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Stories by Jen Christiansen

Subatomic Particles Over Time: Graphics from the Archive, 1952-2015

In the May issue of Scientific American, a familiar friend makes an appearance: a chart of fundamental particles. These particles—fermions (which include constituents of matter such as electrons and quarks) and bosons (usually carriers of force)—are at the very heart of the Standard Model of particle physics...

April 15, 2015 — Jen Christiansen
Math Is Beautiful, But Is It Art?

Math Is Beautiful, But Is It Art?

Every so often, beauty comes up as a topic of conversation in editorial meetings at Scientific American. Surely there’s an article, or series of articles that we can develop on the topic?...

January 27, 2015 — Jen Christiansen

The Murals of Scientific American Founder Rufus Porter

Perhaps the tweet below from editor-in-chief Mariette DiChristina last weekend shouldn’t have been a surprise. After all, I knew that Rufus Porter, founding editor and publisher of Scientific American, was a well-rounded fellow...

January 23, 2015 — Jen Christiansen

Mars' First Close-up

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of NASA’s Mariner IV spacecraft (November 28, 1964). In total, the mission gave us 21 complete images of Mars, including this, our first close view of the planet—courtesy of data transmitted by the interplanetary probe and earth-bound scientists wielding pastels (below)...

November 28, 2014 — Jen Christiansen

Art and Science of the Moiré

I’m a bit obsessed with Scientific American covers, but my knowledge of the archive during the years before my time on staff is broad rather than deep.

September 15, 2014 — Jen Christiansen

Beyond Classic Brain Illustrations That Make Us Drool

I threw down a bit of a challenge last month at the Association of Medical Illustrators Conference in Minnesota. But first, I had to—somewhat unexpectedly—accept some challenges presented by others...

August 13, 2014 — Jen Christiansen

On Climate Surveys, the People Agree—Mostly [Interactive]

It’s interesting to see how different points can pique the interest of different people looking at the same data set. My colleague Mark Fischetti (senior editor and partner-in-crime for many of the Graphic Science items in the magazine) was intrigued by bipartisan agreement on questions related to global warming in the survey results shown in [...]..

April 10, 2014 — Jen Christiansen

How do YOU Visualize the Brain?

Here at Scientific American, we develop lots of infographics about the brain. From classic neural pathway diagrams, depictions of medical breakthroughs, and maps of the brain’s genetic activity, there are as many solutions for visualizing the brain as there are questions about how it works...

April 2, 2014 — Jen Christiansen

Evolution of the Scientific American Logo

Scientific American 's logotype has undergone subtle shifts, large leaps and occasional bouts of nostalgia. The image series below outlines the history of the publication's identity, starting with its debut in August 1845 as weekly devoted primarily to inventions...

March 6, 2014 — Jen Christiansen
Don’t Just Visualize Data—Visceralize It

Don’t Just Visualize DataVisceralize It

The title of this post borrows from ideas presented by Sha Hwang at the Visualized conference in New York City several weeks ago: He kicked off the data-visualization event with a talk that—in effect—challenged the audience to take a step back...

February 18, 2014 — Jen Christiansen
4 Ways to Venus: An Artist's Assignment

4 Ways to Venus: An Artists Assignment

Irving Geis (1908-1997) is probably best known for illustrations of biological macromolecules, such as his groundbreaking watercolor painting of myoglobin—an exhaustive and beautiful portrait of the first properly sorted protein molecule...

January 23, 2014 — Jen Christiansen
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