Maths and photography combine in the 2020 scienceXart schools competition

December 01, 2020

The Academy’s scienceXart competition showcases the talent of our next generation of scientific and creative thinkers.

This year, to mark the 100th anniversary of the International Mathematical Union, the competition theme was ‘spot the maths’. Students were encouraged to snap a photo of the maths they see in the world around them, and these entries came in thick and fast.

Today, we’re announcing the winners of each age-group category. These were selected by a panel of eminent members of the Australian mathematical science and art communities.

Over 850 individual students submitted entries in 2020, and we thank all of the students across Australia who took the time to participate and teachers who supported the competition.

Congratulations to all the winners. They will receive an exciting STEM-related prize pack for themselves and their class.

The winners

Foundation to Year 3

Image adapted from winner of the Foundation to Year 3 category, Aaron.
  • First prize: Aaron for the photo of a snail on a leaf and spotting geometry in their garden friend.
  • Second prize: Samuel for a photo of the terminus of a two-person chairlift and investigative recognition of its maths.

Year 4 to Year 6

Image adapted from winner of the Year 4 to Year 6 category, Sateyesh.
  • First prize: Setayesh for recognising the maths that causes overlapping concentric circles in rain drops that fall close together.
  • Second prize: Eleanor for a photo of a passionfruit vine that they spotted in the shape of a helix.

Year 7 to Year 9

Image adapted from winner of the Year 7 to Year 9 category, Max.
  • First prize: Max for recognising that when bubbles merge, they form various shapes to maximise volume relative to surface area.
  • Second prize: Niamh for a photo representing the theory of parallel lines meeting at infinity.

Year 10 to Year 12

Image adapted from winner of the Year 10 to Year 12 category, Natalia.
  • First prize: Natalia for a photo of an island reflection, spotting symmetry in nature.

Statistics Prize

Image adapted from winner of the Statistics Prize, Otylia. 
  • Winner: Otylia for a photo describing a creative display of statistics in nature as the birds occupied boxes made by the fence.

scienceXart: spot the maths was developed in consultation with leading Australian mathematicians, including from the Academy’s National Committee for Mathematical Sciences. It was tailored to align with Australian curriculum learning outcomes under expert guidance from the Academy’s reSolve project.

The competition was supported by the Australian Mathematical Society and the Statistical Society of Australia. The collaboration of experts in mathematics, education and art has made scienceXart successful in showing the inherent creativity of mathematics and science.

See all the winning and shortlisted photographs or find out more about the scienceXart competition.

© 2021 Australian Academy of Science

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