Annual Theme

Each year the ArtScience Prize supports students in developing innovative, interdisciplinary ideas that stem from a cutting-edge scientific theme. Chosen each year by ArtScience Labs and adopted by all ArtScience Prize sites and selected Idea Translation Lab sites throughout the world, this theme invites students to dream at frontiers of knowledge where science moves forward by induction and thus where art and science are pursued in very similar ways. It is also here that opportunities for surprise, discovery, and breakthrough innovation occur.
By choosing a nebulous thematic topic that is still emerging in the scientific community, the realm of possibilities for student exploration is wide open. Rather than being asked to assimilate currently- accepted theories and practices within the sciences, students are challenged to intellectually inquire and explore along with scientists who are themselves adding to our understanding of this emerging field every day. While student ideas may develop over the course of the year so that the annual theme is no longer a part of their final project proposals, all students begin with this theme.

The 2013-14 ArtScience Prize theme, Energy of the Future, is designed to challenge students to bring their best thinking toward envisioning and defining that future, and finding solutions for making the future as bright as possible.

To view descriptions of our recent themes, click "more" below.
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2014-15 ArtScience Prize Theme:


Over the last 50 years, scientists have come to appreciate that life depends far more on the co-existence of living entities than it does on any living entity itself.  A common feature of living systems is that this co-existence is extremely diverse. Such diversity makes these systems robust, able to withstand difficult circumstances and actually contribute to that elusive notion we refer to as beauty. When we lose biodiversity we lose form, function, and, finally, beauty, too.

Human civilization has become an increasingly dominant force on earth, and this dominance has led to a loss of biodiversity in many ways.  One way, which is obvious to most of us, relates to the extinction or near extinction of wild animal species in regions that have been overtaken by human populations. Recent studies have shown that the total mass of insects on earth and especially in very urbanized areas such as Europe has been falling precipitously – a well known example of this phenomenon is the sudden disappearance of bee populations, the cause of which is still not very well understood.

Our oceans are also suffering: warmer waters and pollution are some of the contributing factors, one consequence being a rapid increase in jellyfish blooms, which further endanger the oceans. Even our own bodies can suffer from a loss of biodiversity: the overuse of antibiotics has made our bodies more vulnerable to bacterial infection.  All of these losses of biodiversity on the planet threaten life on the planet itself.

The 2014-15 ArtScience Prize theme, Biodiversity, invites young people to imagine bold new ways to recover biodiversity – to explore the diversity and connections within our world.
2013-14 ArtScience Prize Theme:

Energy of the Future

Energy of the Future

2012-13 ArtScience Prize Theme:

Synthetic Biology

Synthetic Biology

2011-12 ArtScience Prize Theme:

Virtual Worlds

Virtual Worlds

2010-11 ArtScience Prize Theme:

The Future of Water

Future of Water
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Nathaniel Doyno:
On Energy

Nathaniel Doyno is a clean technology entrepreneur, consultant, strategist, sales and business development specialist with over 7 years of experience and expertise in energy efficiency and high-performance buildings, renewable and alternative energy systems, and associated utility and government financial incentives and tax programs. ArtScience Prize partners and students can find original interviews with experts on the annual theme, like Nathaniel, at the ASP theme site.