How Americans Die
- a visual tour through surprising trends in mortality among Americans in the last several decades
The depth of the problem
- this WaPo infographic hints at the immense challenges
that Australian and Chinese search teams will face in recovering the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 black box
from its suspected location at the bottom of the Indian Ocean
In a new exhibition titled Beautiful Science: Picturing Data, Inspiring Insight, the British Library pays homage to the important role data visualization plays in the scientific process.
The exhibition can be visited from 20 February until 26 May 2014, and contains works ranging from John Snow's plotting of the 1854 London cholera infections on a map to colourful depictions of the Tree of Life. In a Nature Video, curator Johanna Kieniewicz explores some of the beautiful examples of visualizations that are exhibited. [more inside]
At the core of good science and engineering is the careful and respectful treatment of data. We calibrate our instruments, scrutinize the algorithms we use to process the data, and study the behavior of the models we use to interpret the data or simulate the phenomena we may be observing. Surprisingly, this careful treatment of data often breaks down when we visualize our data.
[raises envelope to temple]
Human bone cancer. Sea gooseberry larva. Bat embryos. [tears open envelope, blows inside, removes paper, reads]
Some of the winners of the 38th Nikon Small World microphotography
These days, it's easy to take visualizations of biological molecules for granted, what with the easy availability
of an ever-increasing supply of high-resolution X-ray
and neutron crystallography data, as well as freely available software
that render them into beautiful and useful images that help us understand how life works. The lack of computers and computer networks in the mid-1950s made creating these illustrations a painstaking collaboration, requiring an artist's craftsmanship and aesthetic sense, as well as, most importantly, the critical ability to visualize the concepts that scientists wish to communicate. One such scientific artist was Irving Geis
, who painted the first biological macromolecule obtained through X-ray data: an iconic watercolor representation of the structure of sperm whale myoglobin, as seen in the third slide of this slideshow of selected pieces
. His first effort was a revolutionary
work of informatics, including coloring and shading effects that emphasized important structural and functional features of the myoglobin protein, simultaneously moving the less-important aspects into the background, all while stressing simplicity and beauty throughout. The techniques that Geis developed in this and subsequent works
influenced the standards for basic 2D protein visualization that are used today.
- providing tools for creating interactive data visualizations for the web
The rise and fall of personal computing
- A neat (and in some ways, stark) visualization of the impact of mobile devices on computing
A hive plot
) is a beautiful and compelling way to visualize multiple, complex networks, without resorting to "hairball
" graphs that are often difficult to qualitatively compare and contrast. [more inside]
Princeton's 5th annual Art of Science Competition
"The Art of Science exhibition explores the interplay between science and art. These practices both involve the pursuit of those moments of discovery when what you perceive suddenly becomes more than the sum of its parts. Each piece in this exhibition is, in its own way, a record of such a moment."
provides a RESTful
interface to the popular open-source statistical package R
, enabling the user to perform calculations and create publication-quality or web-embeddable visualizations via standard web requests.
Visualization of the dark matter in 1/1000 of the gigantic Bolshoi cosmological simulation, zooming in on a region centered on the dark matter halo of a very large cluster of galaxies.
... The Bolshoi simulation is the most accurate cosmological simulation of the evolution of the large-scale structure of the universe yet made (“bolshoi” is the Russian word for “great” or “grand”)
. (The Formation of the Milky Way and its Neighbors
is cool too.)
The Welikia Project goes beyond Mannahatta to encompass the entire city, discover its original ecology and compare it what we have today.
The International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge 2010
- "Researchers are generating mind-boggling volumes of data at exponentially increasing rates. The ability to process that information and display it in ways that enhance understanding is an increasingly important aspect of the way scientists communicate with each other and—especially—with students and the general public. That's why, for the past 8 years, Science and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) have co-sponsored annual challenges to promote cutting-edge efforts to visualize scientific data, principles, and ideas. This year's awardees
span scales from nanoparticles to colliding galaxies, and from microseconds to millennia."
Fuck Yeah Fluid Dynamics
celebrates fluid dynamics in all their fuck-yeahness.
translates scientific data related to meteorology
into woven sculptures
and musical scores
. She discusses her work in an interview
with the Peabody Essex Museum. (via Mira y Calla)
Asteroid Discovery From 1980 - 2010:
an animation of the solar system that highlights asteroids as they are discovered. I would suggest watching it in a high resolution.
One of the great things about Google Earth
is how extensible it is using KML
. You can use it to show off placemarks, build 3D structures, track wildfires or hurricanes, and much more. Google Earth can be used as a scientific visualization platform. OpenEarth
is an open source initiative that archives, hosts and disseminates Data
for marine and coastal scientists and engineers. Their KML data visualizations using Google Earth
display some of the possibilities. [via
] [more inside]
Cool app lets you zoom in from a coffee bean to a carbon atom, so that you can compare sizes.
Along the way, you see a grain of sand, a skin cell and many other tiny things. This is the first time I've ever had a sense of these objects' sizes. Cells are actually bigger than I thought they were. I wish the zoomer would keep going. I want to see some sub-atomic particles on the scale.
The Anatomy of Spiral Arms
, shows how galaxies naturally evolve to form grand-design two-arm spirals. The Hubble Ultra Deep Field in 3D
. [more inside]
2008 Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge
-- in categories including photography, illustration, informational graphics, and multimedia -- captured the crystalline beauty of diatoms, the expanse of the human circulatory system, a fairy tale tea party re-invented, and the dynamic life of a plant cell." (previously
, selected solely for their artistic appeal, from the pages of Physical Review B.
The Inner Life of an Intelligently Designed Cell?
Remember The Inner Life of a Cell
animation (discussed here
)? Apparently the Discovery Institute
(recently discussed here
) is showing it in presentations
with a new title and narration, and without attribution.
Scientific visualization challenge 2006:
This year's winners captured inner details of a child mummy
, mathematical surfaces rendered as glass objects
, the highest mountain
on Earth, air traffic
by night, etc...
Visualizations of recent and historical tsunami episodes, collected by John McDaris at Carleton College. Includes large but visually effective animations, such as this NOAA visualization
of the global propagation of the 26/12/04 tsunami (24MB Quicktime).