NATURE AT 150

In science the myth of the lone genius prevails. Rather, we are interconnected, we influence each other, we work together. For Nature’s 150th anniversary issue in November 2019 we sought to visualize this reality, with three pieces that work together:

- a print cover, with an infographic inside;

- a video animation; and

- an interactive experience

 

Each piece features a network visualization of almost all the scientific papers Nature has produced in its history, and links them. Papers are represented by a dot, coloured by discipline. Papers are linked if another paper cites both.

 

The overview network visual is accompanied by a new kind of visualization created for this projected called a reference tree. Each tree shows one paper, with all of the papers referenced to create a work, and all future citations. The idea of "standing on the shoulders of giants" is clearly visualised with data.

 

An interactive version of the network shows all Nature papers and their links, and also shows reference trees for select papers such as the 1953 DNA discovery.

 

A gorgeous animation brings it all together in a wonderful narrated story, showing that no discovery happens in isolation, that we inhabit a connected system of researchers working together. 

Special thanks to our collaborators at Barabasi Lab.

 

More details, links and credits in this Twitter thread. 

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