Current Issue
This Month's Print Issue

Follow Fast Company

We’ll come to you.

1 minute read

Infographic of the Day

10 Of The Year's Best Science Visualizations

Every year, the National Science Foundation and the journal Science honor the most creative works of scientific imagery. Here are some of the standouts.

  • <p>The leaves of a flowery shrub called the Pride of Rochester are covered in fuzzy hairs with starburst-like tips.</p>
  • <p>This <a href="http://youtu.be/gnZEge78_78" target="_blank">animation</a> shows how the mucosa, the inner layer of the gastrointestinal tract, provides an immune defense mechanism for the body.</p>
  • <p>A <a href="http://youtu.be/ujBi9Ba8hqs" target="_blank">video</a> from NASA uses satellite data and computational models to visualize the swirling circulation of the winds and oceans on Earth, and showing how different parts of the climate system interact.</p>
  • <p>Time-lapse photography shows how small hairs on the surface of coral create a whirlpool that helps the invertebrates breathe.</p>
  • <p>Scientists at the University of South Florida are studying the microstructure of polymers in order to build biomedical devices. It looks like a little city!</p>
  • <p>An illustration depicting the cerebral cortex takes inspiration from Asian art. If only our brains were actually this pretty inside.</p>
  • <p>Researchers are studying the complicated physics of popping soap bubbles, in hopes of modeling foam behavior with supercomputers. Oh, to play with bubbles for a living.</p>
  • <p>We’re covered in germs. Makes you want to reach for the hand sanitizer, doesn’t it?</p>
  • 01 /10 | Stellate leaf hairs on Deutzia scabra

    The leaves of a flowery shrub called the Pride of Rochester are covered in fuzzy hairs with starburst-like tips.

  • 02 /10 | Immunology of the Gut Mucosa

    This animation shows how the mucosa, the inner layer of the gastrointestinal tract, provides an immune defense mechanism for the body.

  • 03 /10 | Immunology of the Gut Mucosa
  • 04 /10 | Dynamic Earth

    A video from NASA uses satellite data and computational models to visualize the swirling circulation of the winds and oceans on Earth, and showing how different parts of the climate system interact.

  • 05 /10 | Invisible Coral Flows

    Time-lapse photography shows how small hairs on the surface of coral create a whirlpool that helps the invertebrates breathe.

  • 06 /10 | Polymer Micro-structure Self-assembly

    Scientists at the University of South Florida are studying the microstructure of polymers in order to build biomedical devices. It looks like a little city!

  • 07 /10 | Cortex in Metallic Pastels

    An illustration depicting the cerebral cortex takes inspiration from Asian art. If only our brains were actually this pretty inside.

  • 08 /10 | The Life Cycle of a Bubble Cluster

    Researchers are studying the complicated physics of popping soap bubbles, in hopes of modeling foam behavior with supercomputers. Oh, to play with bubbles for a living.

  • 09 /10
  • 10 /10 | Human Hand Controlling Bacterial Biofilms

    We’re covered in germs. Makes you want to reach for the hand sanitizer, doesn’t it?

In explaining complicated science, a picture can be worth far more than a thousand words. Science visualization brings to life the often under-appreciated beauty of the way the world works—from how coral breathe to the delicate structures that connect the brain—and they do it in a way that can be far more illuminating to non-scientists than a dense abstract.

Every year, the National Science Foundation and the journal Science honor the most creative works of scientific imagery. Here are some of the standouts from the 2013 International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge, the results of which were announced last week. Click through the slide show above for a closer look.

Slideshow Credits: 01 / Stephen Francis Lowry, Steve Lowry Photography; 02 / Doug Huff and Elizabeth Anderson, Arkitek Studios; Zoltan Fehervari, Nature Immunology; Simon Fenwick, Nature Reviews ; 03 / Doug Huff and Elizabeth Anderson, Arkitek Studios; Zoltan Fehervari, Nature Immunology; Simon Fenwick, Nature Reviews ; 04 / Greg Shirah and Horace Mitchell, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center; Tom Bridgman, Global Science & Technology, Inc. ; 05 / Vicente I. Fernandez, Orr H. Shapiro, Melissa S. Garren, Assaf Vardi and Roman Stocker, Massachusetts Institute of Technology ; 06 / Anna Pyayt and Howard Kaplan, University of South Florida; 07 / Greg Dunn, Greg Dunn Design; 08 / Robert I. Saye and James A. Sethian, UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory ; 10 / Lydia-Marie Joubert, Stanford University;

loading