We went down to the British Library last week to check out the Beautiful Science exhibition. The exhibition explores the ways in which scientists represent and illustrate data. Beautiful Science highlights that visualization can act as a tool for discovery and that aesthetics play a key part in communicating insight.
Some incredible examples of data visualization are on show, both old and new.
It’s on until the 26th May so there is still plenty of time to head to the British Library and check out the exhibit for yourself! There are also pictures from the exhibition on the Guardian’s website.
Here are a few of our favourite visualizations…
Top left image: There was an amazing visualization by Eberhard Werner Happel from 1685 mapping the ocean currents. The map is based on the collective observations of explorers and mariners from the 17th century.
Top right image: Ever wonder how genetically similar you were to a chicken? Look no further!
The Circles of Life by Martin Krzywinski (2014) uses circos diagrams to compare the genetic similarities between humans and five other animals (chimpanzee, dog, opossum, platypus and chickens). Not surprisingly, we have far more in common with chimpanzees.
Bottom right image: Florence Nightingale’s ‘coxcomb’ diagram showing mortality in the army during the Crimean war was published in 1858 in her book ‘Mortality of the British Army’.The circle has twelve sections which represent the the first year of the war. Blue shows preventable diseases, red shows deaths caused by wounds and black shows other causes.
Bottom left image: The Epidemic Planet by GLEAMViz team is a great example of epidemic modelling. Epidemic Planet allows you to spread a pandemic across the world. You can set criteria in the context of an epidemic including place of origin, time of year, level of contagiousness and whether or not travel restrictions or vaccination campaigns are in place. The system allows you to set two scenarios and watch them side by side so you can see how different things affect the spread of disease.