Wow: Science as Art

Sometimes the best way to express a scientific idea is through an image that grabs the eye and invites viewers to wonder what they’re seeing.

Fourteen images and multimedia presentations, each using innovative approaches to encapsulate a scientific story, have won the 2006 Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge, a competition sponsored jointly by the National Science Foundation and the journal Science, which is published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Currently in its fourth year, the contest recognizes outstanding achievement in the use of visual media to promote understanding of research results and scientific phenomena. The judges’ criteria for evaluating the entries included visual impact, innovation and accuracy, among others.

Winning entries communicate information about complex mathematical concepts, the intricacies of the human body, air-flight patterns, the latest scientific imaging technologies to analyze Leonardo da Vinci’s art, and more. The Sept. 22, 2006 issue of Science features all the entries, which will also be freely available. The entries are also displayed at the National Science Foundation’s Web site.


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