Circle of Life
The genome of Gloeobacter violaceus, drawn as a gorgeous circular plot by visionary biological data artist Martin Krzywinski (from this paper). Within its concentric layers of information are buried genome composition, relation to other species, and overall genetic structure. It’s also very pretty.
Gloeobacter is an ancient photosynthetic bacterium that branched off the rest of the photosynthetic tree (including cyanobacteria and, later, plants) and has its own strange way of eating sunlight.
Krzywinski’s informative and beautiful data visualizations are featured at Wired Science, check ‘em out: Circle of Life: The Beautiful New Way to Visualize Biological Data
Helen Friel - “Here’s Looking at Euclid” (paper sculptures of mathematician Oliver Byrne’s illustrations of Euclid’s Elements, 2012)
Byrne’s illustrated Euclid is one of my favorite vintage science reads (you can leaf through it online for free!) and the fact that the Mondrain-esque artwork has been made into paper sculptures makes me happier than I can verbalize.
If you delight in all nature’s forms most beautiful, you’d be well served to follow artist Michelle Anderst.
This is from her series symbolizing decomposition, and the inter-species, cross-domain symbioses that recycle all of life’s sculpture and ornament back to the palette of organic materials, ready to paint life anew.
The rest of her collection is just as fantastic, from floral anatomy to astronomical terrariums. I love.
Solar System Print (60x80 cm)
You know, no matter how many minimalist prints you draw up and post to Tumblr … PLUTO IS NOT COMING BACK TO PLANETHOOD.
Despite that, I love the style on this one. Scale’s a little off, though:
If you want to learn more about the scale of the solar system, I’ve got a video for that.
Scientifically Accurate Gifts
A quick note since gift-giving season is right around the corner! The folks at Cognitive Surplus sent me over a box full of science-themed home goodies to check out. A Fibonacci t-shirt, soap that describes its own chemistry, DNA wine glasses, science/art cards … this is some really cool stuff! If you’re looking something a little out of the ordinary that might engage your giftee’s higher brain functions, this fits the bill.
I like the vintage flair to it, too. You didn’t ask, but some friends of ours are having a baby, and I have my eye on this little mitosis-themed outfit. Of course, I know that “smart” sodium chloride tastes the same as regular sodium chloride, but there’s something wonderful about filling your home with beautiful bits of science. Who knows, maybe when you win that Nobel prize, you’ll look back and say “It started with the soap.”
Thanks to Cognitive Surplus for sending this stuff over! I really like their philosophy: Home goods can be intelligent and well-designed at the same time.
*Carl Sagan not available for purchase. That one’s mine.
I want to know what else you’ve got your eye on! Leave me a comment or reply below: What little-known, cool science gift ideas are you thinking about this year?