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February 10, 2016

A picture is worth a thousand words… but what about a conceptual diagram?

Christina Goethel Often times dissecting and reading a description of a scientific process can be time-consuming, tedious, and frustrating. As visual creatures, paragraphs and paragraphs of words on a page may elude us. To remedy this, we can turn scientific concepts and ideas into different forms of visualizations, diagrams, and pictures. One such visualization tool […]

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October 30, 2014

Communicating science with marine laboratory and field station directors at the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA

I was asked by Mike DeLuca from Rutgers University to present a plenary talk at the annual gathering of the National Association of Marine Laboratories (NAML), which was held jointly with the Organization of Biological Field Stations (OBFS) at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA. The meeting was titled ‘Windows to the World: […]

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September 2, 2014

Louisiana Sea Grant Discovery, Integration and Application initiative (LA DIA)

Tracey Saxby and I traveled to Baton Rouge for a two-day training session for the Louisiana Sea Grant Discovery Integration and Application (LA DIA) scholars. Robert Twilley, Louisiana Sea Grant Director, and his staff helped us develop this training session. Tim Carruthers, the former Program Director for the Integration and Application Network and now working […]

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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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