NSF Announces 2009 Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge Winners

The winning visualizations range from a video that uses found objects to explain the epigenetics of identical twins, to an electron microscope photograph that catches self-assembling polymers in action as they grip a green orb.
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The National Science Foundation and the journal Science have revealed the winners of their seventh annual International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge, extraordinary images and videos and graphics that reveal intricate details of life and the world around us.

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First place, photography: Tiny plastic fingers, each with a diameter 1/500th of a human hair, assemble around and hold a tiny sphere. By Sung Hoon Kang, Joanna Aizenberg, and Boaz Pokroy (Harvard University). The winning visualizations range from a video that uses found objects to explain the epigenetics of identical twins, to an electron microscope photograph that catches self-assembling polymers in action as they grip a green orb, offering a message about cooperative efforts to save the Earth.

One of two first-place winners in the illustrations category is a 3.5-meter-tall, three-dimensional art installation, one of several projects by biologist Peter Lloyd Jones and architect Jenny E. Sabin of the University of Pennsylvania's Sabin + Jones LabStudio that depict large, complex data sets in new ways. Called "Branching Morphogenesis," the work is an illustration of the forces lung cells exert as they form capillaries. It aims to reveal--through abstraction--the unseen beauty and dynamic relationships that exist between endothelial cells and their surrounding extracellular microenvironment.

"Sometimes graphing data won't tell you about its intricacies," Jones says. "This makes the whole process exciting and interactive."

Illustrators, photographers, computer programmers and graphics specialists from around the world were invited to submit visualizations that would intrigue, explain and educate. This year, there were 130 entries from 14 countries.

Here are 2009 winning entries. The winning visualizations are in the Feb. 19 issue of Science and available here.


First Place

Sung Hoon Kang, Joanna Aizenberg, and Boaz Pokroy, Harvard University
Save Our Earth. Let's Go Green

Honorable Mentions
Michael P. Zach, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Microbe vs. Mineral - A Life and Death Struggle in the Desert

Russell Taylor, Briana K. Whitaker, and Briana L. Carstens, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Flower Power

Dr. Heiti Paves and Birger Ilau, Tallinn University of Technology


First Place (tie)

Richard Palais and Luc Benard, University of California-Irvine
Kuen's Surface: A Meditation on Euclid, Lobachevsky, and Quantum Fields.

Peter Lloyd Jones, Andrew Lucia, and Jenny E. Sabin, University of Pennsylvania's Sabin + Jones Lab Studio
Branching Morphogenesis

Honorable Mentions
David Beck, Clarkson University and Jennifer Jacquet, University of British Columbia Jellyfish Burger

Mario De Stefano, Antonia Auletta, and Carla Langella, The 2nd University of Naples
Back to the Future


First Place

Dwayne Godwin, Wake Forest University School of Medicine and Jorge Cham, www.phdcomics.com
Brain Development

Honorable Mention
Erin Olson, Daphne Orlando and Tim Manning, R&D Systems Inc.
Regulation of the Cell Cycle & DNA Damage-Induced Checkpoint Activation


First Place

Jeremy Friedberg and Andrea Bielecki, Spongelab Interactive
Genomics Digital Lab: Cell Biology


First Place (tie)

Genetic Science Learning Center, University of Utah - Harmony Starr, Molly Malone and Brendan Nicholson
The Epigenetics of Identical Twins

Christian Thiemann and Daniel Grady, Northwestern University
Follow the Money: Human Mobility and Effective Communities

Honorable Mentions
Gregor Hochleitner, Christian Gredel and Nils Sparwasser, German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Decision Support System for Tsunami Early Warning

Stacy Jannis, William Dempsey, and Rebekah Fredenburg, Jannis Productions
Inside the Brain: Unraveling the Mystery of Alzheimer's Disease

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