Following the Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) tradition, during each Principal Investigators’ meeting there is an optional contest designed to educate, inspire and entertain an intelligent, but not expert, audience with the extraordinary science, innovation, and people in the EFRCs. In 2015, the 32 EFRCs were challenged to convey the wonder of science using poetry inspired by a scientific image.

Sixteen teams took up the challenge, and submitted a rich variety of images and poems that evoked the complexities, splendor, and awe of energy science. The Office of Science is pleased to announce the three winning juried entries and the People's Choice Award:

First Place

Afterlife of a photon

Life was so short.
Born in a fiery dance of heat and pressure and...

Center for Lignocellulose Structure and Formation


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Second Place

As Above, So Below

We occupy a privileged place
at the heart of things.
Halfway between the infinite
and the infinitesimal,
we have eyes to see both

Center for Frontiers of Subsurface Energy Security


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Third Place

Ode to the Chlorosome

Round, lamellar, cylindrical, round
The millions of chlorophyll molecules align
All together they move in a single line
To form large structures all...

Center for Excitonics


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People's Choice Award

Solar Harvest

I thought that I would never see
a solar cell looking like a tree.
A tree with others in a forest
with fruitful molecules ripe for harvest...

Center for Solar Fuels


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The entry that received the most votes from the public from September 30 to October 21, 2015 11:59 pm was given the People’s Choice Award at the Principal Investigators’ Meeting on October 26.

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The three winning images/poems were selected by an illustrious panel of judges:

  • Ivan Amato, a long-time science communicator. He has written articles and books, runs the public engagement series known as DC Science Café, and is working on a poetry collection tentatively titled A History of Technology.
  • Patrick Glynn, a Senior Technical Policy Advisor in the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science.  He holds A.B. summa cum laude, A.M., and Ph.D. degrees in English and American Literature and Language from Harvard University.
  • Rick Mullin, a senior business editor at the American Chemical Society’s Chemical & Engineering News, is also a painter and poet. His most recent volume of poetry, Sonnets from the Voyage of the Beagle, was published by Dos Madres Press, Loveland, Ohio, in 2014. His poetry has appeared in various journals and anthologies, including American Arts  Quarterly, The New Criterion, and Ep;phany. His forthcoming collection, Stignatz and the User of Vicenza, is due out from Dos Madres early next year.

For more information about the Energy Frontier Research Centers program, visit the official website.

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