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yesterday, the 2008 Visualization Challenge winners, organized by the National Science Foundation (NSF) along with the journal Science, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), have been announced.

one can find plenty of press releases & online summaries (see some links below), inclusive of yesterday's NSF Press Release somehow pointing to the last(!) year's winners for "more information". however, there are almost no visuals beyond thumbnails, let alone a collection of links towards the works or their authors. blessed with a University-sponsored subscription to Science Magazine, here is at least a bit more information.

the most notable "Honorable Mention" is that of Chris Harrison's & Christoph Römhild's Visualizing the Bible, previously posted on infosthetics. in fact, Harrison's work has been featured frequently on this blog. strangely enough, this entry seems to be the sole "data visualization", that is a representation of abstract, non-physical information (versus the depiction of physical artifacts).

the category "Informational Graphics" is blessed with an honorable mention for the work "Stream Micro-Ecology: Life in a Biofilm" from Andrew Dopheide & Gillian Lewis, showing the science of slime by magnifying some primary biofilm dwellers such as algae, bacteria, protozoa, cyanobacteria, fungi & viruses. some extensive Googling resulted in a website called streambiofilm.org.nz, which I suppose is closely related.

the winner of "Informational Graphics" is "Mad Hatter's Tea" from Alice's Adventures in a Microscopic Wonderland, created by Concise Image Studios. the infographic shows 3 beetles sipping tea, inspired by the story Alice in Wonderland, set in a field of crystallized vitamin C while aphids fly overhead.

one seemingly intriguing Honorable Mention is titled "Smarter than the Worm" from Mirjam Kaplow & Katharina Strohmeier. it illustrates the concept behind computer viruses & worms by a visual story depicting gates of a fortress city, where a guard examines each visitor before granting them access. from the 2 available stills, the movie looks quite poetic.

lastly, the only available link points to Exploring Life's Origins, an Honorable Mention in Interactive Media. biochemist Janet Iwasa illustrates how the first cells may have formed & operated on a molecular level.

going through this challenge has been a frustrating experience, desperately searching for any visuals or video sources of an inherently visual medium. I can only hope that the list will be updated with links to online resources pointing to the works or authors, & secondly, that the works will be documented on easily accessible project websites, or why not, posted on Flickr or YouTube, bringing them to the masses where they belong.

[link: nsf.gov & eurekalert.org & sciencemag.org]

see also the 2007 & 2006 winners.


images below taken from Science Magazine.





Thank you for your thoughtful comments about the Visualization Challenge. I am the director of the project that won the illustration category with "Zoom into the Human Bloodstream." I was also surprised that there was no link to our work.

I'd like to point your readers to our website, www.nisenet.org/viz_lab (

Fri 26 Sep 2008 at 4:58 PM

hi Jennifer, first of all: congratulations! I have added the hyperlink to your comment to even make it more easy for people to access your website. It was nice to see your project is well documented.

For those people still reading this: you need to click on the long image on the right side of the nisenet website to enjoy the high-rez illustrations.

Fri 26 Sep 2008 at 6:48 PM


We've put up a gallery of all the non-interactive or video entries here - http://technology.newscientist.com/article/dn14809-gallery-stunning-visualizations-of-science.html (link)

Fri 26 Sep 2008 at 9:59 PM

Thank you for the well written article. I too was upset that there were no links to view the entries this year. I am the lead animator for "A window into life" that won Honerable Mention in Non-interactive Media category. The video can be viewed on:
http://www.tvermilye.com/pmwiki/pmwiki.php?n=Animation.NSF2008 (link)
http://www.kenneth-eward.com/window.html (link)

-Travis Vermilye

Sun 28 Sep 2008 at 1:14 AM

very informative post
thank you
Lidar mapping services

Sat 04 Oct 2008 at 5:59 PM

Thank you for your thoughtful comments about the Visualization Challenge.

Sun 05 Oct 2008 at 3:00 AM

Great great list of videos!
Allow me to recommend this one that shows how visualization is used in IT software:
Visualization Video

Wed 15 Oct 2008 at 8:36 AM

Hi all, I just thought I'd let you know that I picked up a gorgeous poster here, of the Mad Hatters Tea www.microscopicwonderland.com. It is a new image, created with micrographs of bugs! It is extremely unique, and being a huge fan of Alice and science, I had to have one!

Tue 25 Nov 2008 at 1:05 PM

Where did you take from such kind of information? Can you give me the source?

Tue 07 Jul 2009 at 6:18 AM
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