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The symbiosis between art and science

The symbiosis between art and science in beautiful visualizations.

February 12, 2013

The symbiosis between art and science has been very explored, especially in the last years. In this context, the National Science Foundation, (NSF), created in 2003 the International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge.

The prizes of the 2012 edition are now known for the several competition categories:



Biomineral Single Crystals “, credits to Pupa U. P. A. Gilbert and Christopher E. Killian, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

The represented structures are microscopic crystals that make up a sea urchin’s tooth
Although made of a soft substance, teeth are strong enough to grind stone.



Connectivity of a Cognitive Computer Based on the Macaque Brain“, credits to Emmett McQuinn, Theodore M. Wong, Pallab Datta, Myron D. Flickner, Raghavendra Singh, Steven K. Esser, Rathinakumar Appuswamy, William P. Risk, and Dharmendra S. Modha.

Diagram inspired in the neuronal processing of a macaque brain.


Posters and graphics:

Adaptations of the Owl’s Cervical & Cephalic Arteries in Relation to Extreme Neck Rotation, credits to Fabian de Kok-Mercado, Michael Habib, Tim Phelps, Lydia Gregg, and Philippe Gailloud, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Department of Art as Applied to Medicine.

Owls cannot move their eyes in their sockets. This limitation is compensated by the ability they have to turn their head 270 °. This poster explains the rotation mechanism.



“Alya Red: A Computational Heart”, credits to Guillermo Marin, Fernando M. Cucchietti, Mariano Vázquez, Carlos Tripiana, Guillaume Houzeaux, Ruth Arís, Pierre Lafortune, and Jazmin Aguado-Sierra, Barcelona Supercomputing Center



This year, as a result of technology trends, the competition featured one more category: applications for mobile devices.

Three applications submitted to the competition under this category:

“Velocity Raptor” –  A dinosaur is trying to save the world moving at a speed close to the speed of light, at which the world behaves according to Albert Einstein’s theory of special relativity.

“CyGaMEs Selene II: A Lunar Construction Game” –  The user builds his own moon with spatial material, and then subjects it the effects of volcanic activity and collision with asteroids.

“Untangled” –  The users compete to make the most compact layout of the circuit on a grid.

Although these applications competed, none was found worthiy of a first prize by the juries. Let’s see how it will be next year.


If you’re interested, you can find more information in the Science article devoted to the issue. And for those who are interested in participating in the 2013 edition,  you can submit your project  between  1 February and 20 September.


Links: National Science Foundation – International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge 2012 winners | Correio Braziliense – Arte e ciência unidas

Written by Susana Pereira

Susana Simões Pereira, maths teacher and PhD in science teaching and communication. I enjoy games and photography and I'm passionate for science and art, specially when together in the same context. You can follow my updates on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.