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science: beautiful


More than Pretty Pictures—Aesthetics of Data Representation, Denmark, April 13–16, 2015


design + visualization

EMBO Journal 2011 Cover Contest

non-scientific image entry - fiber optics - honourable mention

For the EMBO Journal 2011 Cover Contest, I prepared two entries, one for the scientific category and one for the non-scientific category.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
The non-scientific entry is abstract photo of fiber optics. The scientific entry was an information graphic showing a hive panel of genomic annotations in human, mouse and dog genomes. The hive panel is based on the use of the newly introduced hive plot.

About the EMBO Journal Cover Contest

The EMBO Journal non-scientific cover prize is awarded for the most interesting and beautiful image made outside the lab. Contestants may submit, for example, photos or artistic impressions of wildlife animals, plants or landscapes. Particularly welcome will also be hand or computer-generated paintings or drawings (or photographs of other works of art) related to a biological or molecular biological topic.

The EMBO Journal scientific cover prize is awarded for the most captivating and thought-provoking contribution depicting a piece of molecular biology research. Entries can include light or electron micrographs, 3D reconstructions or models of biological specimen or molecules, spectacular artefacts collected in the lab, original new views of lab equipment (but not of colleagues!), or other research-based images to be of interest to molecular biologists.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Examples of scientific cover image winners from previous years. My Circos image (top left) won the 2010 scientfic image cover category. (see more)

2011 Contest and Image Status

The 2011 winners have been announced. The scientific image winner was Heiti Paves, who submitted a confocal image of an Arabidopsis thaliana anther filled with pollen grains. The non-scientific winner was Dieter Lampl, with his "Blue Ice" photo — a glacier in Los Glaciares National Park in Patagonia.

My non-scientific entry (photo of fiber optics) received honourable mention and was included in the Favourites of the Jury gallery.


non-scientific image entry - fiber Optics

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Four genomes — The illustration, originally part of a poster, shows syntenic relationships between human, chimpanzee, mouse and zebrafish genomes. Curved links encode sequence similarity and outer data tracks represent consensus similarity statistics and orthologous genes. The cover image shows a detail of a visualization prepared with the free genome comparison tool, Circos. (EMBO Journal - Best Scientific Cover - 2010)
Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
My 2011 non-scientific fiber optic entry appears in a gallery of a small selection of images that were shortlisted by the jury of The EMBO Journal Cover Contest 2011. Images were selected with the aim of highlighting the diversity and quality of submissions in both, the scientific and non-scientific categories of the contest. (view gallery)

My non-scientific entry was an abstract image photo of fiber optics. It received honourable mention and were included in the Favourites of the Jury gallery.

The motivation and technical details behind these photos are described here.

The other entry, a scientific image, was an information graphic showing a hive panel of genomic annotations in human, mouse and dog genomes, based on the use of the newly introduced hive plot.

My submission of a large Circos figure for its cover (see right), which was originally designed for a poster that introduced Circos, was awarded the 2010 EMBO Journal best scientific cover prize.

entry details

Some time ago, I did a personal project of photos of fiber optic strands. These worked out well. I had not done anything with these images, and thought they would make a competitive entry into the cover contest.

Fiber optic lamp photos / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
My first attempt at photographing fiber optic lamp strands. These images were bundled into a set called Diving Horror, because of their likeness to creepy tentacles of creatures of the deep. (more images on flickr.)

I revisited the fiber optic lamp with a higher resolution camera (Canon 5D — original images were from a Canon 20D) and a dedicated macro lens (Sigma 150mm f2.8 EX APO DG HSM Macro) (original images were shot with the Canon EF 24-70L).

From these new images, shown below, I created five EMBO Journal cover submissions.

Fiber optic lamp photos / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Second attempt at photographing fiber optic lamp strands. (more images on flickr.)

The submissions would render on the cover as shown below.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Photos of fiber optic lamp strands. (More images on flickr.)

2011 EMBO Journal cover contest — fiber optic lamp submission images

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
2011 EMBO Cover contest submission — macro photograph of fiber optic lamp strands. (More images on flickr.)

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
2011 EMBO Cover contest submission — macro photograph of fiber optic lamp strands. (More images on flickr.)

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
2011 EMBO Cover contest submission — macro photograph of fiber optic lamp strands. (More images on flickr.)

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
2011 EMBO Cover contest submission — macro photograph of fiber optic lamp strands. (More images on flickr.)

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
2011 EMBO Cover contest submission — macro photograph of fiber optic lamp strands. (More images on flickr.)

news + thoughts

Two Factor Designs

Tue 09-12-2014

We've previously written about how to analyze the impact of one variable in our ANOVA column. Complex biological systems are rarely so obliging—multiple experimental factors interact and producing effects.

ANOVA is a natural way to analyze multiple factors. It can incorporate the possibility that the factors interact—the effect of one factor depends on the level of another factor. For example, the potency of a drug may depend on the subject's diet.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Nature Methods Points of Significance column: Two Factor Designs. (read)

We can increase the power of the analysis by allowing for interaction, as well as by blocking.

Krzywinski, M., Altman, (2014) Points of Significance: Two Factor Designs Nature Methods 11:1187-1188.

Background reading

Blainey, P., Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2014) Points of Significance: Replication Nature Methods 11:879-880.

Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2014) Points of Significance: Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and blocking Nature Methods 11:699-700.

Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2014) Points of Significance: Designing Comparative Experiments Nature Methods 11:597-598.

...more about the Points of Significance column

Nested Designs—Assessing Sources of Noise

Mon 29-09-2014

Sources of noise in experiments can be mitigated and assessed by nested designs. This kind of experimental design naturally models replication, which was the topic of last month's column.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Nature Methods Points of Significance column: Nested designs. (read)

Nested designs are appropriate when we want to use the data derived from experimental subjects to make general statements about populations. In this case, the subjects are random factors in the experiment, in contrast to fixed factors, such as we've seen previously.

In ANOVA analysis, random factors provide information about the amount of noise contributed by each factor. This is different from inferences made about fixed factors, which typically deal with a change in mean. Using the F-test, we can determine whether each layer of replication (e.g. animal, tissue, cell) contributes additional variation to the overall measurement.

Krzywinski, M., Altman, N. & Blainey, P. (2014) Points of Significance: Nested designs Nature Methods 11:977-978.

Background reading

Blainey, P., Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2014) Points of Significance: Replication Nature Methods 11:879-880.

Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2014) Points of Significance: Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and blocking Nature Methods 11:699-700.

Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2014) Points of Significance: Designing Comparative Experiments Nature Methods 11:597-598.

...more about the Points of Significance column



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