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Inspiring, artistic and quirky photos get the judges' and public approval

National Photowalk competition involved five “Big Science” UK laboratories

13 August 2018

The winning images of the STFC National Photowalk competition announced today offer behind-the-scenes snapshots of subjects ranging from deep underground science to futuristic technology. From quirky to artistic, the images showcase the United Kingdom’s long scientific heritage and current world-leading research status.

National judging panel awards

John Dawson is awarded the judges’ national prize for his clever image from within the instrument housing of the Royal Observatory Edinburgh’s telescope.


Martin Malies took the judges’ 2nd place with his perfectly framed and artistic image of the test accelerator at the Daresbury Laboratory.


Sharing the judge’s joint third place were Dave Hughes (also Boulby Underground Laboratory regional winner)  for his deep underground image at the Boulby Laboratory, and Alan Ford for his composition of the data centre at STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire.



National online vote awards

Jennifer Jackson’s quirky image of a reflection at the Daresbury Laboratory’s accelerator test complex was a clear online winner.


Richard Small’s photograph of a detail from the Crawford Collection of historic astronomical books and manuscripts at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh took 2nd place.


Joshua Sedgley took 3rd place with his detail of a detector at the Boulby Underground Laboratory.


Regional Winners

Chilbolton Observatory regional winner: Jean Hoyle


Daresbury Laboratory regional winner: Paul Greenhalgh


Rutherford Appleton Laboratory regional winner: Nick Owen


UK Astronomy Technology Centre regional winner: Alan Thomson


The winning entries will be displayed at the Association of Science and Discovery Centres’ national conference in Manchester in October, and at the STFC laboratories and online. The images are free to use for non-commercial purposes provided credit is given to STFC and the photographer.

Competition organiser and national judge Terry O’Connor of STFC said the panel found it difficult to separate the final four images.

“The judges felt that both first and second placed photos show enormous creative talent, and tell equally compelling stories. They both evoke strong emotions of discovery and exploration, and choosing the winner was a tough ask – and we just couldn’t separate the joint 3rd placed winners,” he said.

STFC Director Dr Barbara Ghinelli, and particle physicist Dr Clara Nellist, both described John Dawson’s national winner as invoking “exploration and inspiration” as if the viewer was inside a space capsule.

Clara said: "I particularly liked the contrast between the rustic interior of the telescope, giving a sense of the long history of science in the UK, and the bright white and blue structures visible outside, which to me represented a voyage into the future."

Professional photographer Max Alexander was a member of the national judging panel. He described the 2nd placed photo by Martin Malies as three beautifully framed pieces of art meeting science.

“The three dimensional artwork seems to float in this space, while at the same time providing a mesmerising window into the workings at STFC’s world-class facilities. The photograph creates a quietly reflective atmosphere which holds the viewer’s attention,” Max said.

The national judges also agreed a Highly Commended citation for Timothy Mills image of a staircase at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.



Gary Evans, from the Royal Photographic Society, described the work as beautifully artistic.

“It doesn’t talk about the science, but the starkness and composition remind me of the early work by Don McCullin. I’d be delighted to have that photo hanging on my wall at home,” Gary said.

Around 200 photographers participated in the competition which was held across the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s five laboratories.

Dr Andrew Taylor, Executive Director National Laboratories, said: “This year’s STFC Photowalks have been a tremendous success, particularly with the addition of the Boulby Underground Laboratory for the first time. All the entries have provided a fresh and exciting snapshot of the incredible science that goes on at our sites.  Sincere congratulations to our national winners – their photos will fire imaginations and also raise the profile of the fascinating work here at STFC.” 

The local winners from each laboratory site will automatically enter the 2018 Global Physics Photowalk organised by the Interactions Collaboration of leading physics laboratories and opening 27 August. A global online audience will select winners from participating labs from the UK, Europe, North America and China.

Further information is available online about the 2018 UK Photowalk and the 2018 Global Physics Photowalk.

Science and Technology Facilities Council
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