The winners of the fourth Matrix Science Poetry Competition have been announced.

The contest, which has been driven by former Matrix Chair Dr. Bryan Keaking CBE since 2013, aims to highlight the links between science and the arts.

The contest asks contributors to write a poem which can be profound or humorous, about the big issues or the small, generic or personal – but it must be about science and technology.  Topics can include climate change or the pleasure of writing great code, the beauty of equations or the possible dangers of GM crops.

Our panel of judges, Prof. Iggy McGovern, Dr. Bryan Keating and Dr. Rob Grundy judged dozens of top quality entries from all over the world.

Former Matrix chair Dr. Bryan Keating said, “We introduced the Matrix Poetry Competition to illustrate the symbiotic relationship between the arts and science.  While the two may appear to be at polar ends of the spectrum they are inextricably linked, with many of the world’s most esteemed scientists excelling in the arts too. In fact the origin of the word technology comes from the ancient Greek word for art, techne.

“The competition has a separate prize specifically for those who study or work in a STEM sector, enabling people involved in the science and technology industries to show how creative and poetic they can be. And the haiku is the perfect format for our younger generation of Digital Natives who love to tweet, as we can see from the number and quality of the entries for both  of our competitions.”

The winner of the Matrix Haiku award is David Butler, an Irish novelist, short story writer, playwright, and poet. He has won several literary prizes, such as the Ted McNulty Award from Poetry Ireland and the Féile Filíochta International Award and the Fish Short Story Award. David wins £250 and an engraved trophy for this haiku:


A subject you can pass with

Absolute zero!

Runner up: Debbie Strange, a Canadian short form poet, who wins £50 for this entry:

optical fibres . . .

massive clonal colonies

of quaking aspens

And the winner of the Matrix Scientist award, for STEM students or professionals, was Fabian Campbell-West, CEO of Liopa, a Belfast company specialising in AI lipreading software. Fabian wins £250 and an engraved trophy for this haiku:

She is an artist,

creating new code;

painting with ones and zeros.

Runner up: Natalie Hughes, a student at Belfast Metropolitan College, who wins £50 for this entry:

Rosalind Franklin,

identified the helix –

DNA structure