Competition guidelines and eligibility
Students must write their paper on the given topic. We encourage and welcome submissions from all perspectives.
The competition is open to students at the University of Chicago who are currently pursuing an undergraduate degree. The competition is not restricted by year of study or concentration.
- Applicants must be students at the University of Chicago who are actively pursing an undergraduate degree.
- The length should not exceed 3000 words. Essays must be typewritten. Pages must be numbered.
- Each entry must have a cover page with the title of the work, the author's name, student id number and email address.
- Only original and unpublished work will be accepted. Submissions based on a student paper are welcome.
- Collaborative works are acceptable. Please acknowledge all authors and indicate the contribution of each.
- One entry per person.
- Bibliographies must include citations from a variety of sources, and may be presented in a bibliographic style of the student's choosing. See the Citation Management Guide provided by the library for more information.
- Entries will be accepted electronically, in a Word document at firstname.lastname@example.org and in print at the John Crerar Library Reference Desk, Monday-Friday between the hours of 9:00 am - 5:00 pm. The deadline for submission is April 18, 2016.
Resubmission is welcome. The selection committee may recommend papers that are not selected for the 1st or 2nd prize for resubmission the following year, with revisions to accommodate the new topic. In some cases, the topics may differ substantially from year to year - thus resubmission would not be a possibility.
Prizes will be awarded to authors who are best able to write on subject matter with a clear and logical connection to the sciences. The selected essays must be understandable to those who study either a biomedical or physical science, however its arguments must be clear to the non-specialist.
The winning submissions will be selected for the quality of the research conducted, as well as by the effective and literate statement of the results. The quality of the bibliography will also be taken into consideration.
Other criteria include:
- Writing style
Examples include articles from:
- Science (Perspective section)
- Nature (News and Views section)
- Scientific American
The panel of judges includes faculty and graduate students from the University of Chicago (representing a broad range of scientific disciplines) as well as a University of Chicago Librarian and a member of the John Crerar Foundation.
The selection committee reserves the right not to award a prize if no entry is deserving of an award.
Students who need assistance in conducting their research for the competition can contact Barbara Kern at email@example.com 702-8717. Please put "Science Writing Prize" in the subject line.
Submit a 2,500-3,000 word essay on a topic in science, medicine and/or technology. History of science and environmental or political policy papers are welcome as long as the theme is science, medicine and/or technology. Your essay should include a description of how your topic is relevant to your studies, as well as its impact on society today and into the future. Your submission must be scientifically and technically accurate, make reference to the relevant literature, and be accessible to a readership with a general knowledge of science.
View past topics
View past winning papers
Awarding the prizes
The prizes are distributed to the winners by the Library.