The University of Southampton

Prize winning astronomy-inspired art showcases supernovae and dark energy

Published: 3 November 2020
Lexi claimed first prize in her age category with a Life Cycle of a Star Diorama

Striking pieces of artwork inspired by astrophysics research at the University of Southampton have been announced as the winners of the #SotonAstroArt competition.

Nine winners have been celebrated across three age categories in the international contest, which invited artists to explore cutting-edge Southampton research on supernovae, dark energy and the life cycle of stars.

The #SotonAstroArt competition attracted dozens of entries from around the world during the COVID-19 lockdown, spurred on by a series of informative and playful videos from Outreach Leader Dr Sadie Jones on the Soton Astrodome YouTube channel.

The winners include a Life Cycle of a Star Diorama by Hampshire schoolgirl Lexi in the 0 to 11 age category, a colourful supernova creation by Krutika in India in the 12 to 18 category, and an exploding star splatter painting by artist Madeleina Kay in the 19+ age group.

"Throughout the whole #SotonAstroArt project these last three years I've been totally amazed by the range of ideas and creativity that the subject of stars and space awakens in people," Sadie says.

"This has affected the way I explain this science and it's just really showed me that we shouldn't put people into boxes such as 'artist' or 'scientist'; we are all just people, and we can ultimately be both at the same time."

#SotonAstroArt inspired many young people to learn about the life cycle of stars for the first time, such as in Merseyside where 0 to 11 category prize winner Amy created her entry in an activity for her primary school class.

The University of Southampton Supernova Group, led by Professor Mark Sullivan, is studying these powerful stellar explosions to help understand the fate of the universe. The group is based in the School of Physics and Astronomy, one of the top five departments of its kind in the Russell Group for research output.

#SotonAstroArt will continue with two free, online workshops on Saturday 14th November for Hands-on Humanities Day, part of the Human Worlds Festival organised by the Public Engagement with Research Unit (PERu). In these workshops Dr Sadie Jones will invite participants to once again learn about supernova and make their own 'research inspired' space art.

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