List of Physical Visualizations
and Related Artifacts
Uncertain

1862 – De Chancourtois' Telluric Screw

The French geologist Alexandre-Émile Béguyer de Chancourtois was the first scientist to see the periodicity of elements when they were arranged in order of their atomic weights. Credited with being the original discoverer of the periodicity of elements and the originator of the three-dimensional method of element arrangement and representation. He drew the elements as a continuous spiral around a metal cylinder divided into 16 parts. The atomic weight of oxygen was taken as 16 and was used […]

Added by: Fanny Chevalier. Category: Uncertain  Tags: chemistry, periodic table, telluric screw


1865 – Hofmann's Croquet Ball Models

August Wilhelm Hofmann was the first to introduce physical representations of molecules into lectures during his Friday Evening Discourses presentation "On the Combining Power of Atoms" at London's Royal Institution of Great Britain in . He introduced a colored set of four croquet balls to represent atoms (hydrogen, oxygen, chlorine and nitrogen), implanted with a fixed number of sticks corresponding to each atom's valence. Thus we distinguish the chlorine atom as univalent, the atom of […]

Added by: Fanny Chevalier. Category: Uncertain  Tags: chemistry, education, molecules, pragmatic, science


1866 – Dewar's Brass Strip Models

Mechanical arrangement adapted to illustrate structure in the non-saturated hydrocarbons by the chemistJames Dewar. The model is made of bars, clamped together so as to allow free motion. In order to make the combination look like an atom, a thin round disc of blackened brass can be placed under the central nut. At the ends of the arms are holes to connect one carbon atom with another by means of a nut. The structure at the bottom right of his figure is now called "Dewar benzene". I bring […]

Added by: Fanny Chevalier. Category: Uncertain  Tags: chemistry, discovery, molecules, science


1875 – Van't Hoff's Molecular Paper Models

Van’t Hoff disseminated his stereochemical ideas to leading chemists of the day by sending them 3-D paper models of tetrahedral molecules, like these now housed in the Leiden Museum. There might be some difficulty in following my reasoning. I felt this myself, and I have made use of cardboard figures to facilitate the representation. Not wanting to require too much of the reader I will gladly send him the complete collection of all these objects Sources: Van der Spek, Trienke M. […]

Added by: Fanny Chevalier. Category: Uncertain  Tags: chemistry, paper, science, tetrahedral molecules


1880 – Winogradsky Columns

The Winogradsky column, invented by Sergei Winogradsky, consists in a transparent cylinder for analyzing microbial life by observing how the metabolism of micro-organisms evolve over time in stratified layers. By producing a small closed ecosystem, the column enables observing how bacteria can survive by providing a temporal and spatial visualization of layers such as in ecology, microbiology. Sources: The Microbiome of Your Gut Winogradsky Column—Microbial Evolution in a Bottle S. […]

Added by: Jean Vanderdonckt. Category: Uncertain  Tags: 3D, biology, cylinder, indexical, layers, science


1951 – Microtiter Plates

A microtiter plate is an array of chemical test tubes called "wells", invented in 1951 by a Hungarian medical doctor. They are used in a variety of experimental designs, most typically biochemistry assays. The picture above is an example of a colorimetric assay result. Most of the time, they are not directly interpreted visually, as in this example, but are instead put into a plate reader that measure light transmission in each well and converts it to a numerical result. See an example […]

Added by: Pierre Dragicevic, sent by: Jon Hill. Category: Uncertain  Tags: indexical, microtiter, physical computation, science


1953 – Watson and Crick's 3D Model of DNA

In 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick suggested what is now accepted as the first correct double-helix model of DNA structure in the journal Nature. Their double-helix, molecular model of DNA was then based on a single X-ray diffraction image taken by Rosalind Franklin and Raymond Gosling in May 1952, as well as the information that the DNA bases are paired. Experimental evidence supporting the Watson and Crick model was published in a series of five articles in the same issue of Nature. […]

Added by: Paulie D. Category: Uncertain  Tags: chemistry, dna, nobel, science


1997 – Level: Hans Hemmert's Same-Height Shoes

“Level” (1997), Styrodur/rubber/Velcro/measuring device, 50 pairs of platform shoes with heights of 5-43 cm, installation view at Galerie Gebauer Berlin, © Hans Hemmert and VG Bild Kunst. Guests to this installation picked out shoes that brought them all to the height of two meters. The blue height of the shoes served as a physicalization of the height disparities around the room. Sources: Hans Hemmert (1997) Personal Absurdities, Galerie Gebauer Berlin 1997. Interview With Hans […]

Added by: Nick Marotta. Category: Uncertain  Tags: art, height, measurement, shoes


2000 – Kanban Boards

A Kanban board is a task management tool where sticky notes representing work items are moved across a board to reflect their state of advancement. The simplest form has three states: to do, in progress, and done (left image). A Kanban board provides a visual overview over all work items that makes it possible to rapidly spot time management issues, such as too many items in progress. Although software versions exist, many people prefer Kanban boards to be physical. Several recent blog […]

Added by: Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Uncertain  Tags: manual update, task management


2003 – Pattern Recognition in a Bucket

Chrisantha Fernando and Sampsa Sojakka from the University of Sussex published a paper where they demonstrate that a bucket of water can carry out complex, parallel computations, and can even do simple speech recognition. Their setup called "liquid brain" consists in a transparent water tank suspended over an overhead projector and four LEGO motors. Input values are sent to the motors which vibrate the water. A camera then reads the watter ripples and sends the data to a simple perceptron. […]



2004 – Synaptic Caguamas: Visualize Cellular Automata

Synaptic Caguamas is a kinetic sculpture consisting of a motorized Mexican "cantina" bar table with 30 "Caguama"-sized beer bottles (1-litre each). The bottles spin on the table with patterns generated by cellular automata algorithms that simulate the neuronal connections in the brain. Every few minutes the bottles are reset automatically and seeded with new initial conditions for the algorithm, so that the movement patterns are never repeated. This kinetic sculpture is a primitive and […]

Added by: Karine Charbonneau. Category: Uncertain  Tags: beer, cellular automata, kinetic sculpture


2005 – Molecular Jewellery

Raven Hanna got her PhD in biochemistry in 2000, and five years later, she became an artist and started to create jewelry based on molecular structures in order to communicate science through art. Image above: endorphine necklace. Sources: Raven Hanna www.madewithmolecules.com (see 2005 version) Leigh Krietsch Boerner (2010) Profile: Molecular Jewelry Design

Added by: Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Uncertain  Tags: chemistry, data jewellery, Jewelry, molecules


2012 – Slime Mold Imitates the United States Interstate System

Can a slime mold solve the traveling salesman problem without a digital computer? From the article's abstract: The plasmodium phase of Physarum polycephalum is a champion amongst living creatures used in laboratory prototypes of future and emergent computing architectures. A wide range of problems from computational geometry and logic can be solved by this cellular slime mold. A typical way to perform a computation with the slime mold is to represent a problem’s data as a spatial […]

Added by: Jonathan Helfman & Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Uncertain  Tags: cartographic, indexical, mold, physical computation, traveling salesman


2012 – Pulse Drip: Visualize Heartbeats with a Water Hose

Pulse Drip Interactive installation originally developed for Urdaibai Art 2012 in which the public can water the lawn at the Torre de Madariaga using a water hose with a heart rate sensor built-in. To participate, visitors take the hose wherever they want to water: by putting their index finger on a tiny sensor on the spray head, his or her pulse is detected and an automated electromechanical valve controls the water flow to match the beat of the participant's heart. The spray head is a […]

Added by: Karine Charbonneau. Category: Uncertain  Tags: biometrics, Pulse, water


2012 – All Possible Photons: Steel Feynman Diagrams

These are stainless steel sculptures of Feynman diagrams created by Edward Tufte. They are currently (opening Sep 12, 2012) exhibited at Edward Tufte's gallery in Chelsea. Source: Edward Tufte. All possible photons - The conceptual and cognitive art of feynman diagrams.

Added by: Yvonne Jansen. Category: Uncertain  Tags: science


2013 – State Of The Union

In this project, data related to the condition of American citizens is mapped to the number of stars, size of the bars, and size of the blue square on the American flag. The flag is presented as a dynamic entity that evolves over time: State of the Union takes a set of metrics and visually transforms elements on the flag to represent their current state1. Over years or decades, citizens would be able to perceive shifts in the country as we get wealthier, healthier and live better lives—or […]

Added by: Marta PCampos. Category: Uncertain  Tags: american, flag


2013 – 3D Spherical Visualization with Aural Sonification

Evan Atherton created a LED-based 3D ball rendering visual effects from sound while diffusing the music through small cones of the device. This has been produced with a high-resolution 3D printer. LumiGeek developed an application to control the device, such as for playing music. Independently of that usage, the device could be envisioned to produce 3D spherical visualisation, a promising area according to the references below, both mathematically and interactively. Sources: Michael […]

Added by: Jean Vanderdonckt. Category: Uncertain  Tags: spherical visualization


2014 – WeatherWindow

WeatherWindow – wall art that shows weather forecasts in a simple, ambient, and unobtrusive way. This old, wooden window is a decorative piece when it's off. Turn it on, and it becomes alive and connected to the Internet. Suddenly, this 8-paned window communicates to the world, fetches weather predictions, and lights up each pane with soothing colors communicating the weather outlook. Source: Tim Dye (2014) WeatherWindow – An IOT Art Piece.

Added by: Tim Dye. Category: Uncertain  Tags: ambient, arduino, Forecast, LEDs, weather, window


2014 – Pan-Anthem: Visualize Statistics Using National Anthems

"Pan-Anthem" is an interactive sound installation where the national anthem of every country in the World plays back on a movable speaker that is magnetically attached to a large wall. The speakers are precisely arranged to visualize national statistics: population, GDP, area, number of women in parliament, GINI, year of independence, HDI and so on. For example, when the work is configured to show military spending per capita, on the far left of the wall the public can hear the anthems of […]

Added by: Karine Charbonneau. Category: Uncertain  Tags: Anthems, loudspeakers, national statistics, sonification


2014 – Sphere Packing: Visualize Composers' Total Musical Production

"Sphere Packing" is a series of 3D-printed spheres designed to concentrate the entire musical production of a composer in a single dense multi-channel device. The size of each sphere is directly proportional to how prolific the composer was, for example the sphere for Johann Sebastian Bach has 48 cm diameter and holds 1100 loudspeakers playing simultaneously Bach's 1100 different compositions, while the sphere for Hildegaard Von Bingen only has 11 cm diameter and 69 loudspeakers. The […]

Added by: Karine Charbonneau. Category: Uncertain  Tags: 3D print, composers, music, parametric


2016 – Walkable Collaboration Network

Designer Dario Rodighiero created a large (15x15m) walkable visualization showing scientific relationships between researchers and laboratories at the ENAC school of EPFL in Switzerland. The visualization was printed on tarpaulin, a heavy covering employed for trucks. Two years before, Dario created a coauthorship network visualization for the Digital Humanities 2014 conference. He initially considered showing a large poster, but since sticking posters was not allowed at the conference […]

Added by: Pierre Dragicevic, sent by: Benjamin Bach. Category: Uncertain  Tags: collaboration, network, walkable


2017 – Popsicles of Pollution

Students from New Taipei City collected samples from urban rivers, creeks and ports which they then froze in moulds and preserved in resin. ‘We hope when more people see this they can change their lifestyles,’ said one of the group. Source: Elle Hunt (2017) Popsicles of pollution: ice lollies highlight Taiwan's contaminated waterways.

Added by: Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Uncertain  Tags: food, indexical, pollution, water


2017 – Street Debaters

Japanese designer Tomo Kihara invented a polling device that is both entertaining and profitable. Source: Tomo Kihara (2017) Street Debaters.

Added by: Pierre Dragicevic, sent by: Ryo Suzuki. Category: Uncertain  Tags: coins, homeless, participatory, polling


2020 – I am a Book. I am a Portal to the Universe.

All-ages book by Stefanie Posavec and Miriam Quick. Each of the book's dimensions – from its height, weight and volume to the loudness of the sound made when it is slammed shut – embodies a fact or measurement about the universe on a 1:1 scale. Hello. I am a book. But I’m also a portal to the universe. I have 112 pages, measuring 20cm high and wide. I weigh 450g. And I have the power to show you the wonders of the world. I'm different to any other book around today. I am not a book of […]

Added by: Miriam Quick. Category: Uncertain  Tags: book, design, print, typography