Notes from the Field

From watching an on-the-spot drawing of a whale skull to learning about the “edutainment” value of comics, cSw’s day at Sci Viz NYC on Friday, December 3rd was stimulating and fascinating. Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai hosted the conference that was co-organized by Scientific American and focused on illustration, biomedical 3D modeling/simulation, data visualization, journalism and design. Here, we heard from a variety of speakers, with topics ranging from Bloomberg’s visualization of climate change to how new research about Pluto and Antarctica can be conceptualized with virtual reality. Keynote speaker Dr. Joy S. Reidenberg discussed the pros and cons of drawing vs. photography for visualizing anatomy, and Jonathan Corum spoke about his work as the science graphics editor at the New York Times.

magnified gut microbiome

Slide of a magnified gut microbiome ink drawing by Kate Shwarting, an interdisciplinary artist who concentrates on projects that intersect both art and science

I loved having the opportunity to engage with several of the presenters, who were eager to hear about our innovative steAm initiative. While each speaker’s topic was unique, they all emphasized one thing over and over again: visuals help to explain and enhance data in ways that words can’t. After attending this event, we hope to utilize the tips and techniques about creative visualization with the cSw Creative Team.

Image Credits

Feature Image: IBM and MIT Help Scientists Study Connection Between Bacteria and Autoimmune Diseases | Author: IBM Research | License: CC BY-ND 2.0

Story Image: Event Photo Taken by Sreya Das

Sreya Das

Author: Sreya Das

As the Creative Team Manager, Sreya uses her enthusiasm for STEM and art to lead the group of graphics editors in finding and creating meaningful images for published articles. She is currently a senior at Marlboro High School (NJ) and has been with cSw since she was a freshman as a graphic editor, contributing writer, and a Social Media Coordinator. Outside cSw, Sreya is a PennApps campus ambassador, and loves studying languages, reading anything and everything from Scientific American to Murakami, and playing the piano.

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    Beautifully written and conceived report. It was a joy to read. Now report on the meaning and significance of the illustration of the gut microbe pictured. I would love to know more about it!

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  2. Avatar

    Thank you for the wonderful compliments, Barbara! I’m glad you enjoyed reading it. The illustration of the gut microbe was drawn with a hand lens by Kate Schwarting, an interdisciplinary artist who concentrates on projects that intersect both art and science. She was one of the speakers with whom we had the opportunity to speak directly, and we loved how approachable she was. We found her drawings meaningful because, aside from the beautiful aesthetic, it was interesting that she was able to use her own experience with Crohn’s disease to find inspiration for her artwork. You can learn more about Schwarting at her website: .

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