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The artistic challenge of Science

I know it seems like forever since there was any news on this regard but not long ago in the german newspaper Die Zeit they referenced Science’s initiative to reward science’s best ways to illustrate science: The Visualization Challenge. Being able to conjugate meaningful science and beauty might seem challenging but the awarded show it’s not only possible but extremely succesful. The contest had 5 categories: Illustration, Posters&Graphics,Photography, Games&Apps and Video. And here I’ll show some of the awarded in each category. Let’s get down to it!

Let’s begin with Illustration. A canvas by Greg Dunn, a PhD in neuroscience, who depicted a section of cerebral cortex using gold leaf, palladium and acrillic in a piece entitled Cortex in Metallic Pastels.

Award Visualization Challenge on Illustration by Greg Dunn

I am not too impressed by the award on the Graphics category, so if you want to judge for yourselves go check the Science website, here I’d rather review others I like better, after all here I get to choose what I talk about 😛

Vicente Fernández (MIT). Award in Photography.

What might seem like the trajectory in space of a couple of stars are in fact two coral’s cylia beating the water into a vortex, with the trajectories of the water moved depicted into those movement tracks in yellow and blue. This picture, by Vicente I. Fernández from MIT got the first prize in the Photography category. The polyps, of the species Pocillopora damicornis are well known coral reef forming species. Cool, right?

The award to Games&Apps also goes to the MIT for a game that even if not super fun -at least from my perspective- it certainly is challenging. The game aim is to reconstruct the 3D structure of retinal neurons from real electronic microscopy data. And what’s best is that what players do PhD students shouldn’t. Win win. Here the demo and a link to the game link al juego EyeWire, in case you feel like a challenge. I will not do it since I have my plate more than full with my data analysis…maybe I should also trick people into playing WITH/FOR me…

And last, a video. This time we go to space with NASA and a bunch of NSA agencies. In this video they have recreated marine currents, wind flows and solar storms based on satellite data. I recommend watching it on a big screen and a big bowl of pop corn. Like any good movie.

This is all folks! If you want some more go check Science‘s site and take a look at the honorary mentions which are as good as the regular awards. Bon appetit!

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