top of page
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 2019.


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

Submissions are now closed. The winners will be announced on July 11th at the SciPy 2019 conference.

History of Ebola-1st prize, 2018

The John Hunter Excellence in Plotting Competition Co-chairs:

Hannah Aizenman

Thomas Caswell

Madicken Munk

Nelle Varoquaux

Important Plotting Contest Dates:


  • June 8, 2019:

    • Plotting contest submissions due

  • July 11, 2019:

    • Winners will be announced at the SciPy conference

The John  Hunter Excellence in Plotting Competition​



Participants are invited to submit scientific plots to be judged by a panel. The winning entries will be announced and displayed at the conference.


John Hunter’s family and NumFocus 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, 8th.

  • Winners will be announced at Scipy 2019 in Austin, TX.

  • 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, 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. This 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 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).

The 2018 entries may be viewed here.

Winners are:

1st Prize:

History of Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa 2013-2015 (Entry #3)
Gytis Dudas, Luiz Max Carvalho, Trevor Bedford, Andrew J Tatem, Marc A Suchard, Philippe Lemey, Andrew Rambaut

2nd Prize:


A pie in the Sky (Entry #19)
Enrico Garaldi


3rd Prize: 


Making Sense of Asteroids Observed with the Gaia Space Telescope (Entry #30)
Daniela Huppenkothen


Honorable Mention:


Brain Tumor (Entry #31)
Matthew McCormick

bottom of page