Celia Mathews Elliott Prize for Writing in Science and Engineering

Award  Description

The Celia Mathews Elliott Prize recognizes excellence in undergraduate science writing. The purpose of this award is to celebrate our outstanding student writers and to show appreciation for Celia Elliott's ongoing commitment of more than three decades to the Department of Physics. To honor Celia for her exemplary service, physics faculty members donated funds to establish the annual award. Among her many contributions, Celia has taught science writing, mentored students in developing graduate applications and career materials, and led efforts to improve writing education. She serves as a model of the teacher-practitioner, practicing the craft of science writing and technical editing while sharing her expertise with students. Celia’s close relationship with students and her devotion to their success have granted her a reputation as a beloved faculty member across the Grainger College of Engineering and among generations of alumni. 

Illinois Physics undergraduate students are invited to submit a piece of science writing on a topic of your choice.

A wide variety of submission types will be accepted. Possibilities include:

  • News-style article about a scientific result
  • Essay on an issue within the physics community or science advocacy (e.g., improving equity and access, addressing climate change)
  • Commentary on current science policy
  • Personal essay on a physics student experience (e.g.,  getting involved in an RSO, attending a conference, working in a lab)

Choose a topic that interests you! We look forward to seeing what you come up with.

All submissions will be reviewed by a panel of physics faculty and staff members. Each year, a total of $1000 in cash prizes will be awarded.

Eligibility and Guidelines

The competition is open to all undergraduate students majoring or minoring in physics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.  If the submitted text was originally part of a class assignment or has been submitted to another publication, the author must disclose that information upon submission. Prior publication is not disqualifying, but all applicable copyright rules must be followed.

Submissions must be Word or pdf files. The text should not exceed 1000 words. Images are permitted but not required. If you include an image or other material from an outside source, please cite the source using the American Institute of Physics style. 

The deadline for submission has been EXTENDED to April 22, 2024 at 5 pm. 


Apply now