I’m a big fan of innovative visualization … sometimes it can the difference between seeing something meaningful in data, or just seeing noise. I was initially disappointed at the large number of finalists that are purely ‘educational’ in nature, rather than providing novel representations of ‘raw’ data. But, the National Science Foundation site explains it: “The spirit of the competition is for communicating science, engineering and technology for education and journalistic purposes.“. It’s important to have these types of events pitched so that the ‘general public’ (i.e. non-scientists, or scientists of vastly different fields) can get something out of it .. after all, they are often indirectly providing the funds for a lot of the research, and in some cases a cool image is all they get for their tax dollars. Nonetheless, I’d like to see a competition dedicated to innovative visualization of new experimental or statistical results, with no opening for purely ‘textbook’ style educational compositions (I bet there’s one or two out there … comments anyone ?).
Also, congratulations goes to one of the (tied) 1st place winners in the non-interactive multimedia section, Drew Berry and François Tétaz at The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) and Jeremy Pickett-Heaps at the University of Melbourne. It’s nice to see some local Aussies getting some recognition.