Last week we revealed the Top 10 Schools for Science based on the results of a 3-year study performed by US News&World Report. The study ranked the nation’s best science graduate programs, based upon the results of surveys sent to academics in Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Computer Science, Earth Science, Mathematics, and Physics.

So who came out on top? Several universities had a strong showing in one particular science specialty, but the top schools demonstrated high performance in multiple disciplines. Which schools scored the highest across all specialties? Here are the Top 10:

1.    Stanford University
2.    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
3.    University of California, Berkeley
4.    California Institute of Technology
5.    Harvard University
6.    Princeton University
7.    Cornell University
8.    Columbia University
9.    University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
10.  University of Wisconsin, Madison (tie)
       Yale University (tie)

Now we know what universities to attend in order to receive a phenomenal education in science. But it’s one thing to know a lot about science, and another thing entirely to be able to apply it and communicate it effectively. And communicating science is what we at ScientificBlogging are all about.

So to highlight these outstanding universities, ScientificBlogging has decided to sponsor a little friendly competition between them. Today we announce our first ever “University Writing Competiton.” We invite graduate students that are currently enrolled at any of these Top 10 Universities (actually, eleven) to participate. The official rules are below, but the big idea is that we are inviting graduate students to write about science – on any scientific topic of their choosing. It is our hope to discover those exceptional students that not only know their science, but can also effectively communicate it to the scientific community - as well as to the general public.

Original articles may be submitted on any subject that exists within the six key disciplines of science featured on ScientificBlogging: Physical Sciences, Earth Sciences, Life Sciences, Medicine, Social Sciences and Culture. In other words – just about anything. Finalists will then be chosen in each science discipline by an internal panel of ScientificBlogging staff, featured writers, and specialists in the various fields of science. Finalists will be posted for voting, and the final winners will be determined by the results of on-line votes cast by ScientificBlogging registered members.

And this isn’t just for bragging rights - there are some real prizes involved. The types of prizes that debt-ridden students across the country value the very most (no… not beer) – CASH!

GRAND PRIZE - $2,500 Cash AND a 3-month paid writing internship at ScientificBlogging

The grand prize will be awarded to the author of the article receiving the most overall votes across all disciplines during the on-line voting period.

SIX (6) FIRST PRIZES* - $500 Each
One first prize will be awarded in each science discipline to the author of the article receiving the most votes in that particular discipline.  *On the off-chance that not enough submissions are received within an individual science discipline to fill a qualifying round of finalists, no First Prize will be awarded for that particular discipline.

Each finalist will also receive a limited edition ScientificBlogging “Finalist” T-shirt. Wear it around campus during the on-line voting period to encourage friends, peers, and faculty to cast a vote your way! In addition, one finalist will be randomly chosen to receive a ScientificBlogging Flip MonoHD Video Camera.

The competition begins September 1, 2009. All entries must be received by October 15th, and finalists will be announced on November 1, 2009. On-line voting will take place from November 1st – 22nd, and all winners will be announced on on December 1, 2009.

So what can you do between now and September 1st?

1. Register to get your own column on
Obviously if people are going to vote on it you need to have an account to put it up. It takes a few seconds, so between now and September 1st sign up for an account, personalize your profile - and become part of our million-person family.

2. Start planning and researching your article.
Write about what you know. Write about what you’re passionate about. Write about what you’ve been excited to discover during your education, and what you’re excited to share with others. And take a little time to learn about the audience at ScientificBlogging too, as this is the audience you will want to appeal to.

3. Encourage friends, family, and faculty to vote for you.
Anyone will be able to read and leave comments on your article but only registered users will be able to cast votes for you if you become one of the finalists.

It's not just an opportunity to have your work published on a premier science site receiving over a million readers per month, you also get to be reviewed by some of the most respected minds and writers in the science community and compete against some of the best graduate students in science. 

And of course, it’s also a chance to win some cash.

The official rules are below. If you have any additional questions, you may leave a comment at the end of this article, or contact Kimberly Campbell, Director of University Relations, at: kim at

Contest Rules

  1. Participants must be currently enrolled graduate students at one of the following institutes: Stanford University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; University of California, Berkeley; California Institute of Technology; Harvard University; Princeton University;  Cornell University; Columbia University; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; University of Wisconsin, Madison; Yale University.

  2. Submissions must be a minimum of 500 words.

  3. Submissions must be original work that has not been previously published.  Any references made within the work to other studies or publications must be credited and noted. However, submissions will not be considered and may be removed if they are primarily a collection of links to other articles.

  4. All participants must become registered users of, and follow the submission instructions provided for the competition.

  5. All submissions must be received between September 1, 2009 12:00am PDT, and October 15, 2009 11:59pm PDT.

  6. Individuals may submit more than one article to the competition, but only one article per person will be eligible to be promoted to the final round; selected at the discretion of the review panel.

  7. Submissions must be about science, and will be judged upon their clarity, accuracy, and relevance to the discipline of science under which they are submitted. Consideration will also be given to the contemporary nature of the topic, the overall readability of the article, as well as the writing skill of the author.

  8. Authors retain copyright of their work, although ION Publications will have the right to publish it on the ScientificBlogging website.

  9. Finalists will be notified by email by October 30, 2009. Finalists will be requested to provide a biography of themselves which will be posted along with their article during the on-line voting stage.

  10. Winners will be determined by on-line voting by ScientificBlogging registered users. Each user may vote for one article in each science discipline. Only one vote per science discipline per day will be allowed for each user account.

  11. Winners will be announced on the ScientificBlogging website by 12:00 noon PST on December 1, 2009.

  12. Cash prize winners will be paid by check by December 31, 2009. Grand prize winner will be offered a 3-month paid writing internship with ScientficBlogging from January 1, 2010 to March 31, 2010. The conditions of the internship will be outlined by the standard ION Publications Internship Agreement, which the winner must agree to. Failure to perform to the requirements outlined in the Internship Agreement will result in an immediate termination of the internship, and forfeit of any remaining monetary compensation.

Submission Instructions

  1. Go to the website, and select the “Register Now To Get Your Own Column!” link found at the top of the right column.

  2. Create a new account.  This is your column and can be customized with your own banner, column name, photos, profile page, and content. You are now a registered user of ScientificBlogging and can add friends, chat, leave comments, and write blogs and articles. Participants in the competition are requested to create a personal profile, including a biography that discusses your current school, field of study, and other scholastic accomplishments - as well as any other information you'd like to share. For more information about our user interface, you can check out our FAQ. You can create your account at any time, even before the September 1st starting date of the competition. However, to submit an article specifically for the University Science Writing Competition, you must identify your entry per the instructions below

  3. Select the red “Contest” button found on the far right side of the ScientificBlogging category buttons that run across the top of each page. (note: this button will appear on September 1st and will lead you to the Contest Main Page)

  4. Select the “Summit an Article” button found in the featured block at the top of the center section of the Contest Main Page. (note: Contest Main Page will appear on September 1st)

  5. Locate the “Writing Competition - Select University” drop-down menu near the article “Title:” box (available on September 1st).  Select your school from the drop down menu. This action identifies this article as a submission into the writing competition. This will place your completed article on the “Contest Submissions” page for reading and review during the article entry and finalist selection periods.

  6. Be sure to enter a title for your article, and to select the science subject field from the drop down menu to identify the relevant discipline of science for your article. Articles must be at least 500 words long. 

  7. ScientificBlogging is not responsible for connectivity issues or unexpected site outages that my prevent participants from submitting articles for consideration before the deadline. We consistently maintain the site in order to have it available and operational at all times. However, it is recommended that contest submissions are not left to the last minute in case of unexpected technical difficulties with the site.

  8. In order to be considered, all entries must be submitted between September 1, 2009 12:00am PDT, and October 15, 2009 11:59pm PDT.

  9. All contest participants should sign up to receive the ScientificBlogging RSS Newsletter feed to receive updates and information regarding the competition. The newsletter feed button can be found in the lower right side of the ScientificBlogging header.

  10. Some additional questions about he contest have been addressed here.  If you have any additional questions, please leave a remark below, or write to Kimberly Campbell at kim at

Please note that use of school names is not meant to imply an endorsement from them and all trademarks rest with their respective owners.

We are excited to read what we are sure will be some fantastic articles on science, from the best science schools in the nation. Good luck to you all!