Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Science Art: Sciency Good

It is my opinion that if you don't think science is cool, then maybe you're not thinking hard enough about science. Keep in mind, that's just my opinion! But this is my blog. If this blog had a subtitle, it would be "Arts Blog: Typing Things I Think Since 2007."

Sadly, my enthusiasm for science is not matched by a facility for understanding or performing it. You would not have wanted to be my lab partner in 10th grade biology, and not much has changed since then. I still don't know how to balance a chemical equation - in fact, I would be a terrible equation psychiatrist, since all my patients would be so UNBALANCED. Zing!

Hilarious puns aside, I do love learning about the weird and wonderful world of science. I also loved this slide show from the New York Times, of some of the winning photographs and illustrations from the 2009 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge (yes, that is a thing. Click the link). They are like the worlds' best and most creative science fair projects. I had fun, and I learned!

Here are some of my favorites:

Branching Morphogenesis
First Place, Illustration
Large scale templates from simulations of networking endothelial cells cultured on a 3D matrix were overlaid with more than 75,000 interconnected zip ties to show the complexity of an organic datascape and process.
Photo: Peter Lloyd Jones, Andrew Lucia, Annette Fierro and Jenny E. Sabin

The words I understood in this description were: Large scale, cells, and zip ties. But check it out - zip ties! I love those things! This is so creative, and I almost understand what it is showing. It's 80% there, like a half-remembered dream.

Brain Development
First Place, Informational Graphics
"Brain Development" illustrates the basics of building a brain and nervous system. It underscores the complexity of the brain, and highlights both genetic and environmental influences on brain development and the essential role of developmental plasticity.
Photo: Dwayne Godwin and Jorge Cham

Should every scientific explanation be in cartoon form? That is a question for the ages. I just know that now, I totally understand how the brain forms. That's all I'm saying. Draw your own conclusions (on fire with the science puns today). Also I love how in the last panel the kid is like "Uuurrggg, my brain is growing!"

Jellyfish Burger
Honorable Mention, Illustration
Without changes in global fishing policies, the seafood of the future is rubbery, according to Dave Beck, a digital artist, and Jennifer Jacquet, a marine scientist, creators of this 3D digital composite image. "The jellyfish burger is so close to becoming a reality, we can taste it."
Photo: Dave Beck and Jennifer Jacquet

I literally cannot handle hearing about global warming and the depletion of natural resources. Like, if you do not change the channel, I will leave the room. "An Inconvenient Truth" is worse than "Saw" for me. I just totally totally freak out and am immediately in tears. Do not even think of showing me a picture of a sad polar bear on a little hunk of ice in the middle of the ocean, because I will lose it. That said, I really like this, because it hammers a potentially academic issue home in a very real and recognizable way. Also, the jellyfish looks like a blue portobello mushroom, does it not? Back me up, vegetarians.

All these winners were fantastic, so check out the slideshow below:

NY Times - Visualizing Science

Congratulations, science artists!

(Top image by Sung Hoon Kang, Boaz Pokroy and Joanna Aizenberg).