Now Peep This! Announcing the Winners of #PeepYourScience 2020


They had us at “That’s so significant” and “That’s a great fit!”—that’s what Peeps data scientists say when they see a great model walking down the runway. Then they had us giggling at a poop-sniffing Peep pup who tracks jaguars in the Argentpeepa forest. They wowed us with a passionate portrayal of young women activist Peeps … entranced us with an historical peepspective on the importance of hand washing … and awed us with the almost alchemical transformation of peeps into foam, … and on, and on.

We could spend days extolling the peeptacular virtues of every marshmallow creation submitted to the second-annual World’s Finest Science-Themed Peeps Diorama Contest.

That’s why we had to bring in a team of judges, as talented as they are wise, to make the tough decisions and award the coveted Golden Peep—and other prizes, including a delightful set of honorable mentions. The peeple have also spoken, with their votes to determine the winner of the Peeple’s Choice Award. (NB: The actual trophies and honorable-mention certificates will be sent to winners after the creators of said trophies can meet up to assemble the prizes.)

And now, we present the #PeepYourScience 2020 winners and honorable mentions!


Golden Peep (Best in Show):

A Peep into the Life of a Data Scientist


Diorama: A Peep into the Life of a Data Scientist
Kerri Barton, Ally Hinton, Jaclyn Janis, Lee Lucas, Kim Murray, Shravanthi Seshasayee, Deanna Williams


Crafters: Kerri Barton, Ally Hinton, Jaclyn Janis, Lee Lucas, Kim Murray, Shravanthi Seshasayee, Deanna Williams

From the crafters: Our diorama captures four key data science tasks: data cleaning, data wrangling, data modeling, and data delivery. In each scene, the bunny peeps are the data scientists, and the chick peeps are data. The first scene represents the bulk of the work of data scientists, data cleaning. The second scene further depicts the data scientist’s task of taming messy data, or data wrangling. Sometimes data are missing, hence the “Wanted” chick peep sign. Once the data are ready to be analyzed, the data scientist will use statistical models to answer a question. In the data modeling scene, a chick peep takes on the runway before an audience of bunnies. Finally, when it is time to tell the world about scientific findings, a data scientist will deliver this information in the form of a journal article, represented by our bunny “stork” delivering articles (about positive end-expiratory pressure – PEEP).

What the judges said: This project was clear and creative. One judge reported that she ran it by a data scientist who agreed that it was accurate; other judges gained a new appreciation for the work data scientists do. All four scenes were carefully constructed, with delightful details and a good use of Peeps, and the metaphors were both appropriate and funny.



Silver Peep (Grown-ups)


Peeple’s Choice Award:

Pup Sniffs Poop; Prof Finds Peeps


Diorama: Pup Sniffs Poops, Prof Tracks Peeps
Amy A. Free


Crafter: Amy A. Free

From the crafter: If a carnivore poops in the forest and no one’s there to see it, what’s it take to be found? Answer: Train, the conservation dog! He works with biologist Dr. Karen DeMatteo surveying Upper Paraná Forest in Misiones, Argentpeepa. It’s a biodiversity hotspot and the largest of this ecosystem left on Earth. Native carnivores such as bush dogs and jaguars avoid humans, but Train’s expert nose finds their poops, which Dr. DeMatteo collects for genetic analysis. With GIS mapping she can track each animal’s travels. As pine and eucalyptus plantations fragment territories of these peeps, the aim is to determine suitable habitat corridors for them. Peeps involved: Christmas trees line the agricultural side; bunnies, chicks, and their parts became all the animals. Repurposed materials include: laundry lint, dental floss, fajita & tandoori seasonings, our house rabbits’ poops, a mini cow bell from Switzerland, toothpaste, old coffee, live grass, bouquet greenery.

What the judges said: A high level of detail helps tell the story here—we particularly appreciated the contrast between the wild jungle and the pine plantation (as well as the forethought in saving holiday Peeps to make trees). Creative use of Peeps to make the pup and the animals, and the other materials (including the actual poop) were well-sourced and effective. The entry was also very well photographed for presentation.



Silver Peep (Teens):

Chicks Save the Planet


Diorama: Chicks Save the Planet
Ella Theoharis (age 15), George Theoharis, Jeanne Theoharis, Sam Theoharis


Crafters: Ella Theoharis (age 15), with an assist from George Theoharis, Jeanne Theoharis, Sam Theoharis

From the crafters: “Chicks Save the Planet” highlights the wave of youth activism around the world calling attention to the global emergency of climate change and ecological disaster. In the center of the diorama, Greta Thunberg takes the case to the United Nations, while (upper right) Amariyanna Mari Copeny continues her campaign attention to the ongoing water crisis in Flint. Upper left shows 8-year old Indian activist Licypriya Kangujam, who began calling out the Indian government when she was six. Dismayed by adult inaction, young people around the world make clear that the time is now to act. The three young women activists are depicted using “chick” peeps. The United Nation General Assembly is complete with delegates from around the globe, some listening intently while others not, country flags, Paris Climate agreements, translation headphones, and the Peep United Nations logo. President Trump is waving the U.S. flag, proudly rejecting the Paris climate agreement.

What the judges said: We were highly impressed with the costuming and other set details. The diverse young activists were thoughtfully portrayed, and the array of UN attendees was carefully constructed (we particularly liked the details of the flags and headphones); the use of photos of protest posters in the background added a nice layer of context.



Silver Peep (Kids):

Wash Your Hands


Diorama: Wash Your Hands
Camille Tamblyn (grade 2) and Harrison Tamblyn (grade 4)


Crafters: Camille Tamblyn (grade 2) and Harrison Tamblyn (grade 4), David Lubin Elementary School, Sacramento, California

From the crafters: Ignaz Semmelweis was a doctor and scientist. He discovered that most women were dying after childbirth because they were getting sick from cross contamination. He discovered that if you wash your hands with soap, you can kill the germs. Soap breaks up the fatty layer around a virus. Our diorama is a nursery with babies. On the wall there is a mural of a virus and the soap killing it. Dr. Semmelweis is standing by a sink full of soapy water.

First we made the virus and let them dry. Then we made the soap bubbles. Next, we cut out the paper and made the sink. We made the peep doctor and peep babies. The most challenging part was cutting the paper to fit on the shoebox. The most fun part was making the peep doctor and the pacifiers. Next time, we want to make it bigger.

We learned that Dr. Semmelweis discovered how to help people not die from germs. We also learned that viruses have a fatty layer and that soap is hydrophobic and tries to lodge itself in the fatty layer.

What the judges said: This project was timely, but with a historical perspective that the judges appreciated; some of us learned about Dr. Semmelweis for the first time thanks to this topic. Close attention to detail, including the fact that the soap bubbles in the sink are the same ones attacking the virus in the diagram on the wall. Also, the baby Peeps have pacifiers, which is amazing.



Most Accurate Representation of Science:

John Snow Removes the Peep Handle

Diorama: John Snow Removes the Peep Handle
Malia Ireland


Crafter: Malia Ireland

From the crafter: As an epidemiologist, I wanted to make a Peep scene of the famous moment that John Snow removed the handle from a water pump at Broad Street, London, in 1854, and is credited with stopping a cholera outbreak. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the amazing data visualization regarding its spread, I also wanted to highlight the map that Snow created to convince others the outbreak was centered around the Broad Street pump. I’ve recreated a portion of the map using peeps to represent cholera cases. Additionally, there is a scene of Dr. Snow with the pump handle, Reverend Whitehead who helped investigate, William Farr, the London demographer who believed in the miasma theory, and Mrs. Sarah Lewis, who washed cloth diapers from her sick infant, and tossed the water in the cesspool in front of 40 Broad Street, likely starting the outbreak. (Ref: The Ghost Map, Steven Johnson)

What the judges said: The use of the map, with Peeps representing cholera cases, surrounding the well-constructed historical scene was a great touch, incorporating the supporting data in an innovative way.


Best Use of Peeps:

Miss Ameripeep 2020 and her Amazing Technicolor Elephant Toothpaste

Diorama: Miss Ameripeep 2020 and her Amazing Technicolor Elephant Toothpaste
Kerri Jansen, Yang Ku, Giuliana Viglione, Gina Vitale, Lauren Wolf, and C&EN staff


Crafters: Kerri Jansen, Yang Ku, Giuliana Viglione, Gina Vitale, Lauren Wolf, and Chemical & Engineering News staff

From the crafters: At Chemical & Engineering News, we were delighted to see chemistry take center stage during the recent Miss America competition. For the talent segment, Camille Schrier of Virginia performed a popular chemistry demonstration known as “elephant toothpaste,” in which hydrogen peroxide and dish soap mix with a catalyst to create tall spouts of colorful foam. The feat impressed the judges, and she was crowned winner shortly thereafter. Although our Miss Ameripeep is equipped with the same lab coat and hot-pink safety glasses as Camille, we elected to skip the laboratory chemicals and used Peeps to form the billowing foam instead.

What the judges said: This unexpected theme was beautifully illustrated with Peeps both in their original form, and turned into Miss Ameripeep’s chemistry demonstration. A creative and effective use of sugary marshmallows.


Best Science History:

The Evolution of Peepkind

Diorama: Evolution of Peepkind
Phoebe Magas (age 12), Ari Magas (age 10), Thalia Nittis Magas


Crafters: Phoebe Magas (age 12), Ari Magas (age 10), Thalia Nittis Magas

From the crafters: Our diorama depicts Charles Darwin’s arrival to The Galapagos Islands on the “HMS Peep-gle!” Darwin noted unique species on the islands, such as Galapagos Tortoises, Sally Lightfoot Crabs, Galapagos Penguins, Blue-Footed Boobies, Frigatebirds, and Galapagos Sea Lions. It was Darwin’s 5-year journey around the world that led to his theory of evolution, which explains how species evolve over time through a process called natural selection.

We used acrylic paints to turn a shoebox into an island scene. Darwin is aboard the ship. He has a beard and a hat, and next to him is his notebook and pencil, since he took detailed notes during his voyage. We created the animals using different colored peeps. Above the box, we have a thought bubble that shows the evolution of Peepkind. Peep ancestors had long tails and no ears, but over millions of years evolved into the Peeps we know and love today!

What the judges said: Excellent use of puns, both visual and verbal, to illustrate this moment in science history. The composite Peep animals were delightful, and the diagram of the evolution of a bunny Peep was both creative and informative.


Honorable Mention Certificates

Best Depiction of Fieldwork: Paleontologist Peeps

What the judges said: A carefully crafted dig site, remarkably realistic.

Diorama: Paleontologist Peeps
I decided to make a paleontology themed project, featuring both the beginning stages of fossil excavation and the final result on display for peeple to see. I was trying to come up with an idea that kids and adults of all ages would understand and relate to. I feel like almost everyone goes through a phase where they find dinosaurs fascinating, and learning about dinosaurs is often a lot of kids’ first experience with learning about both science and history. I liked the idea of combining the two scenes to show how discovery can initially be made, then how the knowledge learned from it can be further spread to inspire and teach others. This project also had a personal connection, as my dad and I frequented the Science Museum when I was a child. While we enjoyed all the exhibits, the dinosaur exhibits were always our favorites to explore together. Katie Raeker


Most Architectural Use of Marshmallows: Galipeepo’s Principle of Equivalence

What the judges said: The leaning tower of mini-marshmallows was perfect for this scene, and enjoyed by all the judges.

Diorama: Galipeepo’s Principle of Equivalence
Between 1589 and 1592, scientist Galipeepo Galipeep dropped two spheres of different masses from the Leaning Tower of Peepsa. This experiment was conducted in order to prove his theory that, although the masses of the objects were different, they would fall at the same speed. This shows that the acceleration of gravity is equal for all objects, regardless of an object’s mass.
I portrayed Galipeepo leaning out a window of the tower, dropping two round objects that are shown falling at the same speed. A small group of onlooking peeps is crowded below. As for special details, the tower itself is made out of colorful marshmallows. Each Peep is wearing a nice jacket: one even has a hat! Galipeepo is sporting his signature white beard. And the two spheres really appear to be falling! To top it all off, the scene is in the foreground of the beautiful Italian countryside.
Clare McDermott (age 13)


Best Depiction of Current Events: Trump’s Sneeze

What the judges said: Lots of Peeps here, and good use of three-dimensional space; an evocative commentary on a political theme.

Diorama: Trump's Sneeze
“Trump’s Sneeze” depicts an alternative reality to what we are experiencing in these troubled times. In a White House press briefing, doctors Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx and U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams surround Trump. Vice President Mike Pence and several military personnel are present. Four reporters from Fox News, TruNews, Westwood One News, and Salem Radio Network are piled into three chairs, including one marked “Attention, To Provide Proper Social Distancing, This Seat Should Remain Vacant.” In our current reality, Trump has tested negative for COVID-19 (true?). In this alternative, we see Trump let loose a mighty sneeze. As COVID-19 droplets fill the air, reporters from “the lame-stream media” (CNN, MSNBC, Washington Post, New York Times, Huffington Post, Politico, and NPR) flee the room, knocking over one of the benches. The more enlightened reporters keep their cool and their seats and call out in unison, “Trump bless Trump!”  Roberta Urbani, John Leon


Best Climate Change Commentary: Greta Peepberg Saves the Earth

What the judges said: The judges thought the aesthetic here was great, almost a political cartoon in marshmallow form.

Diorama: Greta Peepberg Saves the Earth
The Earth is heating up and Peeps are burning. Greta Peepberg comes in on an iceberg with a fire extinguisher to save the Earth. Will the Peeps listen? Karina Treynor (age 10), Lia Nesbitt (age 11)


Best Science Fiction Theme: Peeps Robo Hospital

What the judges said: So much creativity and detail in this speculative look at a potential future.

Diorama: Peeps Robo Hospital
This is a future hospital, which robots can take care of multiple patients at the same time. We created one of the surgery rooms where one robot doctor handles many patients. Peeps are working as the doctor’s staff and they are busy following the doctor’s instructions. Furthermore, the hospital offers self x-ray system, which patients can just walk in to check their body. Once they sit on the place, the x-ray machine can determine the inside of patients’ body just like measuring their weights. Ideally, robots will be leading our medical industries which is coming very soon. It was my son, Eugene’s idea to make a robot hospital for this project. He wants to be a robot creator when he grows up and thus he was very excited to put his idea on this project. I hope that this opportunity will be a good start of his career. Eugene Walsh (age 8), Kayo Walsh


Best First Diorama: Eugenie Clark – Shark Lady

What the judges said: The young artist’s passion for science was on display in this wonderful first effort, using the traditional shoebox form with a few out-of-the-box twists.

Our daughter (1st grade) attends a STEAM school and a few weeks ago she went on and on at the the dinner table about the Peeps contest. After reviewing the contest instructions, we created a plan. She selected a book at the library (Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist, by: Jess Keating). She researched her scientist, wrote down facts, and selected a picture scene from the book to model as her diorama. After researching Eugenie Clark, she better understood the obstacles women have had to overcome in male dominated fields. Clark’s story has empowered our daughter to explore science a well as other fields because they interest her and because she is good at them. The scene shows one of Clark’s most notable discoveries. She was the first scientist to observe resting sharks in the wild. This is Giana’s first diorama project. Giana Carboni (age 7), Leslie Carboni, Grant Carboni


Best Interrupted Artwork: Megalopeep

What the judges said: Peep beaks = fossil teeth? Amazing. We wish we could have learned more about the artist’s work before the pandemic intervened, closing school and prematurely ending diorama-preparations.

Diorama: Megalopeep
The first attempt to reconstruct the jaw of Megalopeep, by Bashford Peep, in 1909 in the American Museum of Natural History. Katie E. (grade 4, David Lubin Elementary School, California)



Most Existential: Peeple Preservation

What the judges said: A philosophical and thought-provoking description for this charming look at the development of embalming techniques.

Diorama: Peeple Preservation
When one takes a moment to do deep philosophical thinking, he or she may reach the conclusion that Peeps simply would not exist, if it were not for death. Similarly, once spring ends, the love for Peeps essentially passes away, for the whole year, and the Peeps must wait for spring to roll around again in anticipation of their resurrection. The Peeps within the diorama have dedicated their fallen friend to science and are attempting to embalm him, so that Peepkind can be preserved year round. What the peeps do not know is that the embalming fluid they are using, which is a mixture of peepaldehyde and other chemical agents, will not last all year, but only delay the decompeeption process for a few weeks or months. They may not be successful for year-round preservation, but they are brilliant for attempting. Megan D., The Classical Academy of Sarasota, Florida


Best Science Hero: Her Peepness, Sylvia Earle

What the judges said: The excellent use of three-dimensional space (plus marshmallow jellyfish) led the judges to choose this project from among the many wonderful examples of Science Heroes submitted.

Diorama: Her Peepness Sylvia Earle
Our diorama is a depiction of Sylvia Earle, nicknamed “Her Peepness,” during her record-setting, 1,250-foot-peep dive off the coast of Oahu. As she descends, she is surrounded by spectacular sea peeptures and an eerie peepilescent glow. On the surface, her crew is peeping her on. Sylvia Perrin (age 11), Jack Perrin, Michelle Nijhuis


Best Interagency Cooperation: Exploration by Peeps and Bounds!

What the judges said: The certificate title speaks for itself! (Also, we were impressed by the careful crafting.)

Diorama: Exploration by Peeps and Bounds
From the bottom of the ocean to the surface of the moon, peepkind is on the frontline of exploration. Innovating teams of peep-le at NASA and NOAA are leading the charge into often uncharted territory to enhance our understanding of new mysterious places. Modeled after the famous submersible, Alvin, two bunny peep-scientists collect data as chick peep-pilot maneuvers the craft. The sub zooms over hydrothermal vents spewing hot mineral-rich water, brownish-yellow bacterial mats that cover the deep canyon, bright blue deep sea corals and a host of fuzzy giant sea stars. The surface of the moon can appear desolate, but billions of years of asteroid impacts have cratered the crust in an artful way. As the United States prepares to return to the moon to prove new deep-peep space capabilities, a new generation of astro-peeps will visit the lunar surface. *70% of our diorama is made of upcycled materials. Jen Le is a biological oceanographer specializing in quantifying the value of deep sea ecosystems. She works in the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research. Lauren Ward is a science communicator at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. She is the executive producer for the series, NASA Explorers.


Best Engineering History: Maggie Knight Peeper Bag Machine

What the judges said: The tiny paper bags shown in each step of the process, plus an unknown (to many of the judges) woman inventor—very informative.

Diorama: Maggie Knight Peeper Bag Machine
This is a peeper bag machine to highlight the work of Maggie Knight. She invented the flat-bottomed paper bags. Peeps are at stations of the factory making peeper bags. Celia Fallis (grade 3), Weybridge School, Weybridge, Vermont


Best Depiction of the Micropeepic World: Peeprona 19

What the judges said: Well-chosen use of Peep parts, and a pithy description.

Diorama: Peeprona
I had an idea. It remained latent for a few weeks, and then became infectious. Eric Alvin


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