CUNY Nobel Science Challenge


The 2014 CUNY Nobel Science Challenge: The Science Behind the Prize

A Competition for CUNY Undergraduate Students


The Nobel Prizes in physiology or medicine, physics, chemistry, and economics have recently been announced.  CUNY undergraduate students are invited to describe, in 1000-1500 words, the scientific concepts behind the work for which one of the 2014 Nobel winners received their respective prize and the present and future significance of the research to humanity. The essays must make the science accessible to the lay person.



Essays will be read and judged by a distinguished CUNY faculty committee. Three prizes will be awarded in each category (physiology or medicine, physics, chemistry, and economics) and one additional prize will be awarded to the best essay submitted.


Essays must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on  December 5, 2014.  They should be in Microsoft Word or PDF format and submitted via the Formstack below. If you have any questions or can not upload your essay please contact




First Prize:         Apple iMac Computer
Second Prize:     Apple iPad 
Third Prize:        Amazon Kindle Fire

First Prize winners from each category will be forwarded to a second committee that will select the Grand Prize winner for the best essay submitted overall. The winner will receive a Grand Prize of $3,000.

Important notes:

  • Previous first prize winners are not eligible for this year's competition.
  • The Nobel Science Challenge is open to all first degree undergraduate students currently registered in a degree program at CUNY.
  • Essays that exceed the word count (1,500 maximum) will be rejected. (Bibliographies, charts, etc. do not count toward word limit).
  • Essays will be judged on accuracy and clarity.
  • To check for accuracy, we encourage discussing the concepts that you will expand upon in your essay with a professor, but note that essays must be your own original and independent work.
  • No portion of your essay may be copied from other sources without appropriate citing of the sources. Essays will be checked for original content using source-verification software. You must cite your sources within the text and as a list at the end of the document.

Please click HERE to submit your essay.

Frequently Asked Questions >


We are pleased to announce the 2014 Winners 

Chemistry -  1st Place:    Lily Lee, Freshman at Brooklyn College

Chemistry -  2nd Place: Isamar Garrido-Rodriguez, Sophomore at Hostos Community College

Chemistry - 3rd Place: Taner Ture, Senior at Brooklyn College


Physiology or Medicine -  1st  Place:  Marium Sarder, Sophomore at Baruch College 

Economics -  1st  Place:  John Strub, Sophomore at Hunter College  

Economics -  2nd  Place:  Kristina Rozentsvayg, Senior at Baruch College

Economics -  3rd  Place:  Abhinaya Swaminathan, Senior at Baruch College

Physics -  1st  Place:  Eileen Clancy, Senior at Hunter College

Physics - 2nd Place: Crystal Kennedy, Junior at John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Physics - 3rd Place: Edem Kokou, Sophomore at Bronx Community College 




2014 Nobel winners


Physiology or Medicine    

For their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain

Awarded jointly to John O'Keefe May-Britt Moser   and   Edvard I. Moser



For the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources

Isamu Akasaki Hiroshi Amano  and  Shuji Nakamura



For the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy.

Eric Betzig,Stefan W. Hell and William E. Moerner 



For his analysis of market power and regulation

Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2014  was awarded to Jean Tirole