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Plotting Contest

In memory of John Hunter, creator of matplotlib, we are pleased to be running the SciPy John Hunter Excellence in Plotting Competition for 2020.


This open competition aims to highlight the importance of data visualization to scientific progress and showcase the capabilities of open source software.

Submissions will be open through June 1. The winners will be announced on July 9th at the SciPy 2020 virtual conference. 


1st prize, 2019

The John Hunter Excellence in Plotting Competition Co-chairs:

Madicken Munk

Nelle Varoquaux

Important Plotting Contest Dates:


  • June 1, 2020:

    • Plotting contest submissions due

  • July 9, 2020:

    • Winners will be announced at the SciPy conference

Participants are invited to submit scientific plots to be judged by a panel. The winning entries will be announced and displayed at SciPy 2020 or announced in the John Hunter Excellence in Plotting Contest website and youtube channel. 


John Hunter’s family are graciously sponsoring cash prizes for the winners in the following amounts:

1st prize: $1000

2nd prize: $750

3rd prize: $500


  • Entries must be submitted by June 1st to the form at

  • Winners will be announced at Scipy 2020 in Austin, TX or publicly on the John Hunter Excellence in Plotting Contest website and youtube channel

  • Participants do not need to attend the Scipy conference.

  • Entries may take the definition of “visualization” rather broadly. Entries may be, for example, a traditional printed plot, an interactive visualization for the web, a dashboard, or an animation.

  • Source code for the plot must be provided, in the form of Python code and/or a Jupyter notebook, along with a rendering of the plot in a widely used format.  The rendering may be, for example, PDF for print, standalone HTML and Javascript for an interactive plot, or MPEG-4 for a video. If the original data can not be shared for reasons of size or licensing, "fake" data may be substituted, along with an image of the plot using real data.

  • Each entry must include a 300-500 word abstract describing the plot and its importance for a general scientific audience.

  • Entries will be judged on their clarity, innovation and aesthetics, but most importantly for their effectiveness in communicating a real-world problem. Entrants are encouraged to submit plots that were used during the course of research or work, rather than merely being hypothetical.

  • SciPy and the John Hunter Excellence in Plotting Contest organizers reserves the right to display any and all entries, whether prize-winning or not, at the conference, use in any materials or on its website, with attribution to the original author(s).

  • Past entries can be found at

  • Questions regarding the contest can be sent to [email protected] 

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