Science outreach often involves using metaphors, where a real life object or situation is used to explain a complex scientific concept. Last December we launched an outreach competition, and we asked the Node readers to submit pairs of images: a photograph of a real life scene and an image of the scientific concept that it helps explaining.
We can now announce the winners of this competition. Many congratulations to Ewart Kuijk, a post-doc at the Hubrecht Institute and author of the post Cellular Reincarnations, and Roel Hermsen, who is about to complete his PhD at the Hubrecht Institute ‘after which he will return to the “real world”’. They won a £50 Amazon voucher and a copy of Benny Shilo’s book on the outreach project that inspired this competition.
Here is their winning entry:
“The basis for life is encrypted in the DNA. Cells can activate or inactivate certain regions of their DNA by making it more or less accessible. Consequently, cells can be very different (e.g. heart cells versus neurons), while share the same genetic content. DNA accessibility and concomitant gene activity depends on the binding of specific proteins. The photograph of the “real world” shows an office building attached to a spiral staircase. The staircase represents the double-helix of the DNA and the building represents a DNA binding factor that modulates DNA accessibility. The scientific image is a picture of an embryonic ovary stained for H3K27me3 (green), DNA (blue), and a germ cell marker (red). Foci of H3K27me3 mark the inactivated X chromosome, of which the DNA is not accessible resulting in suppression of gene activity from this chromosome.”
We hope that this competition will inspire you to find a real life metaphor that can help you explain your work to the wider public! And our thanks to everyone who entered this competition.