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Nothing in science has any value to society if it is not communicated.

Anne Roe

The ultimate goal of research is to not only learn more about the world around us, but to apply that knowledge in ways that will subsequently benefit society. Scientific research is one of the most important channels of knowledge. It has a specific role, as well as a variety of functions for the benefit of our society: creating new knowledge, improving education, and increasing the quality of our lives. Regardless of whether this research focuses more on the realms of discovery or invention, we have come to realize that there are some controversies in the use of science in society. 

Societies have changed over time, and consequently, so has science. Science must respond to societal needs and global challenges. It is important the public is well-informed about the current developments in science and how these developments impact their daily lives, so that they can form their own opinions on these matters. 

However, most literature is written for the academic scholar, often using jargon-filled and dry language that can be difficult for most to grasp. Our mission is to embrace and capture the essence of scientific controversies and present it to the public in a straight-forward manner. In order to keep society informed about these developments we need to give it a “human face” and tell the story of science in simple and accessible ways that people can relate to.

For this writing competition, you may choose one of four controversies in science. Your goal is to write a 750-1000 word article in newspaper or literature review format that describes and evaluates the controversy for the general high-school educated public.

Your writing should not only accurately articulate the issue and the science behind it, but it should be understandable and engaging. In evaluating the topic, you should carefully explain key sides of the argument. Though you are encouraged to think critically, you should still give credence to opposing arguments. You can find more of our rules and guidelines here.


How should we use experimental therapies or procedures in times of emergency and crisis?

Environmental Science

How should we implement environmental policies when they may negatively impact the economy or our personal freedoms?


How should we innovate new technologies when their mass production could harm society?

Computer Science

How should we automate decisions using algorithms when the data they use may be faulty? 

About Us

This competition is being held by the Stony Brook Young Investigators Review, Stony Brook University’s undergraduate research journal. We are committed to bringing STEM to the general public.

Why a Competition?

With the global pandemic spreading throughout the nation, there has been an increased need for high school students to be able to engage in their interests virtually. A scientific writing competition would provide an especially engaging outlet.

Get in Touch

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out anytime!

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Twitter: @sbyir