Science and engineering visualization challenge: NSF and Science say, “Don’t tell me, show me”

Rough Waters, a nano-level photograph from the Argonne National Lab and University of ChicagoThe National Science Foundation and Science magazine have a message for you: Words alone aren’t enough any more.  If you want to reach people in our science-challenged society, you need images — still or moving, photos or illustrations … something more than just words.

That’s the point of the annual NSF/Science International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge.  Winners will be featured on the NSF website and in one of the February 2012 issues of Science.  One will be featured on the cover. (The nano-level photo above is one of the 2010 winners, Rough Waters, from the Argonne National Lab and University of Chicago.)  The rationale:

“How many people would have heard of fractal geometry or the double helix or solar flares if they had been described solely in words? In a world where science literacy is dismayingly rare, illustrations provide the most immediate and influential connection between scientists and other citizens, and the best hope for nurturing popular interest. Indeed, they are now a necessity for public understanding of research developments. … The spirit of the competition is for communicating science, engineering and technology for education and journalistic purposes.”

There are five categories: Photography, Illustrations, Informational Posters and Graphics, Interactive Games, and Videos.  The deadline is September 30.  For details and previous winning entries, click here for the website.


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