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The 10 Best Science Images, Videos, And Visualizations Of The Year

Feb 23 2016

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In the News

Presenting the winners of the 2016 Vizzies


By Popular Science Staff

The most exciting areas of science often can’t be seen with the naked eye because the phenomena are too big or too small, too slow or too fast. That’s why we believe it’s worth honoring those who use novel techniques—or create exceptional examples of traditional ones—to present scientific ideas visually. So, for the second year, Popular Science has teamed up with the National Science Foundation to bring you exemplars of information made beautiful. Congratulations to the winners!

How We Selected The Best

A team of experts at the National Science Foundation and Popular Science pared hundreds of submissions to 50 finalists—10 in each of the five categories. From those 50, a panel of outside experts picked five winners. Another panel of experts—that is to say, our readers—chose five People’s Choice winners.

The Expert Judges

David Bolinsky, medical animator and co-founder of e.mersion studios
Martha Harbison, network content editor for the Audubon Society
Eric Klopfer, professor of science education and engineering systems at MIT
Robert Kosara, research scientist at Tableau Software
Miriam Leuchter, editor-in-chief of Popular Photography
Eleanor Lutz, designer and science illustrator behind
Heather B. McDonald, independent biologist and artist
Jan Willem Tulp, head of the data visualization studio TULP Interactive

The Winners


Expert's Choice: Walking In Color, by Daniel M. Harris and John W.M. Bush

People's Choice: American Lobster Larva, by Jesica Waller, Halley McVeigh, and Noah Oppenheim


Expert's Choice & People's Choice: Coral Bleaching: A Breakdown of Symbiosis, by Fabian de Kok-Mercado, Satoshi Amagai, Mark Nielsen, Dennis Liu, and Steve Palumbi

Honorable Mention: Entomology Animated Episode 1: RIFA Madness, by Eric Keller


Expert's Choice: Weedy Seadragon Life Cycle, by Stephanie Rozzo

People's Choice: The FtsZ Ring: A Multilayered Protein Network, by Jennifer E. Fairman


Expert's Choice: A Year in the Life of Earth’s CO2, by Bernhard Jenny, Bojan Šavrič, Johannes Liem, William M. Putman, Kayvon Sharghi, Aaron E. Lepsch, and Patrick Lynch

People's Choice: A Visual Introduction to Machine Learning, by Stephanie Yee and Tony Chu

Posters & Graphics

Expert's Choice: The Trapping Mechanism of the Common Bladderwort, by Wai-Man Chan

People's Choice: Antarctica: A Chromatic Paradox, by Skye Moret

Reporting by Alexandra Ossola and Neel V. Patel


logos of national science foundation and popular scienceThe Vizzies are a project of the National Science Foundation and Popular Science.

This article was originally published in the March/April 2016 issue of Popular Science, under the title “The 2016 Vizzies.”