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Relationships among Scientific Paradigms

A visualization of science that was generated by clustering citation-based papers

Here’s a description by the developers:

As to what the image depicts, it was constructed by sorting roughly 800,000 scientific papers into 776 different scientific paradigms (shown as red and blue circular nodes) based on how often the papers were cited together by authors of other papers. Links (curved lines) were made between the paradigms that shared common members, then treated as rubber bands, holding similar paradigms closer to one another when a physical simulation forced them all apart: thus the layout derives directly from the data. Larger paradigms have more papers. Labels list common words unique to each paradigm.

you can see it at 13,566,672 pixels here


One Hundred Years of National Geographic Maps

National Geographic’s cartographic department turns 100 this year. Over the last century, we’re told, they’ve “produced 438 supplement maps, ten world atlases, dozens of globes, about 3,000 maps for the magazine, and many maps in digital form.” These include political maps of the world’s borders, geological maps of land and sea, migratory maps of the world’s animals, space maps of planets, solar systems and galaxies, and on it goes.

Last year, during the 50th anniversary publication of National Geographic’s original Atlas of the World, the Society and Google integrated about 500 maps into relevant Google basemaps. Those can be found here.

Mapping, no doubt, is difficult business. It needs to take into account the emergence of new countries, the dissolution of others, geographical changes and updates, and an ever changing lexicon of place names.

For example:

Most changes in toponymy… are due to changes in how we convert, or “romanize,” names from non-Latin alphabets, such as Greek, Georgian, and Amharic, into words written in Latin characters. In China alone, thousands of place names receive different treatment than they did before the Wade-Giles romanization system was replaced by Hanyu Pinyin in the late 1970s. Thus, the Chinese cities formerly spelled Ch’ingtao and Peking now appear as Qingdao and Beijing.

For typography nerds, here’s a bit on the evolution of type throughout National Geographic’s history. Until the 1930s the maps were hand-lettered.

Want more maps? See here.

Images: Map of the Milky Way (top), trash in the world’s oceans (middle left), human migratory patterns (middle right) and a map of the Atlantic Ocean floor. Select to embiggen.

Alcian and alizarin chameleon

Credit: Elizabeth Marchiondo and Andrew Gillis

Photographer Elizabeth Marchiondo doesn’t often have the opportunity to handle organisms as delicate as this chameleon. “I’m used to photographing live aquarium scum through a microscope,” she says. So Marchiondo was delighted when zoologist Andrew Gillis donated the deceased creature to the lab where she was a microscopy intern. Gillis had prepped the chameleon by dipping it in chemicals that rendered its skin and muscles transparent, then stained its bones and joints with dyes. Marchiondo focused her digital camera on different planes of the chameleon’s body and stitched together 32 images to create this single, crisp picture.

The image was a People’s Choice winner in the 2015 Vizzies competition.

NSF and Popular Science last week announced 2015 Vizzies winners. The Vizzies recognize the finest illustrations, photographs, videos, graphics and apps, whether produced by academic researchers, artists or hobbyists.