Krell's Thomas R. O'Donnell (right) presented Jacob Bringewatt with the 2019 CYSE Award.

The Communicate Your Science & Engineering (CYSE) Contest accepts essay entries that explain scientific work with a broad, non-technical audience in mind. The competition’s goal is to convey real information, excitement and enthusiasm about computational science and engineering. It’s open to DOE CSGF fellows and alumni who have not previously won an essay or CYSE contest.

Entry Guidelines

Essay entries should be a written presentation of your work, or an element thereof, in Microsoft Word format. Consult our tip sheet [PDF] for recommendations to assist with essay preparation.

Contest entries are due on or by April 1, 2020, and should be submitted via email ( Complete submissions must include the essay file as well as a signed and dated contest submission release form [DOC].

The following criteria also apply:

  1. Each applicant may submit only one essay; it must be the original work of the submitter.
  2. Essays must be relevant to and illustrate the value of computational science and engineering to society.
  3. Essays must be limited to 1,000 words or less.
  4. Contest judges will not consider images included as part of submission.
  5. Past CYSE and Essay Contest winners are ineligible to participate.
  6. Essays that did not win may be revised and re-entered in later CYSE contests.

Please contact the CYSE Contest coordinator ( with questions.

Judging Criteria

  1. Originality: Is the piece derivative or is it groundbreaking?
  2. Clarity: Is the science murky or can an intelligent high school student get it?
  3. Execution: Does the quality of the piece approach what a professional might produce?

Prizes & Recognition

The winner receives a cash prize and gift bag. All entrants will receive a small gift. The winner (or winners) will work with a professional science writer to edit and prepare their essay for publication. The winning entry will appear in an upcoming issue of DEIXIS, the DOE CSGF annual journal.


Each link below will direct you to the corresponding year's winning entry or entries. With the exception of 2013, all will open in PDF format.

  • 2019Jacob Bringewatt: Spherical Cows
  • 2018Gerald J. Wang: Big Surprises Come in Nanoscale Packages
  • 2017Hilary Egan: To Boldly Go (And Survive When We Get There)
  • 2016Eric Isaacs: Atoms on the Dance Floor
  • 2015Andrew Stershic: Building Batteries from the Microstructure Up
  • 2014Phoebe DeVries: When?
  • 2013Milo Lin: Folding on Time (YouTube video: protein folding dance)
  • 2011-2012Kenley Pelzer: A Place in the Sun, and Paul M. Sutter: A New View on Old Light
  • 2010-2011Kenley Pelzer: Can Peeling an Onion Cure Cancer?, and Hayes Stripling: On the Quantification of 'Maybe': A Niche for Computation
  • 2009-2010Anubhav Jain: Why Don't Batteries Improve Like Transistors?, Milo Lin: Under the Hood, and Scott Clark: Solving Genomic Jigsaws
  • 2008Carolyn L. Phillips: The Simulated Simulator, or Why I Stopped Deleting My Files, and Jack Deslippe: Changing the World One Atom at a Time
  • 2007Sommer Gentry: Math Maximizes Organ Transplants, Jordan Atlas: The Genetic Carry-On Limit, and Brandon Wood: Nature's Great Compromise
  • 2006Julianne Chung: Making Blurry Images a Thing of the Past, and David Potere: Space Harvest
  • 2005Ian Parrish: Not Enough Milk in the Milky Way, Mala Radhakrishnan: The Dream of the Drug-Designing Machine, and Kristine Cochran: Shades of Right

The DOE CSGF launched its annual Essay Contest in 2005 with winning entries published in Compose from 2005 to 2008, and in DEIXIS starting in 2009. It was renamed in 2013 as the contest expanded to include multimedia entries (thus Milo Lin's winning video that year); however, subsequent entries focused on the written word, necessitating a return to an essay-centric competition.