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Andrew Olson Scientific Image Awards

2016 Art of Neuroscience Contest winner

"Synaptogenesis" by Lin Ning, winner of Wu Tsai Neuro's 2016 Art of Neuroscience contest.

The Neuroscience Microscopy Service and Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute are proud to announce the first annual Andrew Olson Scientific Image Awards—a celebration of the breadth, ingenuity and vision of the Stanford imaging community. All these values are embodied by NMS founding director, Dr. Andrew Olson, who retired in 2020. This award is our way of honoring him—and you—by showcasing to the world your scientific and artistic vision of imaging.

— NMS Director Gordon Wang, PhD


Submission Guidelines

The focus of this competition is art, and thus the aesthetic rather than the scientific quality of the image is key. Submissions may portray the brain, the nervous system and behavior (at all scales from molecules to organisms), but are not limited to the neurosciences. Any images that showcase your scientific and artistic vision are welcome.

Images: Images may be submitted in any standard format (TIFF, JPEG, PNG, etc.). Image size should be at least 1000 x 1000. Images do not have to be unmodified. They can be filtered and digitally manipulated to highlight the science and the aesthetics of the images. Please limit to three submissions per individual.

Eligibility: The contest is open to all Stanford researchers. Submissions not limited to images taken at the NMS and do not have to come from a microscope. MRI, EM, ultrasound, and other imaging modalities are all welcome.

Judging Criteria: The Images will be judged both for technical merit (technical approach and scientific importance) and artistic merit (composition, presentation, style). Be creative. Use filters and photoshop. This is not about rigor. It is about imaging.

Submission Text: Please provide a caption/description of your image. Please include the imaging instrument and imaging parameters (if you know). Please state what you are imaging? Why you are imaging it, and what is the story behind this image.

Prizes: Winning submission will be gloriously displayed on the walls of the NMS facility in the Stanford Neurosciences Building. The winner will also receive a canvas print of their submission and a pair of state-of-the-art Zeiss Binoculars.

Enter the contest

Deadline: Feb 15, 2022

Submit your images

“A word is worth a millipicture. Tell a story with your image and its caption.”
— Dr. Andrew Olson

2016 Art of Neuroscience Contest

Have a look at the winners of our 2016 Art of Neuroscience contest for inspiration. Think you can do better?


Sponsored by Carl Zeiss, the Neuroscience Microscopy Service and the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute Community Laboratories.

Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute, Stanford University