The Southampton University A level Science and Art Competition challenged entrants to write a short essay about current research carried out by the university’s physics department and/ or create a related piece of artwork.

I chose to write and paint about their Astrophysics research, since this was an area that particularly interested me. Since the essay was about summarising their research, I focused my short essay on the information provided on the research groups section of their website. It was important to not only list what research they were involved in, but also to discuss why this was important and present it in a way of interest to a non-specialist audience.

For the art section of the competition, I painted a black hole consuming a nearby star. This tied in with the current research being done by the University of Southampton’s Astrophysics department, as well as providing an exciting scene to catch the attention of the general public.

Taking part in this competition was a really enjoyable and useful experience. Writing the essay enabled me to look into current research the university was doing, while the art entry enabled me to combine my creative and scientific interests. Overall, the entry only took around half a day to produce – and the prize (a generous Amazon voucher and some science-themed goodies from the department) was definitely worth it! Although I had already applied to university by the time of the competition, it would also have been useful for any students to mention on their UCAS application as evidence of a passion for science outside of the school curriculum.

Kate Prescott


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