UCL Astrophysics Group


"Be Nice" Competition

18 May 2023

The Astro group hosted a "Be Nice" competition in early Spring. The criteria were to put together a poster, artwork, meme, music/video message, collage etc. about being kind and respectful towards all colleagues.

Be Nice Comp. Entries in the Astro Foyer

"Be Nice" is a simple term that makes a huge difference - we all want to work in a harmonious setting where colleagues feel part of a thriving community of individuals coming together to share our passion for Astrophysics; therefore group members were asked to create something fun, sarcastic, savvy, happy or ironic. People could work by themselves or in a team.  Amazon vouchers were awarded to 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize holders. 

Entries were received from Mark CunninghamPascal Förster, Raman PrinjaPatricio Reller, Akshay RobertAlexey Shitvov and Antonia Vojtekova. All seven fabulous entries are currently on display in the Astrophysics Foyer, on the 2nd floor of the North-West Wing.

First prize (£250 Amazon voucher) was awarded to Mark Cunningham for his amazing triptych:

It's Not Hard To Be Nice Triptych By Mark Cunningham

A few words from Mark: "The idea behind this work was centered on the theme of 'It's not hard to be nice,' so I decided to focus on things that were typically hard (and related to astrophysics/physics), such as rocket science. I opted to include the rocket equation as one of the images. Additionally, I incorporated the equation for Navier Stokes theorem as another piece, which is one of the seven Millennium Prize problems in mathematics.

For the centerpiece of the Triptych, while I was in the middle of marking undergraduates' work, I had the idea to create a piece that resembled the layout of a typical UCL exam paper with six questions. The answers to these questions would spell out "ßE NicE". Academics are often very creative and abstract in their thought processes, so the worlds of art and physics/astrophysics aren't too far apart (even physically at UCL, the Slade School and astro department are beside each other!).

Having the opportunity to create art for the department with a meaningful message behind it was very welcomed, and I thoroughly enjoyed the process of making it!"             

Second prize (£100 Amazon voucher) was awarded to Akshay Robert for his wonderful t-shirt art:

T-Shirt Art By Akshay Robert

A few words from Akshay: "For me, the ‘Be Nice’ competition was about understanding a two-word message that appears beguilingly simple but is much more profound in reality. I wanted to submit an entry that mirrored the layers of this message, by stating what might seem obvious to the overwhelming majority of our colleagues, but hopefully encourages them (and myself) to constantly assess and re-evaluate whether our thoughts and behaviour are truly inclusive and unprejudiced. I hope we can continue to maintain this attitude – in words and action – as we strive to further enrich our academic community."

Third prize (£50 Amazon voucher) was awarded to Raman Prinja for his beautiful sketch:

Be Nice Sketch By Raman Prinja

A few words from Raman: "It was a delight to support the fantastic 'Be Nice' competition in the Astrophysics Group. Knowing that my drawing was liked was true icing on the cake! Huge thanks to Kay Nakum for organising this lovely event."

Again, immense thanks to all those that took the time to partake, and many congratulations to the three winners.