An animated film that reveals the beauty of the sun’s interactions with Earth is one of the winners of an international contest in science visualization.
“Dynamic Earth” took first place in the video category of the 2013 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge. Other winners include a dreamy image of the miniscule micro-currents made by reef-building coral, and an eye-opening illustration of bacterial growth on the human hand.
“The winners made scientific data beautiful and brought their new ideas to life, while at the same time immersing the viewer in science,” said Monica M. Bradford, executive editor of the journal Science, which sponsors the contest along with the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Stunning photos and creative illustration
Contest judges choose winners in five categories: photography, video, games and apps, informational posters and illustration. This year’s photography winners are Vicente Fernandez and colleagues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who managed to capture a mini-whirlpool created by the beating cilia of cauliflower coral.
A micro-photograph of leaf hairs that look like tiny stars won honorable mention, as did another microscope-enabled shot of amazingly complex structures in a micropolymer.
The first-place winner of the illustration category was Greg Dunn, who created a work of art out of the layering of the brain’s cortex. In Dunn’s image, neural cells spread like tree branches on a leaf-green background. Illustrations that got honorable mentions include an actual “security blanket,” a quilt printed with common passwords (including “password”). Another honorable mention illustration shows how microbes resist antibacterial soap with an image of bright-green bacterial colonies on the human hand.
The winners of the informational poster category, from Drexel University, created a sleek graphic to show how fabrics could be designed to store power. Honorable mentions went to posters explaining the physics of soap bubbles and the effects of cold water on sea turtles.
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