Chemistry Art Contest celebrates third birthday

March 28, 2024 by Alyx Dellamonica

The Chemistry Outreach and High School Committee has opened submissions for the Annual Chemistry Art Contest.   

According to Madeline Gerbig, librarian at the A.D. Allen Chemistry Library, the inaugural art contest launched in the spring of 2022, not long after the university community was returning from Covid lockdown. 

“The contest was created to help showcase the diverse talents of our students, staff, postdocs and faculty as well as the beauty of chemistry!” said Gerbig. “Credit goes to Professor Rebecca Jockusch, who came up with the idea and served as one of the inaugural organizers of the contest.”

Gerbig added that the event seeks to contribute to the department’s sense of community. “The art contest is an opportunity to showcase and celebrate the talents of everyone with ties to U of T Chemistry, and to give people an opportunity to share a bit of who they are beyond school and work.” 

Art Contest Winners in 2023

Rebecca Jockusch said the inspiration for the chemistry art contest was two-fold. The first spark occurred when an undergraduate student—Jenny Wong, now a profesor at Mt. Alison—took a photo of a clogged electrospray emitter. “It was essentially something that wasn't working, and it showed the growth of salt crystals. While it was bad for the experiment, the image was beautiful and informative—it illustrated the problem.” 

“Second, I have enjoyed looking at the varied photos decorating the Athletic Centre and discussing them with my daughter. These photos show a wide range of people participating in sports and kinesiology studies. My daughter was fascinated by a photo showing a lower leg prosthesis. I was happy to see a big photo of a kid who looked a bit like my daughter. The photo display also led me to discover that one of my past CHM317 students was a champion athlete.” 

Now in its third year, the contest offers two prizes of $150 each to participants chosen by a judging panel that includes three members of the Outreach and High School Committee, sponsors of the contest. Judges vote independently for favorite submissions, and then aggregate the results to select the winners. 

All participating contest are displayed in a slideshow after winners are announced. Construction on Lash Miller Hall prevented physical version in 2023, and so the show containing 2023's submissions remains available on the departmental website.  

“I just love to harness creativity amongst chemistry folks,” said Jockusch. “And perhaps be able to display some art and encourage discussion among people who work in and transit through our Department.” 

How To Submit to the Chemistry Art Contest in 2024

  • The contest is open to all members of the University of Toronto chemistry community (undergraduates, graduates, postdocs, faculty, and staff). 
  • All chemistry-inspired art is accepted, including but not limited to: scientific images, paintings, photography, sculptures, poems, multimedia audio/video, etc.  
  • Physical pieces of artwork can be dropped off at the A.D. Allen Chemistry Library (LM480). 
  • Digital submissions must be submitted at high resolution via our online form
  • All eligible submissions must be received by June 27, 2024, along with the completed form mentioned above. 
  • Questions can be directed to