At the third annual Science as Art contest, jointly sponsored by the Science Learning Center, Arts at Michigan, and Arts Engine, students used paint, video, metals, and even cardboard to showcase the beauty inherent in science. Entrants created works to represent a diverse array of concepts ranging from x-rays and fungi to sexuality research. Check out the winners—and a few of our favorites—in the images below.

Grand prize winner Lawrence Chen, an LSA senior, also nabbed the people’s choice award for his large-scale floor sculpture Paper Crystallography, which has the same pattern as an x-rayed crystallized protein. Chen constructed the sculpture from leftover card stock salvaged from the very labs that conduct these types of experiments across campus.

LSA senior Brianna Broderick won the prize for best sculpture for her untitled brass work representing the shape of a fungus. By depicting something many find repulsive through the use of a metal generally associated with glamor (and jewelry), Broderick challenges our assumptions of what is—and isn’t—beautiful.

Lillian Huang, a sophomore in LSA, used acrylics on canvas to depict humankind’s difficult search for truth, representing both our limitations and also the possibility of knowledge just beyond our reach. Huang received an honorable mention for her work.

LSA sophomore Karissa Gawronski won an honorable mention for her untitled sculpture, which consists of a mechanical or robot hand erupting from a potted plant. The arm seems to inhibit the growth of the plant, suggesting how technology may be adversely affecting nature and the natural world around us.

Stamps Art & Design and LSA senior Emily Dibble earned an honorable mention for her work SCT, which is a painting of a real diagram used in Sexual Configurations Theory. SCT asks sexuality researchers to rethink how they discuss and measure sexuality, and this image seems to ask us to examine how we as outside observers do, as well.

LSA junior Rachel Werthmann built her sculpture (Lost) Connections out of bamboo, wire, and film negatives to represent neural pathways in the brain. The photos themselves depict memories we no longer wish to remember in our everyday thoughts, though they remain ever present.

Jesse Adler, an LSA sophomore, created a unique mixed-media work out of a pair of women’s boots to demonstrate the harmful effects of cigarette smoking on the body. One shoe represents a normal, healthy lung while the other is a smoker’s lung—and the difference between the two is both striking and thought provoking.