Peep Ye, Peep Ye! Announcing the Winners of the World’s Finest Science-Themed Peeps Diorama Contest!

 

The winners of The World’s Finest (and Only … As Far as We Know) Science-Themed Peeps Diorama Contest have been chosen, and we’re happy to announce the crème(-filled eggs) de la crème(-filled eggs)!

A Huge Thank You to Our Judges!

Our six judges are, as promised, as talented as they are wise. They argued the scientific and artistic merits of the confections with passion and integrity. These VIPeeps are:

Joanna Church, Jeanne Erdmann, Ann Finkbeiner, Laura Helmuth, Alana Quinn, Sandeep Ravindran

Our panel of six judges found themselves in a situation as sticky as the crafting material itself—choosing winners from among the 50 entries, each of which used Peeps to create a science-themed tableau. After hours of deliberations, they reported:

“This was an extremely difficult decision-making process, as so many of these projects show great creativity, informative science, thoughtful details, and crafting skill. There was something to delight us in far more projects than we were able to recognize through prizes and certificates. We hope that everyone who entered knows how much we enjoyed seeing their dioramas, and we hope that they all keep working away—at science, and at Peep dioramas.”

 

Without further ado, here are the winners and honorable mentions, along with comments from the judges and crafters themselves.

 

Golden Peep (Best in Show):

Hidden Peeps

 

Hidden PeepsElla Theoharis, Jeanne Theoharis, George Theoharis, Sam Theoharis

Hidden Peeps is an artistic rendering of the Black women who made essential contributions to the US scientific space program at NASA. The right side of the diorama depicts the women, known as computers, whose work enabled US spaceflights but went largely unsung. The details include Dorothy Vaughan programming an early computer, Katherine Johnson and Mary Jackson writing their official technical reports, other women doing math on the chalkboard, calculating trajectories, verifying fight patterns. Be sure to check out the ‘colored’ bathroom sign (NASA’s facilities in Virginia were segregated), the Mary Jackson quote, the women’s glasses, typewriter, pencils, coffee mugs and family peeps photo. The other side of the diorama depicts the men receiving attention and accolades for the space program complete with astronaut John Glenn in the rocket, military band, NBC photographer, and medals. Check out the NASA logo and the Neil Armstrong-inspired banner, “One small hop for Peeps….” (Ella, age 14, led the project; she designed the diorama and did most of the Peeps work – painting male peeps and band, dressing women peeps; made pencils, typewriter, family photo, mugs, desks, camera, staged diorama. Sam, age 17, created NASA Peeps logo.) [See the full entry at TON‘s Peeps gallery.]

What the judges said: We appreciated that the diorama addressed a social topic as well as the science, and we admired the use of multi-colored Peeps. Rather than simply recreating a scene, the diorama expanded on the themes of the movie. We love the attention to detail, including costumes, items like mugs, notes, and blackboards; and the background with a NASA logo. Also, everything was nicely made.

Crafters: Ella Theoharis (14) and Sam Theoharis (17), Fayetteville, New York; Jeanne Theoharis, Professor at Brooklyn College-CUNY, Brooklyn, New York; and George Theoharis, Professor at Syracuse University, Fayetteville, New York.

What inspired you to make this diorama?

Each year for about four years, we make a Peep diorama. We look for a project that mixes a political message with a contemporary issue. We particularly look for ideas where we can do a variety of details in the diorama. With The Open Notebook call to have a science theme, Hidden Figures (Hidden Peeps) was perfect. We could create a feminist celebration of the unsung black women who made such important contributions to the scientific space program with all kinds of Peep details.

What did you find the most fun about crafting with Peeps? Most challenging?

We love the details! We love making clothes and outfits and putting in fun little details, like Peeps puns or pencils, news cameras, etc. We love making a Photoshopped image—taking something real (like the NASA logo) and adding a Peep; we like using realistic black-and-white backgrounds to make the Peeps and details pop.

Most challenging: Sometimes it is tricky to get things to stick to the Peeps with their sugar coating.

What advice do you have for others who want to make Peep dioramas?

We have found making clothes to be really fun. We spray-paint the entire Peeps when we want different skin tones. We like a mix of painting clothes and making clothes from fabric, etc.

Is there anything else people should know about you or your diorama?

We have been making Peep dioramas for about four years. Ella, aged 14, is the leader of each project. We find it delightfully ridiculous.

 


 

Silver Peep (Grown-ups):

Peeph.D. Thesis Project

 

Peeph.D. Thesis ProjectStephanie Anguiano-Zarate

This diorama is an oversimplification of my training as a Peeph.D. student. My thesis project is about creating viral vaccines to target emerging peepogens (pathogens). This project encompasses vaccine engineering and production (scene 1), testing the vaccines in small animals (scene 2), and sharing and presenting my findings to different audiences (scene 3). Not shown are the daily struggle and dedication, the amount of research and learning, the constant troubleshooting, and the overnight experiments that are common in a graduate student’s life. I wanted to share part of what my life has looked like for the past 5 years so that people can understand that science is a multidimensional process. I also wanted an excuse to showcase the blending of art and science through visual communication. Of note, the diorama lights up and many of the supplies used for this project are upcycled laboratory materials. Enjoy! [See the full entry at TON‘s Peeps gallery.]

What the judges said: We appreciate the meticulous representation of specific scenes—three specific scenes! We love her close attention to detail, which rewards close viewing; her use of lab materials; her careful construction; and her excellent representation of several aspects of a graduate student’s life in science.

Crafter:

Stephanie Anguiano-Zarate, Ph.D. student at the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Rochester, Minnesota.

What inspired you to make this diorama?

My fond love of miniatures and my interest in the intersection between science and art. I am also an aspiring science communicator and this was an excellent opportunity to showcase my Ph.D. research.

What did you find the most fun about crafting with Peeps? Most challenging?

The most fun was painting all the Peeople (scene 3) who are attending my presentation about my thesis project. I also love the fact that Peeps are made in different colors, which can represent diversity. As a member of an underrepresented community in STEM, it was a great opportunity to showcase that anyone, regardless of what race, identity, and defining characteristics, can be a scientist. The most challenging was making near-accurate laboratory clothes that fit the Peeps.

What advice do you have for others who want to make peep dioramas?

They are loads of fun but do require dedication. It’s all in the details! Think outside the box!

Is there anything else people should know about you or your diorama?

A large portion of the supplies used to make my diorama was recycled and included repurposed laboratory supplies. The small biohazard waste bag inside the biosafety cabinet in scene 1 was made from a cookie bag (Yes, I had snacks during the 52 hours, spread over one week, it took to create this, LOL). Both biosafety cabinets light up; the one in scene 2 lights up a blue/purple color to simulate UV light for hood disinfection. The legs of the rolling, grey cart in scene 2 are made from blood lancets and the mice in that scene are made from tiny craft pompoms. I also used surgical mask face shields to make the mouse cages (scene 2), the tissue culture flasks (scene 1), and the windows of the biosafety cabinets. This has been one of the most entertaining projects I’ve ever worked on!

 


 

Silver Peep (Teens) and  Peeple’s Choice Award:

Peepiodic Table of the Elements

 

Sally Mitchell, Rye High ChemClub Members, Mrs. Mitchell's Chemistry Classes

This is the International Year of the Periodic Table #IYPT2019 to celebrate the 150th birthday of the periodic table. The Peeps are decorated and color-coded to denote the different types of elements. The 7 diatomic elements contain 2 Peeps stuck together. The 3 big bunny scientists are Glenn Seaborg – “I spy an element named after me” (Seaborgium #106) (the rule was: You can’t name an element after someone living and then they did); Dmitri Mendeleev – “Eka, Eka, Eka” (He is considered the father of the periodic table because he predicted the properties of 3 elements); and Lothar Meyer – “Wish I published sooner” (No one seems to know him although he discovered the periodic table around the same time as Dmitri) to help students understand the history surrounding this icon. My favorite Peep is Bismuth an element found in Pepto Bismol. [See the full entry at TON‘s Peeps gallery.]

What the judges said: We were overwhelmed by this exuberant interpretation of the periodic table, with more jokes and puns than can be relayed in the entry form. We appreciated the thoughtful use of a variety of Peep sizes and colors, and that the project was scientifically accurate and highly collaborative.

Crafters:

Sally Mitchell, Rye High School chemistry teacher in Rye, New York; 74 chemistry students and ChemClub members. Mentored by Mary Virginia Orna, professor of chemistry at the College of New Rochelle.

What inspired you to make this diorama?

Mitchell: I was inspired to do this diorama because it is the International Year of the Periodic Table #IYPT2019, and this was a great way to involve my students in this international celebration. (Editors’ note: Read more about this project here.)

What did you find the most fun about crafting with Peeps? Most challenging?

The most fun we had crafting with the Peeps was allowing high school students to be creative again. They had fun researching their element, decorating it and then writing about their inspiration. As the day progressed, students came back after school to see the finished product.

The most challenging part of the project was finding all of the different colors of Peeps. I was able to find every color and flavor in my hometown of Syracuse, New York. I made two road trips to get more Peeps.

What advice do you have for others who want to make peep dioramas?

My advice to others: Involve others in the project. Share ideas and the diorama will have lasting memories.

Is there anything else people should know about you or your diorama?

You can see patterns in the periodic table through our Peeps. Give it a look. We are planning to do much more with our Peepiodic table—watch for us on YouTube.

 


 

Silver Peep (Kids):

Pure Wild Peep

 

Pure Wild PeepLucy Higgenbotham

Jane Goodall ventures deep into the forest to research chimpanzees. This diorama was made by Lucy Higgenbotham, a 6th grader in Mrs. Natalie Tamblyn’s 5th/6th grade class in Sacramento, California. Students in this class made Peeps dioramas about scientists who they chose to profile, and also wrote essays about their chosen scientists. 14 students submitted dioramas to the 2019 contest. [See the full entry at TON‘s Peeps gallery.]

A close-up view of Goodall and her notebook.Lucy Higgenbotham

A close-up view of Goodall and her notebook.

What the judges said: The carefully made diorama represented its own unique aesthetic. It is evocative, making us think about a particular place and time. We love the use of the Barrel of Monkeys and the attention to detail—look at Jane’s notebook and pencil!

Crafter:

Lucy Higgenbotham, Sacramento, California, elementary school student in 6th grade.

What inspired you to make this diorama?

Well, my class did the Peeps project as an assignment. I chose to do mine on Jane Goodall because I thought the environment would be a little different from what other people were doing. Also Jane Goodall is one of my favorite scientists, and I have always been really inspired by her work. (Editors’ note: Read more about this diorama and Mrs. Tamblyn’s class project here.)

What was the most fun thing about crafting with Peeps? Most challenging?

What I liked most about crafting with the Peeps is being able to do almost anything you want with them. There weren’t many requirements on what needed to be in your diorama, which made it unique and more enjoyable than your average school project. The most challenging thing for me was getting my diorama to stand. It is displayed in a shoe box and I didn’t really want to have closed-in sides and have to work in the tight corners, so cutting them off made it difficult. However, I was able to make a tree with a twig to hold the box up!

What advice do you have for others who want to make peep dioramas?

My advice for someone who would want to do this project is to make it your own, and not to feel like you need to follow any guidelines or compare yourself to what someone else is doing. Also have fun with it, (and don’t eat too many Peeps!)

Is there anything else people should know about you or your diorama?

Well, I did make a lot of the objects/accessories featured in my diorama. The only store-bought things in it were the monkeys, the flower, and the grass. (And the Peep of course.) I sewed the tent and made the hat, bandana, and notebook with the pencil for my Peep. I really enjoyed doing the project, and I hope that other people will want to try it.

 


 

Most Accurate Representation of Science:

New Hare-izons: Ultima Peep Flyby

 

New Hare-rizons: Ultima Peep FlybyEmily Conover

Peep scientists are investigating an unusual object at the far reaches of the solar system, known as Ultima Peep. The spacecraft New Hare-rizons is closing in, and images of Ultima Peep are becoming clearer. At first, Ultima Peep appeared to be shaped like a bowling pin, but now, some are beginning to suspect that Ultima Peep is shaped like a peep. (Perhaps it is a lonely space peep?) The peeple demand information! Scientists have called a press conference to weigh in, and journalists are peepering them with questions. The scientific inspiration for this diorama is, of course, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft and its investigation of the Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule, the shape of which became clearer as the spacecraft got closer. Unfortunately, in our world, bunny ears never materialized. The diorama also includes a title and a close-up of the encounter between New Hare-rizons and Ultima Peep. [See the full entry at TON‘s Peeps gallery.]

What the judges said: Those of us who have attended NASA press conferences loved the accuracy and details, from the layout of the room to the reporter who isn’t paying attention. Comparing Ultima Thule’s shape to a Peep makes perfect sense. We appreciated the liberal use of Peeps puns and the un-science meme on the satellite illustration. We also thought the title and explanatory cards were really nicely done.

Crafter:

Emily Conover, Washington, DC, physics reporter for Science News magazine.

What inspired you to make this diorama?

I’d been following the updates as NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft got closer and closer to the distant Kuiper Belt object, Ultima Thule. As its shape became clearer, it went from blob, to bowling pin, to snowman. I realized it was only one step away from being Peep-shaped: It just needed ears! So I imagined a world in which the Peeps were studying this object and speculating about whether it was actually the shape of a Peep. Since I’m a journalist, I decided to make the setting a press conference with Peep reporters.

What did you find the most fun about crafting with Peeps? Most challenging?

I had never made a Peep diorama before but I may be addicted now. I had so much fun making their clothes and tiny objects for them to hold. It’s capeeptivating to see them come alive as you start adding little details. The most challenging part was that most peeple did not share my newfound passion for Peep dioramas, and I had to supeepress my desire to talk about it all the time.

What advice do you have for others who want to make Peep dioramas?

Just keep pecking away at it! And a practical suggestion: Take them out of the box the day before you want to work with them, because they are easier to work with when stale. For example, you can use a nail file to shave down stale Peeps’ butts to make a flat surface so they will stand up well.

Is there anything else people should know about you or your diorama?

I had Peep-related dreams throughout the process of creating this.

 


 

Best Use of Peeps:

Museum of Natural Peepstory

 

Museum of Natural PeepstoryAnna Rothschild, Shaena Montanari, Sarah Kaplan, Maryam Zaringhalam, Kate Furby

This year, the Peeps are taking a visit to their favorite Washington, DC destination: the Museum of Natural Peepstory. See the peeps learning about their past as they gaze at the 150-million-year-old fossil of Archaeopeepteryx, proving their ancient relatives once had feathers even though they no longer posses such magnificent plumage. They also examine the skeleton and cultural past of their more recent ancestor, Australopeepicus mallowi. Of course no visit to the MNP is complete without a stop at the stunning taxidermied centerpiece … the Peepephant. [See the full entry at TON‘s Peeps gallery.]

What the judges said: We loved the many ways the team used Peeps: as both museum visitors and museum displays. Turning Peep pieces into an elephant was a stroke of genius. The construction, costuming, and attention to detail were all wonderful. One judge noted how clever it was to include an anthropological diorama within a diorama.

Crafters:

Shaena Montanari, AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow; Maryam Zaringhalam, AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow; Kate Furby, science writer/producer; Anna Rothschild, host of Anna’s Science Magic Show at The Washington Post; Sarah Kaplan, reporter at The Washington Post. All crafters are from Washington, DC.

What inspired you to make this diorama?

We are all big museum fans so it was sort of a no-brainer. Also Shaena is a paleontologist and really wanted to somehow incorporate a Peep “fossil.”

What did you find the most fun about crafting with Peeps? Most challenging?

Most challenging was cutting up Peeps and rearranging them into the giant Peepephant. Kate gets most of the credit for this incredible creation. The most fun part was collaborating with friends. We had an absolute blast doing this together. Watching everyone create tiny Peep fashions (mainly Anna knitting a hat and Maryam sewing silly clothing) was pretty hilarious. Sarah staged the scene perfectly and also made amazing brownies for us while we were constructing the diorama.

What advice do you have for others who want to make Peep dioramas?

Definitely do it, because crafting with friends is the most fun.

Is there anything else people should know about you or your diorama?

It was a true group effort and we couldn’t have created something so magnificent without this special team!

 


 

Best Science History:

Dmitri Mendelpeep Dreams Up

an Early Version of the Peepriodic Table

Dmitri Mendelpeep dreams up an early version of the peepriodic tableKerri Jansen, Yang Ku, Craig Bettenhausen, Melissa Gilden, Tien Nguyen, Linda Wang, Lauren Wolf, Amanda Yarnell; Brainstormers: Laura Howes, Sam Lemonick, Jessica Marshall, Jessica Morrison

To celebrate 2019 as the International Year of the Peepriodic Table, Chemical & Engineering News naturally created a diorama made of Peeps. According to historic documents, the peepriodic table came to Dmitri Mendelpeep in a dream. “I saw in a dream a table where all the elements fell into place as required. Awakening, I immediately wrote it down on a piece of peeper,” he recounted. What made Mendelpeep’s ordering of the elements stand out from the arrangements other chempeeps had dreamed up was that his peepriodic table left spaces for elements that hadn’t yet been discovered. [See the full entry at TON‘s Peeps gallery.]

What the judges said: This diorama creatively represents a moment in history. We love the use of the question mark Peeps to illustrate Mendelpeep’s room-to-grow version of the periodic table. We were delighted with the team’s attention to detail—many of the items in the diorama were hand-made. We liked how carefully the periodic table was made, even though it was tiny.

Crafters:

Kerri Jansen, a multimedia reporter with Chemical & Engineering News, and Yang Ku, an art director with C&EN, were the project leads. And we had about a dozen C&EN staff members helping out at various levels with this project, from brainstorming to construction. A few of the remote staff in California and Germany even called in to help brainstorm. The diorama was constructed in Washington, DC.

What inspired you to make this diorama?

We’ve all had periodic table on the brain lately because 2019 is the International Year of the Periodic Table. The question was which moment to depict from the entire history of the periodic table and all of its 118 elements? I have this book called Mendeleyev’s Dream: The Quest for the Elements that ends on the image of an exhausted chemist falling asleep in the middle of his work, moments from finally unraveling the order of the elements. I’m not sure how much artistic license was involved with that description, but we were charmed regardless, and we picked that dreamy moment for our diorama. 

What did you find the most fun about crafting with Peeps? Most challenging?

I loved the slow reveal of my colleagues’ hidden crafting skills. Now I know whom to go to for help building tiny furniture, or who is strangely good at making little drawings of Peep bunnies that look like famous historical chemists. The most challenging was filling the bookshelves with all of those tiny books, which was a multi-day effort. There are 100 in all. Every one was made by hand, at first lovingly and then with gradually increasing levels of lamentation and despair. Also, we could not find a glue that stuck well to the Peep. If any of the other Peep crafters out there know this secret, please share it with us. 

What advice do you have for others who want to make Peep dioramas?

Order twice as many pizzas as you think you will need for the crafting party. 

Is there anything else people should know about you or your diorama?

This was truly a group effort. Every single person involved contributed something unique. I want to extend special recognition to Yang Ku, who spearheaded the “dreamscape” portion of the diorama and built those miniature bookshelves in her office with a Dremel rotary tool. 

And we loved looking through the gallery of other entries! Peep crafters have a seriously top-notch pun game.

 


Honorable Mention Certificates

 

Best Use of Material Collected in the Field: Icelandic Volcanopeep

What the judges said: The material’s incorporation added nicely to the scene’s dramatic aesthetic.

 

Icelandic VolcanopeepJeff Kanipe

Perched on the lip of a gateway into hell, this intrepid Icelandic adventurer has been exploring volcanic geology. Note the yellow-tinged sulfur near the lava vent and the authentic Icelandic rocks that form the heart of the diorama. (The ash particles are hand-collected from the 2011 Grímsvötn eruption.) Our hero, Peep Peepdarson, wore a scarf for the Arctic climes but failed to observe safety peeptocols, resulting in some melting and singeing. It is possible that he will keep a greater distance next time.

 

Youngest Participant: Peep at the Moon

What the judges said: We were delighted at this young man’s enterprise in choosing to enter the contest; his crafting choices—in particular, the Lego vehicle and the marshmallow helmets—are signs of great dioramas to come.

 

Peep at the MoonBen Priess, Leah Shaffer

Ben (age 7) first researched the moon landing by reading an entry about it in the book, “Fourteen Amazing Journeys.” Ben constructed the Eagle Lunar Module in Lego, drew the shuttle in the background, and created a marshmallow flag. Peeps were kept safe in oxygen-deprived environment with their marshmallow helmets. All peeps and marshmallow material were safely retired into Ben and his little sister’s stomach.

 

Best Social Action Theme: Pluto Protest

What the judges said: We enjoyed this social history-take on a recent scientific debate. (Editors’ note: Read more about this diorama and Mrs. Tamblyn’s class project here.)

 

The Pluto ProtestEJ

Peeps protest Pluto. Give the little guy a chance. This diorama was made by EJ, a student in Mrs. Natalie Tamblyn’s 5th/6th grade class in Sacramento, California. Students in this class made Peeps dioramas about scientists who they chose to profile, and also wrote essays about their chosen scientists. 14 students submitted dioramas to the 2019 contest.

 

Best Depiction of Climate Change: Snowshoe Hare Peepulation Research

What the judges said: Evocative use of different sized Peeps, and natural materials, to illustrate a broad scientific issue through a single moment in time. (Also, we liked the Wisconsin shout-outs.)

 

Snowshoe Hare Peepulation ResearchAmy A. Free

Chipeepwa Falls, WI – Snowshoe Peeps have hopped around the upper half of the state for centuries but now face challenges from historic ranges lacking snow cover. When molting from their mottled, cocoa brown fur into dense, winter white coats, they have found no snow to camouflage them. According to researchers from University of Wispeepsin, Snowshoe Peeps have been found at just 28 of 126 previous survey sites. Climate change deniers poo-poo the problem and point to the recent Peeplar Vortex as ‘proof’ the globe is not warming, yet scientific data tell us that Snowshoe habitat has moved north 5 ½ miles per decade. Note a Snowshoe Peep loafing in his meuse at sunset; another hiding on the hilltop; another telescoping on her large feet. Meanwhile, ecologists and citizen scientists look for Snowshoe Peeps. With substantial snow cover, the lagomorphs can be difficult to see. Tracks, chewed bark, and poops offer clues.

 

Best Thought Experiment: Schrödinger’s Peep

What the judges said: We’re still pondering this one. Is the Peep alive in that microwave at this particular moment?!?

 

Schrödinger's PeepAlex Cai

“Schrödinger’s Cat” is a quantum mechanics thought experiment coined by physicist Erwin Schrödinger. A cat, vial of poison, and radioactive substance are sealed in a steel box. If a counter detects radioactive decay, the vial breaks and the poison kills the cat. However, the substance might decay, or it might not, so the cat might be dead, but it also might not. Until the box is opened, it’s impossible to tell if the cat is dead or alive—so, until then, it’s simultaneously both dead (center) and alive (right)! To make my diorama better convey this experiment, I included additional pictures of the box in its “closed” state (left), and with the peep being “killed” by being pushed into the microwave. The writing inside and outside the box is based on the “Thought Experiment” section in this page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schr%C3%B6dinger%27s_cat, and the “Equation” section in this page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schr%C3%B6dinger_equation, respectively. (I’m 14 and in my freshman year of high school, and I made the whole diorama myself.)

Best Recreation of an Historical Figure: Peepola Tesla

What the judges said: This studious Peep was instantly recognizable as Tesla, even without the accurate representation of the rest of the famous photograph.

 

Peepola TeslaH. Piper, J. Piper

A tribute to Nikola Tesla’s magnifying transmitter, this diorama shows Tesla sitting in front of the transmitter in his lab calmly reading a book. The transmitter was one of his most famous and important inventions. Two teens created this diorama. They came up with the idea, designed, and built the display all on their own over lunch periods in school. No teacher input or assistance was required or used.

 

Best Use of Historical Details (costuming, setting): Computer Peeps and the Time Traveling AstroPeepicist

What the judges said: From Ada Lovelace’s headdress to Brian May’s scholarly cap and gown, from the jacquard loom cards to the telescope, this story is told—delightfully—through the details.

 

Computer Peeps and the Time-Traveling AstroPeepicistMeg Evans Smith

In an alternate universe, Dr. Brian May travels through time to 1842 London to discuss how effectively the Analytical Engine could measure radial velocities of the Zodiacal Light vs. a Fabry-Perot Spectrometer. This chimerical meet-up features:
—Ada Byron Lovelace, a mathemapeeptian who wrote the first computer algorithm. She is seen with the jacquard loom punch cards that inspired her programming process, and chalkboard equations from her Notes on Menabrea’s Sketch of the Analytical Engine.
—Charles Babbage, a polypeep who invented the Difference Engine, a mechanical calculator designed to generate numeric tables based on Isaac Newton’s method of “divided differences,” as well as the much larger Analytical Engine, which was never fully assembled (in our universe, anyway).
—Brian May, an astropeepicist who studies the Zodiacal Dust Cloud, was a university chancellor, authored books about the cosmos and stereophotography, and played lead guitar for the popular rock band, Queen.

 

Best Metaphor: Rice CRISPR/Peep9

What the judges said: We all agreed that this was a perfect way to explain a complicated scientific process—and entirely appropriate to the medium of marshmallow.

 

Rice CRISPR/Peep9Andrea and Grant Faller, Gretchen Imahori, William Matson, Ryan Sours

CRISPR/Cas9 laboratory to illustrate the concept to a general audience using diversified Peeps. We used the pun of Rice CRISPR because we thought most people would be familiar and would find humor with the use of Rice Krispies treats. We also used a marshmallow conveyor belt and marshmallow/Twizzler DNA, a crisped rice funnel and Calvin and Hobbes transmogrifier, as well as a Peep scientist cutting DNA to symbolize the ease of cutting and pasting changes to DNA. Scientist are briefing peeps before going into the Rice CRISPR and new Peeps are hanging out with their new DNA look.

 

Best Adaptation of a Work of Art (a tie):

  • Anatopeep Lesson: Dr. Nicopeep Tulp Demonstrating the Anatomy of the Ear
  • First “Peep”eration with Ether

 

What the judges said: Both had perfect costuming, lighting, and arrangement (several judges particularly noted the evocative posing of the main characters in the “Peep”eration scene), entirely reminiscent of the paintings on which they were based.

 

The Anatopeep Lesson: Dr. Nicopeep Tulp Demonstrating the Anatomy of the EarRadha Chitale, Maud Taber-Thomas

In the spirit of medipeep discovery, we reimagined the iconic Rembrandt painting “The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp” (1632), commissioned by the Amsterdam Surgeon’s Guild to commemorate the yearly dissection event, as an investigation of a Peep cadaver by our Dr. Nicopeep Tulp. Anatopeep study flourished in the 1600s and was important for both science—note it’s not just fluff in the cadaver’s ear—and entertainment. If you were good at dissection or illustration or both, anatopeep lessons and commissioned art or educational pamphlets were a good way to earn money. Among the figures, Tulp is notable for being seated, by his hat, and his flat lace collar rather than fanciful ruff as the onlookers have. The book is presumed to be the 1543 De Peepmani Corporis Fabrica. The Peep corpse is kept dignified with a loincloth.

 

The First "Peep"eration with EtherRobin Orwant

The incorporation of anesthesia during surgery represents one of the most important advances in the history of medical science. This diorama is an homage to the famous painting by Robert Cutler Hinckley, The First Operation with Ether, which depicts the first successful public demonstration of ether as an anesthetic during surgery. Though there is some debate over whether the surgery depicted here really was the first to demonstrate ether’s effectiveness, there can be no doubt that ether helped revolutionize surgery in the late 19th century and paved the way for the development of superior anesthetics that continue to relieve the pain and suffering of patients today.

 

Best Entry Description: Peep-Printing and Pavlov’s Peeps: Pioneering Studies in Ethology and Behaviorism

What the judges said: It rhymed! And it told us what we were seeing!

 

Peep-Printing and Pavlov’s Peeps: Pioneering Studies in Ethology and BehaviorismKatie Ellis

The Alps overlook our first tableau,
In a farmyard where animals freely go.
Peeplings follow neither mother geese nor hens,
But an Austrian gentleman named Konrad Lorenz.
Our second scene is of a Russian lab in the early teens:
An observation that with the ring of a bell,
Peeps’ physiology responded as well.
While modern ethicists may deem his methods cruel,
Pavlov remains known for his studies on drool.
(Konrad Lorenz’s scene is based on the famous photo of him being followed by greylag geese; Pavlov’s scene is inspired by the various photos of his lab. Mini marshmallows are Peep food!)

 

Best Entry Photography: Neanderpeeps

What the judges said: The dramatically-lit photo through the peephole (ha!) was an excellent touch.

 

NeanderpeepsSushma Subramanian, Kartik Arekapudi

Archaeologists have long known that Neanderthals, our hominin relatives, had fire pits. They believed the fires were lit by flames from lightning strikes. Recently, some scientists have come to believe Neanderthals might have created fire all on their own. Their stone tools display a wear and tear pattern that suggests Neanderthals struck them to create sparks. Not everyone agrees with this finding. But if true, it just adds to a growing list of Neanderthal accomplishments. Here is a group of Neanderpeeps enjoying a toasty fire in Gibraltar. The image at left is an overhead shot so you can get a better idea of what’s inside the shoebox.The scene is meant to be viewed through a peephole (ha), which is what you see in the close-up at right.

 


 

PLUS: A Special Judges’ Thank You Certificate

for Mrs. Tamblyn’s 5th/6th Grade Class

All the judges were so happy to see a group of kids engaged in science and science history, and we particularly appreciated the diversity of topics. We want to thank the students for participating in such an enthusiastic way, and we hope that they’ll continue to engage with science (and with the art of dioramas)!

 


 

2 Comments

  1. Pingback: The Open Notebook – A Two-Peep Limit: Marshmallow Dioramas Meet Middle-Schoolers

  2. Pingback: The Open Notebook – The High School Chemistry Students Who Built the Peepiodic Table

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