Carlyn Schmidgall's 2023 winning essay featured in DEIXIS magazine.

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 information, excitement and enthusiasm about computational science and engineering. It’s open only to DOE CSGF fellows and alumni who have not previously won an essay or CYSE contest.

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?

Prize, Publication & Recognition

The winner receives a cash prize, certificate and dedicated time to collaborate with a professional science writer to edit and prepare their essay for publication in an upcoming issue of DEIXIS, The DOE CSGF Annual. The print magazine reaches an audience of more than 12,000 U.S. academics, national laboratories staff, leaders in fields supported by the fellowship and friends of the program. It is also available online to ensure broader exposure.

When possible, the year's contest winner is formally recognized at the summer program review meeting.


Each year's top submission(s) is linked below. With the exception of 2013, all will open as a PDF.

  • 2024 — Daniel Abdulah: Diving Deep on Enceladus
  • 2023 Carlyn Schmidgall: The Arctic Ocean, With a Grain of Salt
  • 2022 Arianna Krinos: Shell Scripting: Cracking the Code of Ocean Microbes
  • 2021Ellis L. Torrance: Sex Isn't Everything
  • 2020Steven Torrisi: Shazam for Atoms
  • 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)
  • 2012Kenley Pelzer: A Place in the Sun, and Paul M. Sutter: A New View on Old Light
  • 2011Kenley Pelzer: Can Peeling an Onion Cure Cancer?, and Hayes Stripling: On the Quantification of 'Maybe': A Niche for Computation
  • 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.