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Montana High School Polarization Photo Contest

High School Students, you are invited by Montana State University, the Flathead Valley Community College, and the Montana Space Grant Consortium to join our Polarimetric Photo Contest. To enter this contest please take interesting photos showing the polarization of light or the way a material interacts with the polarization of light (check out the videos below to help get you started). Then write a description of the science behind your photo and how you took the photo.


The Grand Prize winner of this contest will be invited to join a research team from Montana State University Bozeman as they observe the solar eclipse in August 2017! Other honorable mention winners will be invited to visit the Optics research laboratories at MSU and participate in Astronomy Day on April 9th, 2017. This trip will include lab tours, a campus visit, and fun learning activities! Both prizes include round-trip transportation, lodging, and access to key facilities. Incidentals (such as meals) will not be included.

An example entry is the colorful picture used on this page. To create this picture a piece of ice was placed between crossed linear polarizers. The chirality of the ice causes the linearly polarized light to rotate in a wavelength dependent manner causing the brilliant color patterns in the image. Watch the Circular Polarization video (link provided below) to learn how to take these types of pictures.


  • High School students currently enrolled at Montana High Schools.


  • Take a photograph using or showing the polarization of light, write a description and submit.


  • Have fun exploring an interesting aspect of light!
  • Win a trip to ride along with MSU researchers as they observe a solar eclipse or visit the MSU Optics Labs.
  • Get your name out there - your photo could be displayed on the photo contest webpage.
  • Boost your resume!


  • Winners will be selected in March 2017 by a panel of expert judges at MSU.


  1. Polarization Presentation
  2. Circular Polarization

If you are interested in participating, please contact us to get on the mailing list to be informed of any news, updates, etc. that come up.

Specific details about the competition can be found on the about the competition page.

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