Science Visualized

  1. Venus's-flower-basket sea sponge

    How intricate Venus’s-flower-baskets manipulate the flow of seawater

    Simulations show that a deep-sea glass sponge’s intricate skeleton creates particle-trapping vortices and reduces the stress of rushing water.

  2. Glasswing butterfly

    New images clarify how glasswing butterflies make their wings transparent

    Close-up views of glasswing butterflies reveal the secrets behind the insect’s see-through wings: sparse, spindly scales and a waxy coating.

  3. microscope image of plant cells

    Cells cram DNA into the nucleus in two distinct ways

    Heat maps of cell nuclei show that some cells pack chromosomes that look like crumpled balls of paper, while others are neatly stacked.

  4. person walking by an electronic sign in Phoenix that reads 122 degrees and 6:27pm

    The last 30 years were the hottest on record for the United States

    Typical temps across large swaths of the country are now 1 to 2 degrees Fahrenheit higher than their 20th-century averages.

  5. four different types of pasta curled in bowls and uncurled on a black surface
    Materials Science

    Morphing noodles start flat but bend into curly pasta shapes as they’re cooked

    Shape-shifting pasta could potentially cut down on packaging and save space during shipping.

  6. a dramatic reconstruction of an ancient hominid face with coarse black hair

    New depictions of ancient hominids aim to overcome artistic biases

    Artists’ intuition instead of science drive most facial reconstructions of extinct species. Some researchers hope to change that.

  7. microscope image of a fibers in cotton flannel
    Materials Science

    Microscopic images reveal the science and beauty of face masks

    Important insights into the particle-filtering properties of different fabrics also offer a sense of the unseen, textured world of face masks.

  8. a collage of deep sea fish larvae

    Dazzling underwater photos capture new views and scientific detail of fish larvae

    Lab specimens of fish larvae are often mangled and bleached. Divers and researchers have partnered to study their rich colors and intricate bodies.

  9. illustration of slinky structures in archaea dna

    Archaea microbes fold, twist and contort their DNA in extreme ways

    Single-celled archaea open and close their Slinky-like genetic material in a clamshell motion, possibly providing easy access to their genes.

  10. painting of a Neandertal man and child on the Iberian plains

    Finds in a Spanish cave inspire an artistic take on warm-weather Neandertals

    Iberia’s mild climate fostered a host of resources for hominids often pegged as mammoth hunters.

  11. vegetation maps of California regions affected by wildfires

    Color-coded radar maps reveal a patchwork of California wildfire destruction

    A composite made up of fine-scale vegetation maps from different years lets researchers track the story of plant loss and regrowth around Los Angeles.

  12. embroidery of pyramidal neurons

    Famous brain sketches come to life again as embroideries

    A needlework project pays tribute to the iconic drawings of Spanish neuroscientist Santiago Ramón y Cajal.