Visual Science Communication Contest

2020 APS-DPP Visual Science Communication Contest Winners

First Place Image



A 2 cm particle accelerator!

by Brendan Kettle

The purple channel is from a laser wakefield accelerator generating a GeV electron beam using the Gemini laser in the UK. The X-rays generated in the interaction are used to probe the atomic structure of a copper foil with femtosecond time resolution.

First Place Video


This is what it's like when QED strength plasmoids collide

by Kevin Schoeffler

In this video, we see the interaction of two 3D plasmoids generated during reconnection in plasmas with very strong fields, approaching the quantum Schwinger field. During the interaction, the magnetic fields further compress (Compressed magnetic fields are highlighted in green.), and secondary islands are formed.

Second Place Image

Laboratory-produced mini magnetosphere

by Fabio Cruz

Simulation results showing the formation of a collisionless bow shock on the interaction between a plasma flow and a dipolar magnetic obstacle in recent experiments. Electrons (spheres coloured according to energy) are accelerated in plasma waves (visible in magnetic field line ripples) excited at the shock.

Second Place Video


Laser undergoing self-focusing within pre-plasma region during TNSA experiment

by Pablo J. Bilbao

The electric field of a Gaussian laser pulse is shown self-focusing during Target Normal Sheath Acceleration. The laser interacts with the pre-plasma employing it as a "lense". This is an incredibly useful effect as it pinches the pulse and allows us to reach higher laser intensities for free.

Honorable Mention Image

Don't Move Those Magnets!

by Amelia Chambliss

Stellarators, a kind of fusion device, are super sensitive to the magnetic field that makes them. We’re building one made of magnets instead of coils! The magnets with the biggest arrows are the ones that could destroy our stellarator if we’re not really careful about where we put them!

Honorable Mention Video



Quantum particle cascade in extreme neutron star environment

by Fabio Cruz

The plasma surrounding neutron stars is thought to be created via Quantum Electrodynamics (QED) effects relevant in the presence of extreme electromagnetic fields. This movie illustrates the development of a particle cascade due to QED in a particle-in-cell simulation, where electrons/positrons repeatedly produce photons that decay into new pairs.


More About the Visual Science Communication Contest

Description: The purpose of this award is to foster communication of research presented at the APS-DPP Annual Meetings via visual media (image and video) to the broader community and the public. 

Categories: This award consists of two visual media categories - image and video. Two awards will be given out in each category.

Eligibility: All registered APS-DPP attendees are eligible to submit one entry per category.

Award: The top entry and the runner-up in each category and the runner-up will receive cash pricesThe winning entries will be featured on the APS-DPP website and Twitter (@apsdpp).

Submission criteria: The submission will consist of either an image or short simulation video (less than 500 MB) representing your research presented at this year’s APS-DPP meeting. Please include a title along with a short description (less than 50 words) to accompany your submission. Image format: high resolution JPG or PNG. Video format: MP4 or AVI. 

This is an annual contest held during the week of APS-DPP.  Submissions are due the Thursday of DPP and winners are announced at the Friday closing.