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In today's world, we cannot avoid reading about millisievert numbers and alternative denominations of "dose equivalent radiation" in the news, together with comparative statements as "7.5 million times the legal limit" (Does it matter? What about 8.5 million? 7.5 trillion anyone?) and other relatively complex comparisons and limits that combine exposures by hours, with those of days or years equivalent.

But help is there: it seems some of brightest minds in infographic design have taken on the challenge of visualizing these nuclear radiation exposures in comprehensible and sensible ways.

- Information is Beautiful's Radiation Dosage Chart.
- Webcomic XKCD version: Radiation Dose Chart
- Nuclear Radiation - Triangle Chart by Alexandra Muresan and Fabian Fucci
- Radiation Levels and the Body (translation from Japanese version)
- The American Nuclear Society's alternative

Are there more such visualization around? If so, let us know in the comments below.





the "information is beautiful" version is dangerously not clear. by using a logarithmic scale it makes it look like the "immediate severe vomiting & come" dosage is just roughly three times the dosage you get with a chest x-ray.

i know the footnote says that it's using a non linear scale, but the visual part of the chart is linear, and that's what viewers see and remember.

Sat 09 Apr 2011 at 1:36 AM

I couldn't agree more with Marcello.

Sat 09 Apr 2011 at 1:47 AM

Agree with Marcello, too. It's beautiful but so dangerous in these days. Why don't you use curve instead of flat line? It will look like eiffel tower... and correct.

Sat 09 Apr 2011 at 2:10 AM

I just wrote and alanyzed two of these radiation charts and one more on The Why Axis (http://thewhyaxis.info) The third is an interactive sooming version of the data in the XKCD chart - http://thewhyaxis.info/fukushima/

Sat 09 Apr 2011 at 3:14 AM

lol the triangle chart is very cool... and almost impossible to understand in a short time!

Sat 09 Apr 2011 at 6:57 AM

triangle chart is also impossible to read

Sat 09 Apr 2011 at 6:58 AM

The triangle chart also happens to be the only truly useful one, since the other is just a bunch of more or less contrived examples lumped together. Hiding complexity is not always the right thing to do.

Sun 10 Apr 2011 at 9:19 AM

I also blogged about these: http://vislives.com/2011/03/30/radiation-doses-choose-your-poison/

I find Muresan's & Fucci's chart most useful as it also depicts visualization dose rate.

Mon 11 Apr 2011 at 2:13 PM

Åke: The triangle chart is also a number of examples lumped together - each color is related to one example. The main difference is that it has split received dose into rate and time. I like it, but still think it's to complex to be of any general use.

I vote for the xkcd chart, since it is the only one that really visualizes the scale well. All the other charts expect the users to think in logarithms.

Thu 14 Apr 2011 at 8:43 PM

(Oh, and I'm not Alexandra Muresan.)

Thu 14 Apr 2011 at 8:46 PM

A little late to the game, I know, but I took a stab at a radiation dosage chart here, and compared it with a couple of the others:


Fri 22 Apr 2011 at 8:27 AM
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