару
From arranged atoms to processed waste,
      Я мару, Jag drömmar
Our stochastic minds coalesce,
      Jag drömmar, IDREAM
To discover the yet unknown,
      We dream.

Votes:507 -->

Light of Day

for green hydrogen
a monumental challenge
dance with Helios

Votes:10 -->

New Brain

exquisite organ
firing on all synapses
fueling our life force
inner workings
all is science

imagination fires
like the brain
molecules and materials
signals and charges
through exquisite structures
exciting future
nature meets chemistry
Neuromorphic science

Votes:54 -->

a cssas haiku

Design principles—
Synthesizing legacies;
A hybrid function

Votes:23 -->

CCBC Sonnet 1

You are—selector, protector, a room within room.
What small engines churn within your shell,
         to deny some, yet others consume -
arcane patterns we hunt & hope to tell

              the world of with sudden clarity?
  Our work is life’s slight, structured reactions,
        and already your secrets unfurl. The sincerity
of form uncovered in diffractions

             of glances—light scattered off chance surface & angle.
Yours is a language we care to learn. Construct, Catalyze, Combine.
       Gorgeous tangle
   of music with its own meter, the mined

poetry of hexamer, pentamer, trimer. What else will we find,
        these small machines, their obscure unwindings?

Votes:47 -->

Imperfect Grace

A tapestry of electrons and holes, in their scattered flight,
Their journeys interwoven, spreading currents like the night,
Through the lattice they diffuse, in search of their own place,
Defects and imperfections spin stories of cosmic grace.

Votes:15 -->