nature graphics

FUSION UPSTARTS

Background: Over the past decade and half, physicists in United States and Canada have launched at least half a dozen companies to pursue alternative designs for fusion reactors. This week’s news feature looks into the most promising technologies and technical struggles scientists need to face.
Design challenge: The aim for the graphic was to explain the design of three basic fusion reactor alternatives: tokamak, spheromak and colliding beam reactor. Editors believed it would be also helpful for the reader to include simple diagrams showing main nuclear fusion processes that are mentioned in the story.
Since some of these reactors are still in the concept stage it was important for the illustration not to go into too much detail and instead explain the technology in a very schematic way. We also wanted to make sure these illustrations would be visually uniform and work together as a set.
The final graphic shows a simplified 3D cutout of each reactor in white with plasma inside colored yellow. Additionally, hot metal has been marked red, magnet coils in light blue and fuel injection as blue arrows.
We considered showing the direction of magnetic fields (that trap hot plasma) but it proved to be a challenge. Magnetic field lines would need to spiral around the plasma vortex (or hot metal vortex in general fusion) and we soon realised they would clash with other important information. We decided that showing the direction of plasma movement is more crucial whereas magnetic field can be easier included in the caption text. 
-Jasiek Krzysztofiak FUSION UPSTARTS

Background: Over the past decade and half, physicists in United States and Canada have launched at least half a dozen companies to pursue alternative designs for fusion reactors. This week’s news feature looks into the most promising technologies and technical struggles scientists need to face.
Design challenge: The aim for the graphic was to explain the design of three basic fusion reactor alternatives: tokamak, spheromak and colliding beam reactor. Editors believed it would be also helpful for the reader to include simple diagrams showing main nuclear fusion processes that are mentioned in the story.
Since some of these reactors are still in the concept stage it was important for the illustration not to go into too much detail and instead explain the technology in a very schematic way. We also wanted to make sure these illustrations would be visually uniform and work together as a set.
The final graphic shows a simplified 3D cutout of each reactor in white with plasma inside colored yellow. Additionally, hot metal has been marked red, magnet coils in light blue and fuel injection as blue arrows.
We considered showing the direction of magnetic fields (that trap hot plasma) but it proved to be a challenge. Magnetic field lines would need to spiral around the plasma vortex (or hot metal vortex in general fusion) and we soon realised they would clash with other important information. We decided that showing the direction of plasma movement is more crucial whereas magnetic field can be easier included in the caption text. 
-Jasiek Krzysztofiak

FUSION UPSTARTS

Background: Over the past decade and half, physicists in United States and Canada have launched at least half a dozen companies to pursue alternative designs for fusion reactors. This week’s news feature looks into the most promising technologies and technical struggles scientists need to face.

Design challenge: The aim for the graphic was to explain the design of three basic fusion reactor alternatives: tokamak, spheromak and colliding beam reactor. Editors believed it would be also helpful for the reader to include simple diagrams showing main nuclear fusion processes that are mentioned in the story.

Since some of these reactors are still in the concept stage it was important for the illustration not to go into too much detail and instead explain the technology in a very schematic way. We also wanted to make sure these illustrations would be visually uniform and work together as a set.

The final graphic shows a simplified 3D cutout of each reactor in white with plasma inside colored yellow. Additionally, hot metal has been marked red, magnet coils in light blue and fuel injection as blue arrows.

We considered showing the direction of magnetic fields (that trap hot plasma) but it proved to be a challenge. Magnetic field lines would need to spiral around the plasma vortex (or hot metal vortex in general fusion) and we soon realised they would clash with other important information. We decided that showing the direction of plasma movement is more crucial whereas magnetic field can be easier included in the caption text. 

-Jasiek Krzysztofiak

SOUTH AMERICA BY THE NUMBERS
Background: With the World Cup upon us, this week’s Nature takes a look at South American science.

Design challenge: The goal was to create a comprehensive graphic that would explore several aspects of South American science: 1) publication output; 2) how it collaborates internationally; and 3) research impact. (High resolution PDF can be found here.)
Data for the region is not readily available and where it is, much is patchy or missing. Journalist Richard Van Noorden did some great data research and pulled together a fairly comprehensive list of numbers and ideas for the graphics. Most were fairly straight forward apart from the collaboration data, which proved tricky to display.
Collaboration map challenge: Our goal was to visualise how the countries of South America collaborate with one another and with the rest of the world. The proportion of collaborative research compared with the totals also told an interesting story and highlighted that while Brazil dominated South America in term of overall papers published, its international collaboration rate as a percentage of output was the lowest. This was challenging to show in a way that did not diminish the overall numbers.
I went through several variants (see second image above):
1) The first was a network diagram with the lines connecting countries displaying the total collaborative publications between countries. I had to bracket out the numbers into ranges for this to work but it gave a general understanding of where the biggest collaborations occur. This version also used scaled volume bubbles to display the total papers for each country and gave a snapshot of how South America collaborates with the rest of the world. However, it did not show the collaboration rates effectively, and the rest of world aspect was confusing.
2) For the next version I tried pie charts. This helped drive home one of the main messages – that the smaller countries generally collaborate more readily beyond South America. This also proved confusing, and on a data visualisation level was not as robust, as pies are not easily compared to each other.
3) Finally, I reverted back to showing whole numbers, and instead of pie charts used a stacked, 100% bar chart to display the collaboration rates, making the message much clearer and making the countries easily comparable.
-Wes Fernandes SOUTH AMERICA BY THE NUMBERS
Background: With the World Cup upon us, this week’s Nature takes a look at South American science.

Design challenge: The goal was to create a comprehensive graphic that would explore several aspects of South American science: 1) publication output; 2) how it collaborates internationally; and 3) research impact. (High resolution PDF can be found here.)
Data for the region is not readily available and where it is, much is patchy or missing. Journalist Richard Van Noorden did some great data research and pulled together a fairly comprehensive list of numbers and ideas for the graphics. Most were fairly straight forward apart from the collaboration data, which proved tricky to display.
Collaboration map challenge: Our goal was to visualise how the countries of South America collaborate with one another and with the rest of the world. The proportion of collaborative research compared with the totals also told an interesting story and highlighted that while Brazil dominated South America in term of overall papers published, its international collaboration rate as a percentage of output was the lowest. This was challenging to show in a way that did not diminish the overall numbers.
I went through several variants (see second image above):
1) The first was a network diagram with the lines connecting countries displaying the total collaborative publications between countries. I had to bracket out the numbers into ranges for this to work but it gave a general understanding of where the biggest collaborations occur. This version also used scaled volume bubbles to display the total papers for each country and gave a snapshot of how South America collaborates with the rest of the world. However, it did not show the collaboration rates effectively, and the rest of world aspect was confusing.
2) For the next version I tried pie charts. This helped drive home one of the main messages – that the smaller countries generally collaborate more readily beyond South America. This also proved confusing, and on a data visualisation level was not as robust, as pies are not easily compared to each other.
3) Finally, I reverted back to showing whole numbers, and instead of pie charts used a stacked, 100% bar chart to display the collaboration rates, making the message much clearer and making the countries easily comparable.
-Wes Fernandes

SOUTH AMERICA BY THE NUMBERS

Background: With the World Cup upon us, this week’s Nature takes a look at South American science.

Design challenge: The goal was to create a comprehensive graphic that would explore several aspects of South American science: 1) publication output; 2) how it collaborates internationally; and 3) research impact. (High resolution PDF can be found here.)

Data for the region is not readily available and where it is, much is patchy or missing. Journalist Richard Van Noorden did some great data research and pulled together a fairly comprehensive list of numbers and ideas for the graphics. Most were fairly straight forward apart from the collaboration data, which proved tricky to display.

Collaboration map challenge: Our goal was to visualise how the countries of South America collaborate with one another and with the rest of the world. The proportion of collaborative research compared with the totals also told an interesting story and highlighted that while Brazil dominated South America in term of overall papers published, its international collaboration rate as a percentage of output was the lowest. This was challenging to show in a way that did not diminish the overall numbers.

I went through several variants (see second image above):

1) The first was a network diagram with the lines connecting countries displaying the total collaborative publications between countries. I had to bracket out the numbers into ranges for this to work but it gave a general understanding of where the biggest collaborations occur. This version also used scaled volume bubbles to display the total papers for each country and gave a snapshot of how South America collaborates with the rest of the world. However, it did not show the collaboration rates effectively, and the rest of world aspect was confusing.

2) For the next version I tried pie charts. This helped drive home one of the main messages – that the smaller countries generally collaborate more readily beyond South America. This also proved confusing, and on a data visualisation level was not as robust, as pies are not easily compared to each other.

3) Finally, I reverted back to showing whole numbers, and instead of pie charts used a stacked, 100% bar chart to display the collaboration rates, making the message much clearer and making the countries easily comparable.

-Wes Fernandes

FUN WITH LIPIDS
We’ve just published our Insight on Lipids and Disease, with a fun cover by Jasiek Krzysztofiak (of the Nature art team).
It’s a really lovely bit of abstract art. (Fans of anthropomorphism can imagine the lipids at an 80’s dance night. Not that I am endorsing this view!) 
-Kelly Krause

FUN WITH LIPIDS

We’ve just published our Insight on Lipids and Disease, with a fun cover by Jasiek Krzysztofiak (of the Nature art team).

It’s a really lovely bit of abstract art. (Fans of anthropomorphism can imagine the lipids at an 80’s dance night. Not that I am endorsing this view!) 

-Kelly Krause

TIDAL POWER
Background: After years in the doldrums, the quest to harvest energy from the oceans is gathering speed. We recently published a story that examines a few emerging tidal power technologies.
Design challenge: We decided to create an explanatory graphic that would compare the various methods of generating power from the sea.
We chose two wave and two tidal power systems (four total), with the editor providing links to source material.
Tidal:
http://www.openhydro.com/images.html
http://www.marineturbines.com/SeaGen-Products
Wave:
http://www.carnegiewave.com/index.php?url=/ceto/ceto-overview
http://www.pelamiswave.com/pelamis-technology

The main challenge was to show these large machines in the simplest possible way, conveying the basic principles without getting too technical. I also wanted to give a sense of scale for each, with tiny human figures added for context.
I chose a blue colour scheme, to give the sense of ‘under water’ and to also give a blueprint-like feel to the graphic. I chose the bright red arrows to indicate the power-conversion process, whilst avoiding the technical details of how this is done.
-Nik Spencer

TIDAL POWER

Background: After years in the doldrums, the quest to harvest energy from the oceans is gathering speed. We recently published a story that examines a few emerging tidal power technologies.

Design challenge: We decided to create an explanatory graphic that would compare the various methods of generating power from the sea.

We chose two wave and two tidal power systems (four total), with the editor providing links to source material.

Tidal:

http://www.openhydro.com/images.html

http://www.marineturbines.com/SeaGen-Products

Wave:

http://www.carnegiewave.com/index.php?url=/ceto/ceto-overview

http://www.pelamiswave.com/pelamis-technology

The main challenge was to show these large machines in the simplest possible way, conveying the basic principles without getting too technical. I also wanted to give a sense of scale for each, with tiny human figures added for context.

I chose a blue colour scheme, to give the sense of ‘under water’ and to also give a blueprint-like feel to the graphic. I chose the bright red arrows to indicate the power-conversion process, whilst avoiding the technical details of how this is done.

-Nik Spencer



MAKING CONNECTIONS
Background: In our recent issue, Hongkui Zeng and colleagues present the first brain-wide, mesoscale connectome for a mammalian species — the laboratory mouse — based on cell-type-specific tracing of axonal projections.
Design challenge: This amazing visualization obviously took a lot of work. This from Zeng on how it was created:
"This image shows the brain-wide axonal projection patterns from 21 distinct cortical areas (differentially color coded). This represents 21 mapping experiments selected from the Allen Mouse Brain Connectivity Atlas to sample the entire cortex. High resolution images from each experiment are quantified and co-registered into a common 3-D reference space using automated methods. Each of the viral tracer injection sites (source regions), which are in the right hemisphere only, is indicated by a cluster of round spheres. The connectivity paths are created by virtual tractography, namely, each sampled target location (squares) is computationally traced through the highest signal density path back to the injection site. The 3-D visualization is generated using the Brain Explorer(r) program."
-Kelly Krause

MAKING CONNECTIONS

Background: In our recent issue, Hongkui Zeng and colleagues present the first brain-wide, mesoscale connectome for a mammalian species — the laboratory mouse — based on cell-type-specific tracing of axonal projections.

Design challenge: This amazing visualization obviously took a lot of work. This from Zeng on how it was created:

"This image shows the brain-wide axonal projection patterns from 21 distinct cortical areas (differentially color coded). This represents 21 mapping experiments selected from the Allen Mouse Brain Connectivity Atlas to sample the entire cortex. High resolution images from each experiment are quantified and co-registered into a common 3-D reference space using automated methods. Each of the viral tracer injection sites (source regions), which are in the right hemisphere only, is indicated by a cluster of round spheres. The connectivity paths are created by virtual tractography, namely, each sampled target location (squares) is computationally traced through the highest signal density path back to the injection site. The 3-D visualization is generated using the Brain Explorer(r) program."

-Kelly Krause

HOW TO KEEP A SECRET
Background: Can you keep secrets safe from eavesdroppers? Yes you can, according to the authors of this paper in our recent issue. 
They argue that recent developments in quantum cryptography, coupled with the fact that we still possess free will, suggest that truly private communication will always be possible, even in a world with access to as yet undiscovered code-breaking technologies.
Design challenge: How to visualize quantum cryptography? We gave this brief to the amazing Andy Potts, who created the stunning cover design (above). The illustration features Alice and Bob (stalwarts of cryptography plots everywhere) and some magic coins, all of which are featured in the piece.
A fascinating read.
-Kelly Krause
 

HOW TO KEEP A SECRET

Background: Can you keep secrets safe from eavesdroppers? Yes you can, according to the authors of this paper in our recent issue. 

They argue that recent developments in quantum cryptography, coupled with the fact that we still possess free will, suggest that truly private communication will always be possible, even in a world with access to as yet undiscovered code-breaking technologies.

Design challenge: How to visualize quantum cryptography? We gave this brief to the amazing Andy Potts, who created the stunning cover design (above). The illustration features Alice and Bob (stalwarts of cryptography plots everywhere) and some magic coins, all of which are featured in the piece.

A fascinating read.

-Kelly Krause

 

PRACTICAL MAKES PERFECT
Background: This week we published an analysis of the state of microfluidics. Lab-on-a-chip microtechnologies have made progress in recent years, and are picking up steam.
Design challenge: When we decided to feature the microfluidics piece on the cover, the question facing us was: photography or illustration? There are some gorgeous devices out there, so photography could have worked.
We reached out to one of the authors, David Beebe, for image suggestions, and he pointed out that it might be more appropriate to do an illustration rather than showing one specific technology in a photograph. 
From Beebe: “The impact will likely come in many areas/fields of research or conversely there is unlikely to be a single ‘killer application’  … we don’t want to convey a bunch of gee whiz cool widgets, rather that the field is moving now towards practical implementation and real impact”
Beebe sent over a quick sketch of how we might take a more conceptual, illustrative approach (second image).
We took Beebe’s advice and concentrated on doing an illustrated concept cover, to convey the idea of a field of science that is moving towards a more practical phase, with many solutions.  I gave the brief to one of the designers in Nature’s art team, Jasiek Krzysztofiak, who came up with the brilliant idea of using a Swiss army knife as a metaphor.
The final cover art shows a generic microfluid chip design, as the base of the ‘knife’ (in red), with the familiar tools of the Swiss army knife completing the visual. The blue wavy background is a clever nod to the presence of fluids.
-Kelly Krause PRACTICAL MAKES PERFECT
Background: This week we published an analysis of the state of microfluidics. Lab-on-a-chip microtechnologies have made progress in recent years, and are picking up steam.
Design challenge: When we decided to feature the microfluidics piece on the cover, the question facing us was: photography or illustration? There are some gorgeous devices out there, so photography could have worked.
We reached out to one of the authors, David Beebe, for image suggestions, and he pointed out that it might be more appropriate to do an illustration rather than showing one specific technology in a photograph. 
From Beebe: “The impact will likely come in many areas/fields of research or conversely there is unlikely to be a single ‘killer application’  … we don’t want to convey a bunch of gee whiz cool widgets, rather that the field is moving now towards practical implementation and real impact”
Beebe sent over a quick sketch of how we might take a more conceptual, illustrative approach (second image).
We took Beebe’s advice and concentrated on doing an illustrated concept cover, to convey the idea of a field of science that is moving towards a more practical phase, with many solutions.  I gave the brief to one of the designers in Nature’s art team, Jasiek Krzysztofiak, who came up with the brilliant idea of using a Swiss army knife as a metaphor.
The final cover art shows a generic microfluid chip design, as the base of the ‘knife’ (in red), with the familiar tools of the Swiss army knife completing the visual. The blue wavy background is a clever nod to the presence of fluids.
-Kelly Krause

PRACTICAL MAKES PERFECT

Background: This week we published an analysis of the state of microfluidics. Lab-on-a-chip microtechnologies have made progress in recent years, and are picking up steam.

Design challenge: When we decided to feature the microfluidics piece on the cover, the question facing us was: photography or illustration? There are some gorgeous devices out there, so photography could have worked.

We reached out to one of the authors, David Beebe, for image suggestions, and he pointed out that it might be more appropriate to do an illustration rather than showing one specific technology in a photograph. 

From Beebe: “The impact will likely come in many areas/fields of research or conversely there is unlikely to be a single ‘killer application’  … we don’t want to convey a bunch of gee whiz cool widgets, rather that the field is moving now towards practical implementation and real impact”

Beebe sent over a quick sketch of how we might take a more conceptual, illustrative approach (second image).

We took Beebe’s advice and concentrated on doing an illustrated concept cover, to convey the idea of a field of science that is moving towards a more practical phase, with many solutions.  I gave the brief to one of the designers in Nature’s art team, Jasiek Krzysztofiak, who came up with the brilliant idea of using a Swiss army knife as a metaphor.

The final cover art shows a generic microfluid chip design, as the base of the ‘knife’ (in red), with the familiar tools of the Swiss army knife completing the visual. The blue wavy background is a clever nod to the presence of fluids.

-Kelly Krause

MEET THE DROPLETONS
Background: New quasiparticles are rare but here’s one.
(The cover paper: Quantum droplets of electrons and holes.) 
Design challenge: How to visualize something completely new? The cover picture illustrates our first glimpse at the quasiparticle the authors discovered, called the dropleton, that consists of a tiny liquid-like bubble of electrons and holes. The step-like structure shown in red and blue shading stems from the dropleton’s quantized energy levels, each having a different number of rings in the quantum-mechanical distribution (overlaid). [Note: thanks to Mack Kira for the explanation.]



 



 

Cover artist Brad Baxley explains his creative process:
"Quite often, deciding which aspect of quantum research to visualize is the toughest part. The choice lies between depicting reality and representing reality. I have found each taps a different mode of creativity. In trying to depict reality, there might be an effort to imagine what it would be like to be very small and right in the middle of what is going on down there. In representations, we develop conventions to communicate certain ideas. 
This cover design is a representation that was generated using a rather vast workflow (custom method of working involving multiple software and the mitigation between them) in order to use key data outputs, directly from the investigators, and arrange them in a way that attempts to reveal certain relationships. Ultimately, I think we arrived at a rather elegant solution.”
Agreed!
-Kelly Krause 

MEET THE DROPLETONS

Background: New quasiparticles are rare but here’s one.

(The cover paper: Quantum droplets of electrons and holes.) 

Design challenge: How to visualize something completely new? The cover picture illustrates our first glimpse at the quasiparticle the authors discovered, called the dropleton, that consists of a tiny liquid-like bubble of electrons and holes. The step-like structure shown in red and blue shading stems from the dropleton’s quantized energy levels, each having a different number of rings in the quantum-mechanical distribution (overlaid). [Note: thanks to Mack Kira for the explanation.]

Cover artist Brad Baxley explains his creative process:

"Quite often, deciding which aspect of quantum research to visualize is the toughest part. The choice lies between depicting reality and representing reality. I have found each taps a different mode of creativity. In trying to depict reality, there might be an effort to imagine what it would be like to be very small and right in the middle of what is going on down there. In representations, we develop conventions to communicate certain ideas.

This cover design is a representation that was generated using a rather vast workflow (custom method of working involving multiple software and the mitigation between them) in order to use key data outputs, directly from the investigators, and arrange them in a way that attempts to reveal certain relationships. Ultimately, I think we arrived at a rather elegant solution.”

Agreed!

-Kelly Krause 

DEATH OF A COMET

Background: This week we take a look at the dramatic death of the sun-grazing comet ISON. (All of the Solar System’s comets travel around the Sun, but sun-grazers are those that fly within about three solar radii of the star’s centre, some 1.4 million kilometres above its surface). 
As ISON sailed into the inner Solar System, expectations grew quickly among astronomers and amateur skywatchers. But it was to end in tragedy for poor ISON, as the comet disintegrated spectacularly in November, just hours before it was set to sweep past the Sun.
Read the full story here.
Design challenge: The challenge was to tie a collection of images—shots from telescopes that were watching the comet ISON as it passed into the Solar System toward the sun, and then disintegrated on the other side—with a graphic that showed the path of ISON from the distant Oort Cloud and then on through the Solar System.
We started with a sketch (bottom image).
For accuracy: There are many pictures of the comet ISON available, as there were thousands of telescopes trained on the comet as sped towards the Sun.  There were also videos from space telescopes, as well as NASA animations available which had projected the path of ISON through the Solar System.
The challenge was to give a snapshot graphic of the comet and its path towards the Sun that combined telescope images with information about the location of the space telescopes. One of the most interesting aspects for me was that ISON was videoed passing Earth by the STEREO telescopes that were on the other side of the Sun to Earth. I really wanted to convey this in the graphic.
(More info about the position of the STEREO telescopes.) 
Final design: I decided to show the telescope images in a linear arrangement, tagged to a graphic of ISONs route through the solar system. Then I showed the positions of the space telescopes that gave the near-Earth and -Sun images in an inset, and link these to the images in the timeline.
-Nik Spencer

DEATH OF A COMET

Background: This week we take a look at the dramatic death of the sun-grazing comet ISON. (All of the Solar System’s comets travel around the Sun, but sun-grazers are those that fly within about three solar radii of the star’s centre, some 1.4 million kilometres above its surface). 
As ISON sailed into the inner Solar System, expectations grew quickly among astronomers and amateur skywatchers. But it was to end in tragedy for poor ISON, as the comet disintegrated spectacularly in November, just hours before it was set to sweep past the Sun.
Read the full story here.
Design challenge: The challenge was to tie a collection of images—shots from telescopes that were watching the comet ISON as it passed into the Solar System toward the sun, and then disintegrated on the other side—with a graphic that showed the path of ISON from the distant Oort Cloud and then on through the Solar System.
We started with a sketch (bottom image).
For accuracy: There are many pictures of the comet ISON available, as there were thousands of telescopes trained on the comet as sped towards the Sun.  There were also videos from space telescopes, as well as NASA animations available which had projected the path of ISON through the Solar System.
The challenge was to give a snapshot graphic of the comet and its path towards the Sun that combined telescope images with information about the location of the space telescopes. One of the most interesting aspects for me was that ISON was videoed passing Earth by the STEREO telescopes that were on the other side of the Sun to Earth. I really wanted to convey this in the graphic.
(More info about the position of the STEREO telescopes.) 
Final design: I decided to show the telescope images in a linear arrangement, tagged to a graphic of ISONs route through the solar system. Then I showed the positions of the space telescopes that gave the near-Earth and -Sun images in an inset, and link these to the images in the timeline.
-Nik Spencer

DEATH OF A COMET

Background: This week we take a look at the dramatic death of the sun-grazing comet ISON. (All of the Solar System’s comets travel around the Sun, but sun-grazers are those that fly within about three solar radii of the star’s centre, some 1.4 million kilometres above its surface).

As ISON sailed into the inner Solar System, expectations grew quickly among astronomers and amateur skywatchers. But it was to end in tragedy for poor ISON, as the comet disintegrated spectacularly in November, just hours before it was set to sweep past the Sun.

Read the full story here.

Design challenge: The challenge was to tie a collection of images—shots from telescopes that were watching the comet ISON as it passed into the Solar System toward the sun, and then disintegrated on the other side—with a graphic that showed the path of ISON from the distant Oort Cloud and then on through the Solar System.

We started with a sketch (bottom image).

For accuracy: There are many pictures of the comet ISON available, as there were thousands of telescopes trained on the comet as sped towards the Sun.  There were also videos from space telescopes, as well as NASA animations available which had projected the path of ISON through the Solar System.

The challenge was to give a snapshot graphic of the comet and its path towards the Sun that combined telescope images with information about the location of the space telescopes. One of the most interesting aspects for me was that ISON was videoed passing Earth by the STEREO telescopes that were on the other side of the Sun to Earth. I really wanted to convey this in the graphic.

(More info about the position of the STEREO telescopes.) 

Final design: I decided to show the telescope images in a linear arrangement, tagged to a graphic of ISONs route through the solar system. Then I showed the positions of the space telescopes that gave the near-Earth and -Sun images in an inset, and link these to the images in the timeline.

-Nik Spencer

DOWNHILL FORECAST
Background: This week in Nature we take a look at how rising temperatures are affecting ski resorts around the world. Desperate measures have been taken to ensure suitable conditions for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi where despite 10 degrees C  (50 F) winter temperatures, the snow is being guaranteed by stockpiling over previous winters and through the use of various chemically-cooled indoor arenas.
The future of the Winter Olympics is uncertain and climatologists predict that even under a best-case scenario almost half the venues that have hosted the Winter Olympics over the last century could be unable to do so by 2080. 
(Read the story here. Find a high resolution PDF of the graphic here.)
Design challenge: We set out to create a graphic was to: 1) provide a view of how climate change is affecting ski conditions differently in several resorts across the world; and 2) take a closer look at a few key areas such as the Alps, the Rockies and New Zealand.
Page design
We decided to use a world map as the main structure for the spread which would act as a locator and also contain more specific data about the Winter Olympic sites. I drafted a very quick rough layout with some basic ideas for the graphics and where they would all sit on page (second image from top).
At the start, the graphics included: a global overview of the snow extent in the Northern Hemisphere and how it has dropped over the past decade; the locations of previous Winter Olympic host cities and projections for how reliable the snow conditions will be in 2080; a focus on Aspen Mountain with it’s predicted receding snow line; the forecast for the length of the ski season across resorts in the alps and finally an undecided graphic for ski conditions in New Zealand.
Graphic challenge
For the New Zealand graphic, we finally settled on showing the projected change of the snow depth at two different elevations. I thought this was an opportunity to have some fun with the graphic style so I decided to try a 3D view with the data acting like snow ramps for little snowboarders (bottom image, left).
Unfortunately, the data I used wasn’t quite right for the message we wanted to convey. The ‘correct’ data unfortunately didn’t allow me to create quite the same effect but I wasn’t going to give up that easily!
I only had 3 data points for 3 different projection so in the end I decided to plot these as a 3D model with height on the x-axis and number of snow-days on the z-axis. The y-axis here is technically arbitrary but I thought the final aesthetic worked well and created an interesting visual, highlighting the changing snow conditions in New Zealand (bottom image, right).
The final touch was to change the silhouette snowboarder into a more detailed illustration, jumping off the New Zealand slope.
-Wes Fernandes

DOWNHILL FORECAST
Background: This week in Nature we take a look at how rising temperatures are affecting ski resorts around the world. Desperate measures have been taken to ensure suitable conditions for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi where despite 10 degrees C  (50 F) winter temperatures, the snow is being guaranteed by stockpiling over previous winters and through the use of various chemically-cooled indoor arenas.
The future of the Winter Olympics is uncertain and climatologists predict that even under a best-case scenario almost half the venues that have hosted the Winter Olympics over the last century could be unable to do so by 2080. 
(Read the story here. Find a high resolution PDF of the graphic here.)
Design challenge: We set out to create a graphic was to: 1) provide a view of how climate change is affecting ski conditions differently in several resorts across the world; and 2) take a closer look at a few key areas such as the Alps, the Rockies and New Zealand.
Page design
We decided to use a world map as the main structure for the spread which would act as a locator and also contain more specific data about the Winter Olympic sites. I drafted a very quick rough layout with some basic ideas for the graphics and where they would all sit on page (second image from top).
At the start, the graphics included: a global overview of the snow extent in the Northern Hemisphere and how it has dropped over the past decade; the locations of previous Winter Olympic host cities and projections for how reliable the snow conditions will be in 2080; a focus on Aspen Mountain with it’s predicted receding snow line; the forecast for the length of the ski season across resorts in the alps and finally an undecided graphic for ski conditions in New Zealand.
Graphic challenge
For the New Zealand graphic, we finally settled on showing the projected change of the snow depth at two different elevations. I thought this was an opportunity to have some fun with the graphic style so I decided to try a 3D view with the data acting like snow ramps for little snowboarders (bottom image, left).
Unfortunately, the data I used wasn’t quite right for the message we wanted to convey. The ‘correct’ data unfortunately didn’t allow me to create quite the same effect but I wasn’t going to give up that easily!
I only had 3 data points for 3 different projection so in the end I decided to plot these as a 3D model with height on the x-axis and number of snow-days on the z-axis. The y-axis here is technically arbitrary but I thought the final aesthetic worked well and created an interesting visual, highlighting the changing snow conditions in New Zealand (bottom image, right).
The final touch was to change the silhouette snowboarder into a more detailed illustration, jumping off the New Zealand slope.
-Wes Fernandes

DOWNHILL FORECAST
Background: This week in Nature we take a look at how rising temperatures are affecting ski resorts around the world. Desperate measures have been taken to ensure suitable conditions for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi where despite 10 degrees C  (50 F) winter temperatures, the snow is being guaranteed by stockpiling over previous winters and through the use of various chemically-cooled indoor arenas.
The future of the Winter Olympics is uncertain and climatologists predict that even under a best-case scenario almost half the venues that have hosted the Winter Olympics over the last century could be unable to do so by 2080. 
(Read the story here. Find a high resolution PDF of the graphic here.)
Design challenge: We set out to create a graphic was to: 1) provide a view of how climate change is affecting ski conditions differently in several resorts across the world; and 2) take a closer look at a few key areas such as the Alps, the Rockies and New Zealand.
Page design
We decided to use a world map as the main structure for the spread which would act as a locator and also contain more specific data about the Winter Olympic sites. I drafted a very quick rough layout with some basic ideas for the graphics and where they would all sit on page (second image from top).
At the start, the graphics included: a global overview of the snow extent in the Northern Hemisphere and how it has dropped over the past decade; the locations of previous Winter Olympic host cities and projections for how reliable the snow conditions will be in 2080; a focus on Aspen Mountain with it’s predicted receding snow line; the forecast for the length of the ski season across resorts in the alps and finally an undecided graphic for ski conditions in New Zealand.
Graphic challenge
For the New Zealand graphic, we finally settled on showing the projected change of the snow depth at two different elevations. I thought this was an opportunity to have some fun with the graphic style so I decided to try a 3D view with the data acting like snow ramps for little snowboarders (bottom image, left).
Unfortunately, the data I used wasn’t quite right for the message we wanted to convey. The ‘correct’ data unfortunately didn’t allow me to create quite the same effect but I wasn’t going to give up that easily!
I only had 3 data points for 3 different projection so in the end I decided to plot these as a 3D model with height on the x-axis and number of snow-days on the z-axis. The y-axis here is technically arbitrary but I thought the final aesthetic worked well and created an interesting visual, highlighting the changing snow conditions in New Zealand (bottom image, right).
The final touch was to change the silhouette snowboarder into a more detailed illustration, jumping off the New Zealand slope.
-Wes Fernandes

DOWNHILL FORECAST

Background: This week in Nature we take a look at how rising temperatures are affecting ski resorts around the world. Desperate measures have been taken to ensure suitable conditions for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi where despite 10 degrees C  (50 F) winter temperatures, the snow is being guaranteed by stockpiling over previous winters and through the use of various chemically-cooled indoor arenas.

The future of the Winter Olympics is uncertain and climatologists predict that even under a best-case scenario almost half the venues that have hosted the Winter Olympics over the last century could be unable to do so by 2080. 

(Read the story here. Find a high resolution PDF of the graphic here.)

Design challenge: We set out to create a graphic was to: 1) provide a view of how climate change is affecting ski conditions differently in several resorts across the world; and 2) take a closer look at a few key areas such as the Alps, the Rockies and New Zealand.

Page design

We decided to use a world map as the main structure for the spread which would act as a locator and also contain more specific data about the Winter Olympic sites. I drafted a very quick rough layout with some basic ideas for the graphics and where they would all sit on page (second image from top).

At the start, the graphics included: a global overview of the snow extent in the Northern Hemisphere and how it has dropped over the past decade; the locations of previous Winter Olympic host cities and projections for how reliable the snow conditions will be in 2080; a focus on Aspen Mountain with it’s predicted receding snow line; the forecast for the length of the ski season across resorts in the alps and finally an undecided graphic for ski conditions in New Zealand.

Graphic challenge

For the New Zealand graphic, we finally settled on showing the projected change of the snow depth at two different elevations. I thought this was an opportunity to have some fun with the graphic style so I decided to try a 3D view with the data acting like snow ramps for little snowboarders (bottom image, left).

Unfortunately, the data I used wasn’t quite right for the message we wanted to convey. The ‘correct’ data unfortunately didn’t allow me to create quite the same effect but I wasn’t going to give up that easily!

I only had 3 data points for 3 different projection so in the end I decided to plot these as a 3D model with height on the x-axis and number of snow-days on the z-axis. The y-axis here is technically arbitrary but I thought the final aesthetic worked well and created an interesting visual, highlighting the changing snow conditions in New Zealand (bottom image, right).

The final touch was to change the silhouette snowboarder into a more detailed illustration, jumping off the New Zealand slope.

-Wes Fernandes