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Vivid Visualizations: Prize-Winning Science Images

Invisible Coral Flows

coral flow image

(Image credit: Vicente I. Fernandez, Orr H. Shapiro, Melissa S. Garren, Assaf Vardi, and Roman Stocker; Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Water swirls in a tiny vortex created by coral polyps, which create miniscule currents by beating whip-like appendages called cilia. The resulting whirlpool helps coral draw in nutrients and push away waste. This image won first place in the photography category of the 2013 International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge and graces the cover of the Feb. 7 issue of the journal Science. [Read full story on the Science Visualization Winners]

Leaf Scales

colorful leaf scales

(Image credit: Stephen Francis Lowry; Steve Lowry Photography)

Taking an honorable mention in the photography category, this polarized light microscopy shot shows tiny leaf hairs on the plant Fuzzy Deutzia (Deutzia scabra). [Read full story on the Science Visualization Winners]

Micro Material

polymer material

(Image credit: Anna Pyayt and Howard Kaplan (University of South Florida))

The People's Choice award for photography went to this image, showing self-assembling micro-structures in polymers. [Read full story on the Science Visualization Winners]

Pastel Brain

brancing neuron illustration

(Image credit: Greg Dunn, Brian Edwards (Greg Dunn Design); Marty Saggese (SfN); Tracy Bale (UPenn); Rick Huganir (Johns Hopkins University))

"Cortex in Metallic Pastels" took first place in the competition's illustration category. Using gold leaf, aluminum, acrylic dye and other materials, artist Greg Dunn used jets of air to move pigments across the canvas to create the branching neurons. [Read full story on the Science Visualization Winners]

Easy Passwords

stolen password blanket

(Image credit: Lorrie Faith Cranor (Carnegie Mellon University))

This literal "Security Blanket" consists of painfully obvious (and common) passwords printed on a cotton quilt. The textile art took the People's Choice award in the illustration category. [Read full story on the Science Visualization Winners]

Microbe Hand

bacteria on the human hand

(Image credit: Lydia-Marie Joubert (Stanford University))

Even antibacterial soap can't get rid of the (mostly harmless) bacteria on the skin, as shown in this People's Choice winner in illustration, showing the growth of bacteria at 400 times normal resolution. [Read full story on the Science Visualization Winners]

Wearable Power

wearable power fabrics

(Image credit: Kristy Jost, Babak Anasori, Majid Beidaghi, Genevieve Dion, and Yuri Gogotsi; Drexel University)

The winning informational poster, "Wearable Power," shows how fabrics could be engineered to store power. [Read full story on the Science Visualization Winners]

Soap Bubble Life Cycle

popping bubble dynamics

(Image credit: Robert I. Saye and James A. Sethian (UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory))

Taking honorable mention in the posters category, this graphic shows the dynamics of popping foam bubbles. [Read full story on the Science Visualization Winners]

Sea Turtle Cold

cold-stunned sea turtles

(Image credit: Katelyn McDonald and Timothy Phelps (Johns Hopkins University); and Jennifer Dittmar (The National Aquarium))

Turtles exposed to cold water for prolonged periods become cold-stunned. This honorable mention poster explains the effects. [Read full story on the Science Visualization Winners]

Brain Zoom

brain cell game

(Image credit: Amy Robinson, William Silversmith, Matthew Balkam, Mark Richardson, Sebastian Seung, Jinseop Kim (EyeWire))

The first-place winner in the gaming category allows players to explore brain cells and map their structure. [Read full story on the Science Visualization Winners]


earthviewer app

(Image credit: Mark Nielsen and Satoshi Amagai (Howard Hughes Medical Institute); Michael Clark (EarthBuzz Software, Ltd.); Blake Porch and Dennis Liu (Howard Hughes Medical Institute))

One of two honorable mention winners, "EarthViewer" is an app that allows users to scroll through Earth's history, from molten to modern. [Read full story on the Science Visualization Winners]

Stephanie Pappas
Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science. She covers the world of human and animal behavior, as well as paleontology and other science topics. Stephanie has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has ducked under a glacier in Switzerland and poked hot lava with a stick in Hawaii. Stephanie hails from East Tennessee, the global center for salamander diversity. Follow Stephanie on Google+.