The Best Science Visualizations of the Year

Browse through the winning images that turn scientific exploration into art

To go backward in time, start at the far right side of this Cosmic Web poster, which represents the universe as it is today, scattered with galaxies. As you move to the left, you see earlier stages of the universe in which dark matter—a mysterious substance astronomers can detect only indirectly—was structured as webs and filaments. Before that, closer to the Big Bang, dark matter was dominated by tides and voids. (Image courtesy of Miguel Angel Aragon Calvo, Julieta Aguilera, Mark Subbarao)

Antibodies to the Rescue

green antibodies attack a tentacled breast cancer cell
(Image courtesy of Emiko Paul, Echo Medical Media)

The annual International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge, presented by Science magazine and the National Science Foundation, shows off scientists' artistic side. What makes the winners stand out, says judge Corinne Sandone of Johns Hopkins University, “is the initial visual impact” followed by “a certain depth of information . . . the quality of the image and the aesthetic decisions.”

In one of the more sci-fi of this year's illustrations, green antibodies attack a tentacled breast cancer cell.


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