Public Release: 

2013 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge winners announced

Winning entries will appear in the Feb. 7, 2014 issue of the journal Science

American Association for the Advancement of Science

This news release is available in French, Spanish, Arabic, Japanese and Korean.

Dramatic video that shows the effect of particles and energy from the Sun on Earth's climate and weather is among the first place winners of the annual 2013 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge, sponsored jointly by the journal Science and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF).

"Dynamic Earth" is the title of the film animation project, which "depicts the vast scale of the Sun's influence on the Earth, from the flowing particles of the solar wind and the fury of coronal mass ejections to the winds and currents driven by the solar heating of the atmosphere and ocean," said Horace Mitchell from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, who designed the four-minute video segment with his collaborators. "Moving through these flows gives the viewer a sense of the grandeur in the order and chaos exhibited by these dynamic systems." Visualizers from NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio created the video excerpt for a lengthier planetarium movie, narrated by Liam Neeson. The full-length film is now playing at over 60 planetariums around the world and has an estimated viewership of 500,000.

"The winners made scientific data beautiful and brought their new ideas to life, while at the same time immersing the viewer in science," said Monica M. Bradford, executive editor of the journal Science, which is published by AAAS, the nonprofit international science society. "The award recognizes this remarkable talent for creating thought-provoking videos and visuals."

"Invisible Coral Flows," a photograph that shows the beauty of micro-scale flows produced by reef-building corals, will be featured on the cover of the 7 February 2014 issue of Science. "Corals create these flows by waving minute hairs, or cilia, lining their surface to remove debris and enhance their exchange of nutrients and gases with the surrounding seawater," explained Vicente Fernandez from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The annual competition, which allowed the public to share their favorite work on social media, received 1,983 public votes for the People's Choice awards. One of these award-winning entries, "Wearable Power," describes a product that has power sources built into fabric for clothing. It could be used in the medical, military and sportswear industries. "[It] demonstrates how this technology may eventually be used in everyday life," said Kristy Yost from Drexel University. "We are developing yarns that can be fully knitted and integrated into energy-storing fabrics to power future generations of electronic clothing."

The international competition, currently in its eleventh year, honors recipients who use visual media to convey scientific research and ideas to the general public. Staff committee members from NSF and Science screened the 227 entries from 12 countries, which included 17 U.S. states and Canadian territories. The criteria for judging included visual impact, effective communication, freshness and originality.

Some highlights of the annual challenge, which showcases interactive videos and spectacular visuals, include

Map the Brain: A citizen neuroscience game, called "EyeWire: A Game to Map the Brain," allows players to map the 3D structure of neurons in the brain. "Mapping an entire human connectome is one of the greatest technological challenges of all time," said Sebastian Seung, who is based at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Over 100,000 people from 135 countries joined in its first year," said team member Amy Robinson.

Journey through the Human Gut: The 3D animation by Arkitek Studios, "Immunology of the Gut Mucosa," explores how the human body's immune system responds to bacteria in the gastrointestinal system--how it protects against food-borne pathogens and how it responds to bacterial invasion--from the macro scale down to the subcellular level and looks at how the inner workings of the body achieves its balance.

See the Beauty of Nanoparticles: The People's Choice video, "Spherical Nucleic Acids," is another animation produced by The Seagull Company and Northwestern University that gives the viewer a first-hand look at the properties that mark SNAs as a potential treatment for diseases with a genetic basis. Derived from the research conducted by Dr. Mirkin, the content is an overview of how the properties make them favorable for therapeutic treatments in the field of biomedicine.

Other winning entries include an interactive App that engages students in the STEM fields to solve problems in science; a photo, inspired by Japanese woodwork, that shows the fine structure of leaf hairs; a digitally painted illustration that describes the four-stage cycle of a cold-stunned sea turtle; a digitally printed image on a cotton-fabric quilt with layers of color-coded passwords to illustrate how many people choose identical passwords; a 3D game that explores the depths of the world's oceans; a novel biofilm imaging technique implemented on a hand sculpture to convey the growth of bacteria--at 400 times normal resolution; a tool that allows the user to scroll through time and see the Earth transform from a molten mass to the planet we know today; and more.

A special news feature in the 7 February 2014 issue of Science will present each of the winning entries and will be available to the public without registration. A related slideshow will also be publicly available at,, and the NSF's website at

The 2013 winning entries are included in five categories:


First Place:
Vicente I. Fernandez, Orr H. Shapiro, Melissa S. Garren, Assaf Vardi, and Roman Stocker
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Invisible Coral Flows

Honorable Mention
Stephen Francis Lowry
Steve Lowry Photography
Stellate leaf hairs on Deutzia scabra

People's Choice:
Anna Pyayt and Howard Kaplan
University of South Florida
Polymer Micro-structure Self-assembly


First Place:
Greg Dunn (Greg Dunn Design)
Cortex in Metallic Pastels

Honorable Mention:
Lorrie Faith Cranor
Carnegie Mellon University
Security Blanket

People's Choice:
Lydia-Marie Joubert
Stanford University
Human Hand controlling Bacterial Biofilms


First Place and People's Choice:
Kristy Jost, Babak Anasori, Majid Beidaghi, Genevieve Dion, and Yuri Gogotsi
Drexel University
Wearable Power

Honorable Mention (2-way tie):
Robert I. Saye and James A. Sethian
UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
The Life Cycle of a Bubble Cluster: Insight from Mathematics, Algorithms, and Supercomputers

Katelyn McDonald and Timothy Phelps (Johns Hopkins University); and Jennifer Dittmar (The National Aquarium)
Effects of Cold-stunning on Sea Turtles


First Place:
Amy Robinson, William Silversmith, Matthew Balkam, Mark Richardson, Sebastian Seung, and Jinseop Kim
EyeWire: A Game to Map the Brain

Honorable Mentions (2-way tie):
Mark Nielsen and Satoshi Amagai (Howard Hughes Medical Institute); Michael Clark (EarthBuzz Software, Ltd.); Blake Porch and Dennis Liu (Howard Hughes Medical Institute)

Daniel Rohrlick, Eric Simms, Cheryl Peach, Debi Kilb (Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego); and Charina Cain (Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography)
Deep-sea Extreme Environment Pilot (DEEP)

People's Choice:
Eve Syrkin Wurtele, William Schneller, Paul Klippel, Greg Hanes, Andrew Navratil, and Diane Bassham
Iowa State University
Meta!Blast: The Leaf


First Place:
Greg Shirah and Horace Mitchell (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--SVS); Tom Bridgman (Global Science & Technology, Inc.)
Dynamic Earth visualization excerpt: Coronal Mass Ejection and Ocean/Wind Circulation

Honorable Mentions (3-way tie):
Ben Paylor, Michael Long, Jim Till, David Murawsky, James Wallace, and Lisa Willemse
Stem Cell Network

Doug Huff and Elizabeth Anderson (Arkitek Studios); Zoltan Fehervari (Nature Immunology); and Simon Fenwick (Nature Reviews)
Immunology of the Gut Mucosa

Geoffrey J. Harlow, Shou Li, Albert C. Cruz, Jisheng Chen, and Zhenbiao Yang
University of California, Riverside
Visualizing Leaf Cells from Within

People's Choice:
Quintin Anderson (The Seagull Company); Chad Mirkin and Sarah Petrosko (Northwestern University)
Spherical Nucleic Acids


Further information about the 2013 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge is available at Please contact Tarri Joyner at +1-703-292-7742 (phone) or (email).

Reporters may request copies of the Science feature, which describes the winning entries, from the AAAS Office of Public Programs' Science Press Package team at +1-202-326-6440 (phone) or (email).

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world's largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal, Science as well as Science Translational Medicine and Science Signaling. AAAS was founded in 1848, and includes 261 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of 1 million. The non-profit AAAS is open to all and fulfills its mission to "advance science and serve society" through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, and more. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert!,, the premier science-news Web site, a service of AAAS.

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