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March 13, 2014

The poetry and art of Alexander von Humboldt

‘Scientists who made a difference‘ series This blog accompanies the biographical sketch of Alexander von Humboldt that Bill Nuttle recently posted provides a selection of his writings as poetry and one of his scientific sketches as art. The ‘Poetry’ uses von Humboldt’s exact words (translated from German) in prose form to focus on cadence and […]

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March 11, 2014

Conceptual Diagrams Can Get You Places

‘Scientists who made a difference‘ series Alexander von Humboldt became world famous by illustrating how nature works. If you ever get to Humboldt, Nebraska (40°9′54″N 95°56′45″W) you will have gotten someplace special. Humboldt lies almost exactly at the geographic center of the Mississippi River watershed; motto: “Heartbeat of the Heartland.” It is also one of […]

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December 31, 2013

Visual science communication: Using data visualization, conceptual diagrams and photographs to convey science information

Science communication using visual elements can convey unambiguous information that words cannot. Words are often used by lawyers and journalists to argue cases or make points – science is an attempt to base arguments on all the facts available, not just the ‘convenient’ facts used to support an argument. Words can be interpreted in a […]

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December 3, 2013

Ten classic conceptual diagrams: Powerful examples of communicating knowledge

Classic conceptual diagrams are those ‘thought drawings’ that have been judged over time to be effective ways to communicate knowledge. Classic diagrams are emulated repeatedly and appear in text books and in popular media. In order to select a diverse top ten list from many worthy candidates, I selected a representative diagram from different fields […]

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October 24, 2013

Symbols: A universal and effective technique for communication

The use of symbols in the various conceptual diagrams that the Integration and Application Network staff have been employing as part of science communication taps an ancient and effective communication technique. Symbols are universal, transcending cultural and language barriers, as demonstrated by the global adoption of the IAN symbol libraries. I recently experienced two examples […]

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March 22, 2013

Top ten conceptual diagrams: Seagrasses, streams, eco-rhythms

Conceptual diagrams are ‘thought drawings’ that use symbols to convey meaningful ecological information. The IAN symbol library was created in order that more people would be able to produce conceptual diagrams. Between the Marine Botany Group at the University of Queensland and the IAN team, the Science Communicators have produced over a thousand conceptual diagrams […]

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April 4, 2012

How to trace a photo in Illustrator into a vector symbol – an interactive tutorial

The Integration and Application Network’s symbol libraries have been developed over many years by various science communicators. In our attempts to build a global symbol language, we also welcome high quality contributions from anyone with relevant, high quality vector illustrations. Recent software enhancements like Adobe Illustrator’s Live Trace Tool make it possible to instantly convert […]

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March 28, 2012

Innovations in Environmental Synthesis, Reporting and Governance: Part 12 – Questions From the Seminar

QUESTION: Hi, Adam from the Department of Environment. Thanks for the presentation. One of the key messages I got which was really cool was that you think that it’s important to synthesize as you go through the research. I want to know the challenges in terms of synthesizing and sharing knowledge and data before publishing. […]

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March 26, 2012

Innovations in Environmental Synthesis, Reporting and Governance: Part 11 – Conclusion

One of the things I would like to leave this conference with is some ideas about how we can collaborate between Chesapeake Bay and Australia. Let’s figure out how we can collaborate and work together.  I’ll give you an example that I’ve thought up with some other folks at the University of Queensland. We can […]

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March 23, 2012

Innovations in Environmental Synthesis, Reporting and Governance: Part 10 – Innovations in Governance/BaySTAT

This is where Governor O’Malley came in and he created BayStat. This was based on tracking nutrient and sediment reductions. Our eutrophication problem is over-enrichment of nutrients creating dissolved oxygen “dead zones”. O’Malley puts together an interesting assortment of people. We sit on a monthly basis with the Secretary of Natural Resources, the Secretary of […]

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