The winners of the inaugural Data Stories Competition, which highlights some of the most creative and fascinating scientific data visualizations of the past year, have just been announced.
Sponsored by the Advancement of Science (AAAS), entries ranged from planetary science and oceanography to neuroscience and climate change. Three expert judges evaluated the submissions based on three key features: creativity, complexity and clarity. Here are the winning entries:
And you thought you didn’t care. It’s actually a much more complicated question than it sounds. R.J. Andrews from Info We Trust breaks it down for you:
Mars’ atmosphere ain’t what it used to be. This visualization by Daniel Gallagher from NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio explains why:
This visualization was also the People’s Choice winner.
Ulf Aslak Jensen, a masters student at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), put together this fascinating visualization showing how people mingle, interact, and generally go about their social lives.
Here are our favorite entries from the remaining list of candidates:
This sweet visualization by Tom Bridgman from NASA Goddard Multimedia depicts the sun’s numerous data signatures as single pie chart.
As NASA writes:
When we observe the sun with multi-wavelength imagers such as the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), we are often challenged with understanding how the different wavelengths reveal different phenomena in the solar atmosphere. By assembling these ‘pie slices’ from the different wavelength filters, and moving them around the solar disk, it is easier to see the similarities and differences in how the solar plasma responds in the fields of the solar environment.
This submission by Kim Albrecht from the Center for Complex Network Research takes something that’s completely incomprehensible—the cosmic web that binds galaxies together—and presents it in a way that’s wholly understandable. Sort of:
The University of California, San Francisco’s Roger Anguera created this gorgeous visualization showing how brain signals travel through and around the brain. Each color represents source power and connectivity in a different frequency band, i.e. theta, alpha, beta, and gamma waves:
Using the latest research into gun violence, Gabriel Reilich from GOOD breaks down the growing problem in an engaging and provocative way:
Here’s what the current climate change anomaly would look like if it were a roller coaster, courtesy of NOAA’s Emily Greenhalgh:
The United States hasn’t experienced a landfall Category 3 hurricane or larger since 2005. Is that weird? Joy Ng from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center explains:
Here’s what all those floating patches of garbage in our oceans are actually doing. This sobering video was produced by NASA’s Data Visualization Studios:
This video by Alex Kekesi of GST, Inc tracks a surprisingly long-lived and benign tropical storm as it makes it’s way around the Pacific:
This stunning visualization by NASA’s Kel Elkins depicts dust from the Sahara Desert travelling across the Atlantic Ocean to the Amazon Basin:
On August 21, 2017—and for the first time in 40 years—the path of the moon’s shadow will pass through the continental United States. This NASA video shows what will go down on that highly anticipated day:
George Alger from the Center for International Forestry Research created a beautiful and informative video explaining why forests are a critical aspect of human well-being:
Where’d it all go? This NASA timelapse shows how ancient Arctic ice has declined in recent years:
Ocean currents are invisible to the naked eye, but this simulation by Los Alamos National Laboratory shows their intricate global reach:
More visualizations here.