Virus trading cards
April 11 2016
This week I made a set of virus trading cards! Viruses are surprisingly symmetrical, and I love them because they remind me of a biological version of snowflakes. Each trading card shows you the structure of the viral capsid - the protein shell protecting the genetic material inside a virus.
To make the 3D animations I used UCSF Chimera, a free molecular modeling program. When scientists discover a new protein structure they upload it to the worldwide Protein Data Bank. Each entry is assigned a unique ID number, which you can use to call up the structure in programs like Chimera or PyMol.
I used Tom Goddard’s tutorial to learn how to display viral capsids, and it’s actually a fairly simple process. You can even 3D print structures straight from Chimera , which is awesome and might have to be my next project.
- Molecular Modeling: Molecular graphics and analyses were performed with the UCSF Chimera package. Chimera is developed by the Resource for Biocomputing, Visualization, and Informatics at the University of California, San Francisco (supported by NIGMS P41-GM103311).
- Other Sources: Dengue information and structure, HPV information and structure, Adenovirus information and structure, and PBCV-1 information and structure.
- Fonts: Abril Fatface Regular by Veronika Burian and Jose Scaglione, Cousine Regular by Ascender Fonts.
Here there be robots: A medieval map of Mars
February 27 2016
It’s hard to believe it’s been over a year since the last time I posted something on this blog! I’ve actually made a lot of infographics in the meantime, but most of them are caught up in production with some of my collaborators. Hopefully I’ll be able to share them soon :)
Recently I’ve been really into old maps made by medieval explorers. I thought it would be fun to use their historical design style to illustrate our current adventures into unexplored territory. So here’s my hand-drawn topographic map of Mars, complete with official landmark names and rover landing sites.
To add a little something extra, I included the history of each place name on the map. Martian craters are named after famous scientists (for large craters) or small villages on Earth (small craters). Since the base map is hand-drawn I also added an overlay of actual NASA topographic imagery. This way even if some of my lines are a little off, you can still see what the actual ground looks like underneath.
- Cartography: Color-Coded Contour Map of Mars” USGS Astrogeology Science Center, 2003, “Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature” NASA, USGS Astrogeology Science Center, International Astronomical Union, “Mars 1:5 million-scale THEMIS Images” NASA, USGS Astrogeology Science Center, International Astronomical Union
- Fonts: Moon Bold by Jack Harvatt, Chipperfield & Bailey by Paul Lloyd, Titania by Dieter Steffman, Antiquarian™ and Antiquarian Scribe™ by Brian Willson, and various elements cannibalized from old maps in the NY Public Library's Digital Collection (1, 2, 3).
Planet Earth Control Deck
January 26 2015
It’s January already, which means it’s tax season! I dislike filing taxes as much as the next person, but I figured I might as well make the most of it this year. So I made an infographic celebrating one of my favorite tax-funded programs in America - NASA.
I wanted to show what Earth’s control panel might look like if it was a spaceship piloted by humans. It’s a bit too busy with all the flashing lights, but I was going for a mix between sci-fi and pinball so I’m still pretty happy with how it turned out. All of the data should be scientifically accurate, even if it’s moving too fast to read properly.
As a side note, this might be the only infographic I post for a while. I’m working on a pretty extensive non-science art project right now, and it’s been taking up a lot of my time. I was also invited to be on the panel of judges for the Malofiej Infographics Summit in Spain, so I’m going to be out of town for a while doing conference things. But I promise I haven’t forgotten about this blog, and I’ll be back soon with more science :)
- A lot of data went into this infographic. Here's where I got all the information:
- Hubble/ESA moon rotation video, NASA Visible Earth world rotation video, John Walker Astronomical distance calculator, Weather Underground historical Seattle weather, National Geographic star map, John Walker star location viewer, NASA Earth facts, NASA moon facts, NASA sun facts, US Census Bureau population estimate, European Synchroton Radiation Facility earth core estimate, USC Satellite Database, Voyager photo of Earth.