Martin Krzywinski / Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre / mkweb.bcgsc.ca Martin Krzywinski / Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre / mkweb.bcgsc.ca - contact me Martin Krzywinski / Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre / mkweb.bcgsc.ca on Twitter Martin Krzywinski / Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre / mkweb.bcgsc.ca - Lumondo Photography Martin Krzywinski / Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre / mkweb.bcgsc.ca - Pi Art Martin Krzywinski / Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre / mkweb.bcgsc.ca - Hilbertonians - Creatures on the Hilbert CurveMartin Krzywinski / Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre / mkweb.bcgsc.ca - Pi Day 2020 - Piku
And she looks like the moon. So close and yet, so far.Future Islandsaim highmore quotes

constellations: worthwhile


Scientific graphical abstracts — design guidelines


visualization + design


`\pi` Day 2021 Art Posters - A forest of Pi (a Lindenmayer system)
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
81 digits of `\pi` as a forest of trees: standard, bat cave and underwater editions. ( BUY ARTWORK )
Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
The 2021 Pi Day art celebrates the digits of `\pi` with a forest! Visit the bat cave and underwater ecosystems for the full experience.

`\pi` Day 2017 Art Posters - Star charts and extinct animals and plants


Pi Day 2017 Art Posters - Star charts and extinct animals and plants
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
2021 `\pi` reminds us that good things grow for those who wait.' edition.

Pi Day 2017 Art Posters - Star charts and extinct animals and plants
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
2019 `\pi` has hundreds of digits, hundreds of languages and a special kids' edition.

Pi Day 2017 Art Posters - Star charts and extinct animals and plants
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
2018 `\pi` day stitches street maps into new destinations.

Pi Day 2017 Art Posters - Star charts and extinct animals and plants
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
2017 `\pi` day imagines the sky in a new way.


Pi Day 2017 Art Posters - Star charts and extinct animals and plants
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
2016 `\pi` approximation day wonders what would happen if about right was right.

Pi Day 2017 Art Posters - Star charts and extinct animals and plants
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
2016 `\pi` day sees digits really fall for each other.

Pi Day 2017 Art Posters - Star charts and extinct animals and plants
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
2015 `\pi` day maps transcendentally.

Pi Day 2017 Art Posters - Star charts and extinct animals and plants
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
2014 `\pi` approx day spirals into roughness.


Pi Day 2017 Art Posters - Star charts and extinct animals and plants
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
2014 `\pi` day hypnotizes you into looking.

Pi Day 2017 Art Posters - Star charts and extinct animals and plants
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
2014 `\pi` day

Pi Day 2017 Art Posters - Star charts and extinct animals and plants
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
2013 `\pi` day is where it started

Pi Day 2017 Art Posters - Star charts and extinct animals and plants
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Circular `\pi` art and other distractions

On March 14th celebrate `\pi` Day. Hug `\pi`—find a way to do it.

For those who favour `\tau=2\pi` will have to postpone celebrations until July 26th. That's what you get for thinking that `\pi` is wrong. I sympathize with this position and have `\tau` day art too!

If you're not into details, you may opt to party on July 22nd, which is `\pi` approximation day (`\pi` ≈ 22/7). It's 20% more accurate that the official `\pi` day!

Finally, if you believe that `\pi = 3`, you should read why `\pi` is not equal to 3.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Most of the art is available for purchase as framed prints and, yes, even pillows. Sleep's never been more important — I take custom requests.

Caelum non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt.
—Horace

This year: creatures that don't exist, but once did, in the skies.

This year's `\pi` day song is Exploration by Karminsky Experience Inc. Why? Because "you never know what you'll find on an exploration".

If you like space, you'll love my the 12,000 billion light-year map of clusters, superclusters and voids. Find the biggest nothings in Boötes and Eridanus.

create myths and contribute!

Want to contribute to the mythology behind the constellations in the `\pi` in the sky? Many already have a story, but others still need one. Please submit your stories!

This year's `\pi` day art goes to space and there finds creatures that once called Earth home.

Well, I don't know if they called it home—at least a few thought it was a terribly inhospitable. All thought it was unforgivingly Darwinian.


Pi Day 2017 Art Posters - Star charts and extinct animals and plants
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
Star chart of the first 12,000,000 digits of `\pi`. The 80 constellations honor extinct animals and plants. Azimuthal equidistant projection. ( BUY ARTWORK )

the digits of `\pi` as a star catalogue

I asked the question: what happens if you interpret the digits of `\pi` as a catalogue of stars? What would the patterns in the sky look like? And, would they have stories? A couple of weeks later—and a few adventures down the rabbit holes of topographical projections—I found the answer.

The digits of Pi are interpreted as a star catalogue. Starting from the beginning of `\pi`, each block of 12 digits is taken to be the `(x, y, z)` coordinates of a star and its absolute magnitude, which defines its brightness at a fixed distance. After sampling 12 million digits, which yields 1,000,000 stars, the stars are projected onto the celestial sphere to generate longitude and latitude coordinates from the perspective of an observer who is placed at center of the stars. The distance to the star is used to calculate the apparent magnitude—how bright it will appear on the sky chart.


Pi Day 2017 Art Posters - Star charts and extinct animals and plants
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
Star chart of the first 12,000,000 digits of `\pi`. The 80 constellations honor extinct animals and plants. Plate carrée projection. ( BUY ARTWORK )

Pi Day 2017 Art Posters - Star charts and extinct animals and plants
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
Star chart of the first 12,000,000 digits of `\pi`. The 80 constellations honor extinct animals and plants. Hammer/Aitoff elliptical projection. ( BUY ARTWORK )

Of course, a star chart would not be complete without constellations. While the digits of `\pi` are taken to be a universal catalog of stars, it is up to the observer to subjectively interpret the patterns and find stories in the sky. Among the 40,000 stars drawn in the chart, 80 extinct species are honored as constellations—creatures range across time periods and geographical location and play together in the sky. And much like the constellations that you might have seen in the real sky (the hunter Orion and winged-horse Pegasus) the `\pi` in the sky patterns represent creatures that do not exist.

The twist? They all once did!

chart variations

Charts are available in blue, black and white and sepia.


Pi Day 2017 Art Posters - Star charts and extinct animals and plants
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
Star chart of the first 12,000,000 digits of `\pi`. The 80 constellations honor extinct animals and plants. Azimuthal equidistant projection. ( BUY ARTWORK )

Pi Day 2017 Art Posters - Star charts and extinct animals and plants
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
Star chart of the first 12,000,000 digits of `\pi`. The 80 constellations honor extinct animals and plants. Azimuthal equidistant projection. ( BUY ARTWORK )

stories in the sky

There are indeed stories in the sky and many of them haven't yet been told. Below are just some of them.

More stories are available in the details about each constellation. There, for each animal you can find the common name, Latin name, when it was extinct and a link to Wikipedia to learn more about the animal. Many have stories which they would love to share with you.

raphus — egg guardian extraordinaire

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Raphus and Pecatonica

The Dodo bird (Raphus cucullatus) is vigilantly guarding his eggs—the clusters of stars just north of &alpha Raphus (the first brightest star in the constellation) and south of β Raphus (the second brightest star). He hardly seems to care about the pestering River Mayfly (Acanthometropus pecatonica), who is trying to draw his attention.

desmodus — nightly escape attempt

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Desmodus

Desmodus, the giant vampire bat (Desmodus draculae) is said to be trying to escape the dome of the sky each night. You might see his shape fluttering up into the top of the northern hemisphere.

basilosaurus — chasing the light in the deep

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Basilosaurus

The king lizard Basilosaurus (Basilosaurus cetoides) dives deeper and deeper at the bottom of the south hemisphere, as he chases the light of the bright magnitude 1.8 star α Basilosaurus, which sits at the very bottom of the chart.

quagga and aurochs — figuring out the stripes

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Quagga and Aurochs

There is plenty of land mass in teh north, where huge creatures like the mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius), sturdy aurochs (Bos primigenius) and the comical Quagga (Equus quagga quagga) run again. The Quagga cannot figure out his stripes and is seen frequently talking to the Aurochs, seeking his advice about the predicament of his patterns.

megalodon, rodhocetus and tecopa — the terror and the terrorized

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Megalodon, Rodhocetus and Tecopa

At the tip of the southern hemisphere drama unfolds as the monster shark Megalodon (Carcharodon megalodon) gives chase to the Tecopa pupfish (Cyprinodon nevadensis calidae) and Rodhocetus (Rodhocetus kasrani). Rodhocetus was an early whale that possessed land mammal characteristics and the story goes that he escaped Megalodon and lived out his life on the land, never returning to the sea.

camptor, mariana, alaotra and tadorna — I'm not a duck!

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Camptor, Mariana, Alaotra and Tadorna

The south hemisphere also has plenty of calmer waters, where all manners of floating birds come for a swim and chat. These are represented by the triangular constellations of Camptor (Camptorhynchus labradorius, the Labrador duck), Alaotra grebe (Tachybaptus rufolavatus), Mariana mallard (Anas oustaleti) and the Korean crested shelduck (Tadorna cristata). Rumor has it Tadorna may have snuck into the sky without permission—while not seen since the 1960’s, some say the duck isn't actually extinct! Alaotra is frustrated that Tadorna seems to get all the attention. Often confused for a duck, Alaotra would love you to know that she's in fact a grebe. She's very proud of this fact, despite of being prone to falls due to some biomechanical issues having to do with foot placement.

yersinia — don't come close

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Yersinia

Don't let Yersinia's small size fool you. The Black Death (Yersinia pestis) may be the smallest creature in the sky, but she'll liquify your insides before you can memorize the 80 constellations. Perhaps out of all the creatures in the sky, this is the one we're happy to see go. But, because it's small, you can never be quite sure Yersinia isn't extinct but merely hiding. Or waiting.

pipilo — flocking across

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Pipilo

Pipilo is a rare flocking constellation and breaks the rule that a constellation should be a single connected component. Its stars are connected a loose pattern of pairs and show a flock of Bermuda towhees (Pipilo naufragus) crossing from the north to south hemispheres.

o'ahu 'akepa — two is such a lonely number

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
O'ahu 'akepa

Like Pipilo, the O'ahu 'akepa (Loxops wolstenholmei) is the only other multi-part constellation. Here, a pair of akepas are chatting and spreading rumors that Tadorna isn't actually extinct.

bron and compsognathus — big brothers and little friends

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Bron and Compsognathus

It's hard to be bigger than Bron (Brontosaurus excelsus), who must pay great attention not to step on his frolicking friend Compsognathus (Compsognathus longipes), who seeks to find protection in Bron's shadow. Some believe that if Bron stretches his neck, he can look above the sky!

pinta and cylindraspis — a friend for the end of the earth

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Pinta and Cylindraspis

Ever since Cylindraspis (Cylindraspis indica) heard that Pinta (Chelonoidis abingdonii) was the last of his kind, he decided to keep him company. They can be seen going for a very slow walk at the bottom of the sky, kept their by their heavy shells. The last Pinta—a turtle named Lonesome George—died in 2012.

xerces and Palaeoaldrovanda — flying flowers and hungry flowers

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Xerces and Palaeoaldrovanda

Xerces (Glaucopsyche xerces) is the only thing that is more brilliant than the blue sky itself. Some say that butterflies are flying flowers and Xerces is never seen far from Palaeoaldrovanda. He must be careful though. Rumor has it Palaeoaldrovanda was related to the carnivorous plant genus Aldrovanda! Nobody wants to take that chance.

araucaria — shelter for flying customers

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Araucaria

Xerces (Glaucopsyche xerces) is the only thing that is more brilliant than the blue sky itself. Some say that butterflies are flying flowers and Xerces is never seen far from Palaeoaldrovanda. He must be careful though. Rumor has it Palaeoaldrovanda was related to the carnivorous plant genus Aldrovanda! Nobody wants to take that chance.

araucaria — too large for the sky

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Araucaria

Araucaria (Araucaria mirabilis) is truly a marvel and it is too big to fit in the sky! The constellation only shows the canopy and does not include the tree trunk—which was known to reach a height of 100 m. Araucaria offers plenty of protection and has many flying friends all around, including Urania, Moho and WhĒkau. Just a little further are the ducks (and a grebe), Camptor, Mariana, Tadorna and Alaotra. They would love to visit Araucaria but worry that they are too heavy to perch on her branches.

ardea and aepyronis — who can see beyond the sky first?

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Ardea and Aepyronis

The story goes that Camelops (Camelops kansansus) played a joke on Ardea (Ardea bennuides) and Aepyronis (Aepyornis maximus). He said "You both have long necks. But who has the longest? The first who can stretch far enough and tell me what is beyond the sky wins." To this day, Both Ardea and Aepyronis are seen straining their necks trying to win the bet.

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news + thoughts

Happy 2021 `\pi` Day—
A forest of digits

Sun 14-03-2021

Celebrate `\pi` Day (March 14th) and finally see the digits through the forest.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
The 26th tree in the digit forest of `\pi`. Why is there a flower on the ground?. (details)

This year is full of botanical whimsy. A Lindenmayer system forest – deterministic but always changing. Feel free to stop and pick the flowers from the ground.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
The first 46 digits of `\pi` in 8 trees. There are so many more. (details)

And things can get crazy in the forest.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
A forest of the digits of '\pi`, by ecosystem. (details)

Check out art from previous years: 2013 `\pi` Day and 2014 `\pi` Day, 2015 `\pi` Day, 2016 `\pi` Day, 2017 `\pi` Day, 2018 `\pi` Day and 2019 `\pi` Day.

Testing for rare conditions

Tue 16-03-2021

All that glitters is not gold. —W. Shakespeare

The sensitivity and specificity of a test do not necessarily correspond to its error rate. This becomes critically important when testing for a rare condition — a test with 99% sensitivity and specificity has an even chance of being wrong when the condition prevalence is 1%.

We discuss the positive predictive value (PPV) and how practices such as screen can increase it.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Nature Methods Points of Significance column: Testing for rare conditions. (read)

Altman, N. & Krzywinski, M. (2021) Points of significance: Testing for rare conditions. Nature Methods 18

Standardization fallacy

Tue 09-02-2021

We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty! —D. Adams

A popular notion about experiments is that it's good to keep variability in subjects low to limit the influence of confounding factors. This is called standardization.

Unfortunately, although standardization increases power, it can induce unrealistically low variability and lead to results that do not generalize to the population of interest. And, in fact, may be irreproducible.

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

Not paying attention to these details and thinking (or hoping) that standardization is always good is the "standardization fallacy". In this column, we look at how standardization can be balanced with heterogenization to avoid this thorny issue.

Voelkl, B., Würbel, H., Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2021) Points of significance: Standardization fallacy. Nature Methods 18:5–6.

Graphical Abstract Design Guidelines

Fri 13-11-2020

Clear, concise, legible and compelling.

Making a scientific graphical abstract? Refer to my practical design guidelines and redesign examples to improve organization, design and clarity of your graphical abstracts.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Graphical Abstract Design Guidelines — Clear, concise, legible and compelling.

"This data might give you a migrane"

Tue 06-10-2020

An in-depth look at my process of reacting to a bad figure — how I design a poster and tell data stories.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
A poster of high BMI and obesity prevalence for 185 countries.

He said, he said — a word analysis of the 2020 Presidential Debates

Thu 01-10-2020

Building on the method I used to analyze the 2008, 2012 and 2016 U.S. Presidential and Vice Presidential debates, I explore word usagein the 2020 Debates between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Analysis of word usage by parts of speech for Trump and Biden reveals insight into each candidate.