Materials Visualization Competition (MVC)

MVC is a scientific visual and artistic competition sponsored by the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MatSE) and the Materials Research Institute (MRI). Created to celebrate the quality of research in materials at Penn State, this competition promises to increase awareness of materials science through the creativity and visualization of our researchers. Entry is open to all undergraduates, graduates, post-docs, and faculty of the Pennsylvania State University working on materials-related topics. 

All images will be judged by a panel defined by the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Materials Research Institute. After deliberation, the panel will choose ten winning images.


Judges will award the Best in Show prize of $500 and cash prizes to first- second- and third-place winners in each of three categories. Winners will also be published online.

MVC9 Winners Spring 2017

MVC9 2017 Winners

Category Judging Criteria


Images in this category are meant to convey the power of simulation and modeling software to demonstrate materials and materials systems. They should be computer generated and visually appealing with a message for the viewer. Images in this category are judged on:

  • Effective communication—image should represent anticipated materials concepts

  • Visual Impact—engaging, aesthetics, attractiveness, 'wow' factor

  • Originality—imagination and creativity

  • Science—demonstrate or explain the science visually


Images in this category should be submitted in their purest form. Images may be cropped and adjusted for exposure/contrast - but should otherwise not be altered/retouched. Images in this category are judged on:

  • Effective communication—the image communicates the researcher's intent

  • Technical capability—the image demonstrates exemplary use of technology


Images in this category should be visually compelling and may be altered to enhance the work. Examples of acceptable enhancements include altering color, cropping, adjusting saturation or contrast, and adding color to black and white images. The final work should maintain the scientific integrity of the original image. This category is judged on:

  • Visual impact—engaging, aesthetics, attractiveness

  • Originality—imagination and creativity

Official Rules

  1. Limit one entry per individual or group; limit one category per entry.

  2. Entries must be a result of the participant's efforts in research. If necessary, participant(s) must provide evidence of research upon request.

  3. Only original work may be submitted. If the image has been published, appropriate written permission from the journal editor is required

  4. Submitted work must be approved by a faculty advisor, who will be notified once the Entrance Form is submitted online 

  5. Submit all artwork by webform: (Image size limit for submission is 32MB.)

Image Usage Rights

While the participant retains copyright of his or her work, entry in this competition constitutes agreement that the Penn State University, Materials Research Institute (MRI) and Materials Science and Engineering department (MatSE) may use any work submitted for promotional purposes. These images may be used in graphic material such as posters, brochures, newsletters, etc., and may be posted on the Penn State, MatSE, and MRI web sites.