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National Science Foundation

2006 Winners

Captions from R. Chatterjee, Science 313: 1989-1993 (2006). Full story in Science magazine.

Categories

Photography

First Place

An Egyptian Child Mummy
An Egyptian Child Mummy
Credit: W. Paul Brown, Robert Cheng, Rebecca Fahrig, Stanford University; Christof Reinhart, Volume Graphics

For 75 years, this child mummy resided in the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose, Calif., its body unseen by human eyes, its story a mystery. In 2005, a team of researchers joined computer engineer Paul Brown of Stanford University, in unraveling the threads of this mystery using the latest in imaging technology. Using a high-resolution scanner to generate 60,000 2-D scans of the unwrapped mummy and applying additional 3-D computer graphics, created a 3-D model of the mummy and its interior. Analysis of the data revealed that the 2,000-year-old mummy is the remains of a 4- to 5-year-old girl who, researchers concluded, likely died unexpectedly from an infectious disease.

Read Felice Frankel's interview with 2006 winner Paul Brown from American Scientist, Vol 94 (PDF, 230 KB).

Second Place

Cockroach Portrait
Cockroach Portrait
Credit: David D. Yager, Ph.D., University of Maryland

Cockroach haters, look your enemy in the eye! Photographing small animals like this 2-centimeter-long Cuban banana cockroach, has its challenges: You can focus on only a small part of the tiny animal in one shot. David Yager of the University of Maryland relied on technologies old and new.

Illustration

First Place

Still Life: Five Glass Surfaces on a Tabletop
Still Life: Five Glass Surfaces on a Tabletop
Credit: Richard Palais, University of California Irvine; Luc Benard

Innumerable surfaces that we cannot touch or see or even know can be seen by mathematicians. They have long relied on their powers of imagination to picture abstract surfaces. Richard Palais of the University of California, Irvine, and graphic artist Luc Benard used the magic of computer graphics to recreate these abstract surfaces in familiar yet intriguing settings.

Second Place

A DaVinci Blackboard Lesson in Multi-Conceptual Anatomy
A DaVinci Blackboard Lesson in Multi-Conceptual Anatomy
Credit: Caryn Babaian, Bucks County Community College, Newton, Pa.

Some things never grow old. Biology teacher Caryn Babaian of Bucks County Community College in Newtown, Pa., used the iconic Leonardo da Vinci Vitruvian Man to illustrate rotation, transparency and transverse section in her anatomy class. Babaian requires her students to draw the image in their notebooks as they watch it take shape on the blackboard.

Honorable Mention

The Handwritten Letter e, Visualized as a Canyon with Frost in the Lowlands
The Handwritten Letter "e," Visualized as a Canyon with Frost in the Lowlands
Credit: Curtis T. DuBois

This landscape of gorges began as an effort to aid handwriting analysis. This handwritten letter "e" depicts a unique pattern of pressure points converted into shades of grey in a digitally scanned image.

Informational Graphics

First Place

Hawaii, the Highest Mountain on Earth
Hawaii, the Highest Mountain on Earth
Credit: Nils Sparwasser, Thorsten Andresen, Stephan Reiniger; Robert Meisner, German Aerospace Center (DLR)

Mount Everest is the highest mountain on Earth above sea level, but it's not the world's tallest mountain. That honor goes to the Hawaiian volcano Mauna Kea. When measured from its base on the Pacific Ocean floor, it is about 1,000 meters taller than Mount Everest. Mauna Kea is part of a 5,600-kilometer-long string of volcanoes stretching westward from the main Hawaiian island. Geographer Nils Sparwarrer and his colleagues at the German Aerospace Center in Oberpfaffenhofen introduces us to the Hawaiian volcanoes with this panoramic view across the Pacific Ocean.

Second Place

The Mona Lisa: A Montage of Scientific Images
The Mona Lisa: A Montage of Scientific Images
Credit: Louis Borgeat, François Blais, John Taylor, Luc Cournoyer, Michel Picard, Angelo Beraldin, Guy Godin, Marc Rioux, Guillaume Poirier, National Research Council of Canada; Christian Lahanier, Centre de Recherche et de Restauration des musées de France

It may not be the prettiest Mona Lisa image you have seen, but it is most certain to be the most informative. This "montage," jointly produced by the National Research Council of Canada and the Center for Research and Restoration of the Museums of France, depicts the information obtained from analyzing Leonardo da Vinci's painting using the latest scientific imaging technologies, such as a high-resolution 3-D scanner and a polychromatic 13-band multispectral camera. Such analyses help museum curators and conservation experts study the condition and authenticity of old paintings as well as reveal techniques used by the artists.

Honorable Mention

Materials Informatics: Visualization of High Dimensional Combinatorial Data
Materials Informatics: Visualization of High Dimensional Combinatorial Data
Credit: Matt Heying, Changwon Suh, Krishna Rajan, James Oliver, Iowa State University; Simone Seig, Wilhelm Maier, Universität des Saarlandes

Chemists are forever hunting for newer and more efficient catalysts, a task that can require sifting through enormous amounts of data on the chemistry of potential candidates. Here, materials scientist Krishna Rajan and colleagues have made the job easier with this visually captivating yet comprehensive informational graphic.

Interactive MULTImedia (screen shots)

First Place

Cerebral Vasculature of Craniopagus Conjoined Twins
Cerebral Vasculature of Craniopagus Conjoined Twins
Credit: Travis Vermilye, Stephen Humphries, Andrew M. Christensen, Medical Modeling LLC, Golden, Colo.; Kenneth E. Salyer, David G. Genecov, Carlos R. Barcelo, International Craniofacial Institute, Dallas, Texas; Crys Sory, Children's Medical Center, Dallas, Texas

To evaluate the chances of successfully separating one set of so-called craniopagus-conjoined twins, a group of surgeons at the International Craniofacial Institute in Dallas, Texas, used an interactive tool developed by medical illustrator Travis Vermilye of Medical Modeling LLC in Golden, Colo. The tool helped the surgeons postpone the separation of the twins.

Second Place

AVES: A Real Time Audio and Visual Sound Visualization Tool
AVES: A Real Time Audio and Visual Sound Visualization Tool
Credit: Jack Bradbury, Guillaume Iacino, Erica Olsen; Robert Grotke, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, N.Y.

For scientists and laypeople alike, Jack Bradbury and his team at Cornell University created a tool to both see and hear sounds in real-time--viewed dynamically generated waveforms and spectrograms respectively.

Honorable Mention

Cardiac Bioelectricity and Arrhythmias
Cardiac Bioelectricity and Arrhythmias
Credit: Flavio H. Fenton, Elizabeth M. Cherry, Cornell University

Deep inside the human heart, its pacemaker sends out bursts of electrical signals that keep the heart pumping rhythmically, supplying life-giving oxygen to the body. When these electrical waves become disorganized, the heart starts beating irregularly or arrhythmically. Flavio Fenton and Elizabeth Cherry of Cornell University made this interactive program to educate people about arrhythmias.

Noninteractive Multimedia (screen shots)

First Place (Tie)

Flight Patterns
Flight Patterns
Credit: Aaron Koblin, UCLA

Thousands of airplanes zoom through our sky everyday. Ever wonder what this air traffic looks like? Media artist Aaron Koblin of the University of California, Los Angeles, made it look much like fireworks shattering the night sky.

First Place (Tie)

Body Code
Body Code
Credit: Drew Berry, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Melbourne, Australia; Jeremy Pickett-Heaps, University of Melbourne; François Tétaz

Originally created for an art gallery, this animation could easily pass for a science fiction movie. But in reality, it is a glimpse inside our own bodies, humming with activity at every level--from molecules to cell tissues and organs.

Honorable Mention

A Short Tour of the Cryosphere
A Short Tour of the Cryosphere
Credit: Jennifer Brennan, ADNET Systems Inc./NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; Waleed Abdalati, Horace Mitchell, Ryan Boller, Lori Perkins, Greg Shirah, Carol Boquist, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; Walter Meier, Ronald Weaver, Mary Jo Brodzik, Richard Armstrong, National Snow and Ice Data Center; Alex Kekesi, Cindy Starr, Tom Bridgman, Randall Jones, Marte Newcombe, Stuart Snodgrass, Eric Sokolowsky, Jarret Cohen, Brian Krupp, Global Science and Technology, Inc.; Kevin Mahoney, Computer Science Corporation; Michael Starobin, Mike Velle, Honeywell Technology Solutions, Inc.

The chain of interactions between Earth's cryosphere and its climate is endless, and this 5-minute animation gives a bird's-eye view of it all--from the crumbling Larsen B Ice Shelf in Antarctica to the shrinking sea ice in the Arctic to the season ebb and flow of the snow cover in the Rockies.
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