Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The invisible made visible

Last year, I uploaded a post about the Cell Picture Show, where researchers in the visualisation of molecular biology can exhibit some of their most impressive images. This month, Science has released its equivalent in the form of its visualisation challenge. This competition has been running for 9 years, with winners and honourable mentions announced in the categories of photography, illustration, informational graphics, interactive games and video. The examples this year are well worth a look - the image above is taken from the first place entry for informational graphics, entitle The Cosmic Web by Miguel. A. Aragon-Calvo et al. It depicts the overall structure of the Universe if you could see the various levels of organisation, and comes with a handy explanation for non-cosmologists like me. I really can't do it justice with this small image, so I encourage you to go and see the original for yourself! The people's choice winner for photography is entitled The Cliff of a Two-Dimensional World by Babak Anasori et al (below). There's something about this image that I love; the deep red on blue is reminiscent of the Grand Canyon, but in fact is what you see when you image ultrathin sheets of titanium compounds under an electron microscope.

The Science website also has archived records of previous years' winners, which are also well worth a look!

Image rights belong to Science and the original authors. 


  1. I think this picture: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/335/6068/528/F1.expansion.html also deserves an honourable mention, since it seems to tie in very nicely with your last immunology posts!

  2. It (Ling's link) looks like an illustration from the cover of a 1950's science fantasy novel (or a hypothetical future allegorical sci-fi novel).

    What is it..?

  3. So the big blobs with tentacle things are meant to be breast cancer cells (though not sure what the tentacles are meant to represent in respect to cell structure?) and the small green blobs are antibodies specific to death receptors on the cells - on binding, it'll trigger a signalling cascade leading to cell death.

    I knew you'd like that picture, after all of James' war analogy posts! (also note the lack of T cells involved - heheh)

  4. It reminds me of the old depictions of Martian tripods from 'War of the Worlds'.

  5. And the green blobs are the cold germs that killed them?


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