About this time last year I wrote an impassioned piece on the importance of words (Feb. 22, 2012 posting) while making note of the 2010 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge winners. For the record, I haven’t changed my mind about the importance of either words or visuals; I still don’t believe that there’s a one size fits all approach to communicating about anything let alone science. (I have had more than one convo with graphic designers who bring up that ‘picture worth …’ as they explain why my words on the page are in a four-point font [I exaggerate but only mildly], so this protest was based on previous bad experiences rather than any hostility towards the Challenge.)
Science magazine (published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science [AAAS]) announced the winners for the 2011 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge today. Tomorrow, Science will feature the winning entries in its Feb. 3, 2012 issue. From the Feb. 2, 2012 news release on EurekAlert,
The international competition, currently in its ninth year, honors recipients who use visual media to promote understanding of scientific research. The criteria for judging the 212 entries, from 33 countries, included visual impact, effective communication, freshness and originality.
Here’s a brief description of the some of the winning entries,
Solve the Protein Puzzle: A multiplayer online computer game puzzle, called “Foldit,” that allows users to bend and fold amino acids into realistic proteins and solve the problem of protein folding was developed by Seth Cooper of the University of Washington, Seattle and his team.
“We strove to make the visualizations in folding both fun to look at and informative about where there are problems with the protein that players might be able to fix,” said Cooper, a first-place winner in the Interactive Games category. “We tried to make the visualizations clear and approachable, so the game can be played by people who don’t have a scientific background.”
View a Cell in 3D: The movie “Rapid Visual Inventory & Comparison of Complex 3D Structures” depicts a novel three-dimensional model view of a whole cell in minute detail and helps biologists better understand complex visual data for a general audience. The video was selected as the first-place Video category winner by the judges as well as the People’s Choice.
“Morphing the cell from the complicated native model to the simplified version and back gets general audiences excited about the subject matter and reminds even expert audiences of the complex interplay of randomness and specific interaction that enables life to exist,” said winning animator Graham T. Johnson of the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, California, and now at the University of California San Francisco.
See the Beauty of a Mouse’s Eye: The first-place photograph, “Metabolomic Eye,” is a metabolic snapshot of the diversity of cells in a mouse eye retina, derived from a technique called computational molecular phenotyping (CMP), explained neuroscientist Bryan William Jones of the University of Utah’s Moran Eye Center in Salt Lake City. The image shows a unique view of normal tissue functioning and reveals complex metabolic signals while preserving the anatomical context of a tissue, added Jones.
Build a Human Body: “Build-a-Body is a great way to virtually learn about human anatomy,” said game designer Jeremy Friedberg of Spongelab Interactive about his educational science game, which won an Honorable Mention, that allows users to use drag and drop tools to learn about organs of the human body. “Our free, open platform fosters a global science community by stitching together educational content, teaching tools and powerful data surrounding class and student performance.”
Since I try to focus on nanotechnology for this blog, here’s a carbon nanotube image that won an honourable mention in this year’s competition in the illustration category,To me, they look like bowling pins made of pine cones.