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Amber Hubbard and Dr. Spontak Win Research Image Awards

Image of Self-Folded Polymer Sheets
Untitled photograph by Amber Hubbard and Sally Van Gorder (Click to see larger image)

Anyone who says chemical engineers are left brain thinkers who lack right brain creativity has it wrong! Case in point are CBE graduate student Amber Hubbard and Dr. Richard Spontak, recent contest winners for their research-related photographic art…

In 2016, the Graduate School, University Communications and the College of Sciences sponsored the first NC State Research Image Contest, which was open only to graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. In 2017 the Contest was expanded to include faculty and staff.

Conceptually, the Contest was envisioned as a way to demonstrate that images – from photographs to illustrations – can be extremely effective tools for explaining complex research to a wide variety of audiences. And that they can also be beautiful.

The 2017 Contest categories were:

  • Graphics and Illustration
  • Microscopy
  • Photography
  • Video

Amber and Sally Van Gorder, former graduate student in the College of Design, won the Second Place Award in the Graduate Students and Postdocs Photography category for their untitled image of two self-folded “cups.”

The Fingerprint of Molecules – Dr. Richard Spontak (Click to see larger image)

Dr. Spontak won the First Place Award in the Faculty and Staff Microscopy category for “The Fingerprint of Molecules,” and the Second Place Award in the Faculty and Staff Graphics and Illustration category for “Plates on Lava.”

Research Image of Polymer Sheet
Plates on Lava – Dr. Richard Spontak (Click to see larger image)

“Fingerprint” is an unedited polarized light microscope image that shows the crystal formation of a special type of polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane (POSS) polymer. ” Spontak says. “We observe plaque-like formations surrounding a fingerprint-like domain, which we found was characteristic only with this molecule and this particular solvent.”

“Plates” is an unedited confocal laser scanning microscope gif of a POSS polymer film.

Congratulations to Amber and Dr. Spontak!