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
This love's a nameless dream.Cocteau Twinstry to figure it outmore quotes

numbers: 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 2020 Art — Digits, poetically.


Pi Day 2020 Art - Digits, poetically.
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
2021 `\pi` reminds us that good things grow for those who wait.' edition.

Pi Day 2020 Art - Digits, poetically.
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
2019 `\pi` has hundreds of digits, hundreds of languages and a special kids' edition.

Pi Day 2020 Art - Digits, poetically.
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
2018 `\pi` day stitches street maps into new destinations.

Pi Day 2020 Art - Digits, poetically.
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
2017 `\pi` day imagines the sky in a new way.


Pi Day 2020 Art - Digits, poetically.
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
2016 `\pi` approximation day wonders what would happen if about right was right.

Pi Day 2020 Art - Digits, poetically.
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
2016 `\pi` day sees digits really fall for each other.

Pi Day 2020 Art - Digits, poetically.
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
2015 `\pi` day maps transcendentally.

Pi Day 2020 Art - Digits, poetically.
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
2014 `\pi` approx day spirals into roughness.


Pi Day 2020 Art - Digits, poetically.
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
2014 `\pi` day hypnotizes you into looking.

Pi Day 2020 Art - Digits, poetically.
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
2014 `\pi` day

Pi Day 2020 Art - Digits, poetically.
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
2013 `\pi` day is where it started

Pi Day 2020 Art - Digits, poetically.
 / 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.
3 Little `\pi`,
1 what
4 can you tell us?

Welcome to this year's celebration of `\pi` and mathematics. Among the chaos of CORVID-19, this year `\pi` Day celebrations are short poetic emissions I call “piku” . They are brief pauses for the time.

Start by reading how piku are constructed and then browse submitted piku. Consider participating by submitting your own piku. All you need is a pen and a few (small) words. Very therapeutic.

But if the words here don't help, immerse yourself in my coronavirus art. It's quite catching.

If you enjoy poetry and words, see how I convert spam into poems in the style of ee cummings and if you like to see words arrange on page, look through my typographic art.

3 Piku are
1 brief
4 pauses just in
1 time.

You may know the haiku (俳句) as a short three line poem whose lines traditionally have 5, 7 and 5 syllables (specifically, morae or phonetic sounds).

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Scribbles on Shonan Village Center notepad on which the idea was born. I am grateful for being invited to the Formalizing Biological and Medical Visualization (Shonan Meeting 167) in which the idea formed. (zoom)

On a recent trip to Japan I was looking to my environment for inspiration for this year's `\pi` Day. I also really wanted a scheme that would allow people to contribute to the art so that everyone could be both a participant and an audience.

After scribbling for a little bit (or a long while), I came up with the idea of a piku (`\pi`ku, パイク). Analogously to a haiku, the piku is poem whose structure is constrained. But in this case, the constraints are the digits of `\pi` itself.

The piku

The simplest piku is a 3 phrase poem with 3, 1 and 4 syllables, respectively. Perhaps the most trivial piku is just the list of digits.

3 Three one four
1 One
4 Five nine two six.

Specifically, Haiku count the number of phonetic sounds which isn't always the same as syllables. For example, the word "any" has two such sounds: a-ny.

If you're interested in how the counting of sounds is done in Japanese, read about marking time and beats in Haiku.

But a more fun one would be

3 A Three and
1 A
4 One and a four.

Longer words can be used, of course. But watch out for the lines that require a single syllable.

3 Numbers are
1 all
4 Equally fun.
3 Land meets sky.
1 Oh,
4 It's you again!

You can use hyphenation to work around the syllable count.

3 Memories
1 for-
4 get yourself then.

plural of piku is piku

Piku is singulare tantum—its plural form is the same as its singular.

This is because its inspiration is the haiku and in Japanese nouns do not have different singular and plural forms,

3 Piku is
1 the
4 piku plural.

Longer piku

In general, a piku may have more than 3 lines. This reflects the fact that the digits of `\pi` do not terminate.

3 Land meets sky.
1 Oh,
4 It's you again!
1 Yes,
5 Who did you expect?

The endless piku is just waiting to be written. Well... started, at least.

Handling zeros

The digit zero is a line with no syllables and corresponds to a compulsory verse break. But because the first zero in `\pi` is at digit 33, you wouldn't see a verse break for a while.

Therefore, you're free to introduce a verse break anywhere in the piku (this does not use up a digit). For example,

3 Hot air breeze
1 cools
4 much hotter things.

3 F 0 0
1 red
4 You add the light.

Generalizing the piku — the nku

Any number, `n`, has its own nku. The rules for its construction are the same: each digit generates a line with corresponding number of syllables.

For example, the haiku is an nku for `n = 575`.

The year of your birth has an nku—you might want to try composing one to reflect on your origins.

In fact, any date (e.g. DDMMYYYY) can be made into an nku. This year's `\pi` date in this format is 14032020 and here's one possible nku.

1 Dust
4 in space vacuum
0
3 clogs alien
2 machines.
0
2 Bummer.
0

The trailing zero in the number creates a verse break at the end of a poem. This can be ignored or used to generate a blank line if the poem is set with other text on the page.

VIEW ALL

news + thoughts

Music for the Moon: Flunk's 'Down Here / Moon Above'

Sat 29-05-2021

The Sanctuary Project is a Lunar vault of science and art. It includes two fully sequenced human genomes, sequenced and assembled by us at Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre.

The first disc includes a song composed by Flunk for the (eventual) trip to the Moon.

But how do you send sound to space? I describe the inspiration, process and art behind the work.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
The song 'Down Here / Moon Above' from Flunk's new album History of Everything Ever is our song for space. It appears on the Sanctuary genome discs, which aim to send two fully sequenced human genomes to the Moon. (more)

Browse the genome discs.

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

Sun 30-05-2021

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 18:224–225.

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.