List of Physical Visualizations
and Related Artifacts
Category uncertain or disputed

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 […]

Added by Fanny Chevalier. Category: Uncertain / disputed. Tags: , ,
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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, […]

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1866 – Dewar’s Brass Strip Models

Mechanical arrangement adapted to illustrate structure in the non-saturated hydrocarbons by the chemist James 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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

Added by Jean Vanderdonckt. Category: Uncertain / disputed. Tags: , , , ,
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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 […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Jon Hill. Category: Uncertain / disputed. Tags:
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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 […]

Added by Paulie D. Category: Uncertain / disputed. Tags: , , ,
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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 […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Uncertain / disputed. Tags: ,
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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 / disputed. Tags: , , ,
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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 / disputed. Tags:
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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 […]

Added by Karine Charbonneau. Category: Uncertain / disputed. Tags: , ,
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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 […]

Added by Jonathan Helfman & Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Uncertain / disputed. Tags: , , ,
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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 […]

Added by Jean Vanderdonckt. Category: Uncertain / disputed. Tags:
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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 […]

Added by Karine Charbonneau. Category: Uncertain / disputed. Tags: , , ,
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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 […]

Added by Karine Charbonneau. Category: Uncertain / disputed. Tags: , , ,
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