Brown CS News

NSF 2007 International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge Winners Announced - David J. Willis and Mykhaylo Kostandov of Brown Receive First Place in Informational Graphics

The National Science Foundation (NSF) along with the journal Science, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), announced the winners of their fifth annual International Science and Technology Visualization Challenge.

Illustrators, photographers, computer programmers, and graphics specialists from around the world were invited to submit visualizations that would intrigue, explain and educate. More than 200 entries were received from 23 countries, representing every continent except the Arctic and Antarctica.

"Breakthroughs in science and engineering are often portrayed in movies and literature as 'ah-ha!' moments. What these artists and communicators have given us are similar experiences, showing us how bats fly or how nicotine becomes physically addictive," said Jeff Nesbit, director of NSF's Office of Legislative and Public Affairs. "We look at their visualizations, and we understand."

Winning entries can be viewed on the NSF Web site (, the Science website (, and in the print issue of Science.

INFORMATIONAL GRAPHICS First Place: Modeling the Flight of a Bat Credit: Kenneth S. Breuer, David J. Willis, Mykhaylo Kostandov, Daniel K. Riskin, Jaime Peraire, David H. Laidlaw, Sharon M. Swartz Brown University

Most short-nosed fruit bats (Cynopterus brachyotis) spend their nights flitting about in the jungles of Southeast Asia. However, some of the tiny creatures, which weigh less than 50 grams fully grown, lead an altogether different existence: flitting about in wind tunnels under the watchful eyes of aerodynamics researchers. Interested in the tiny mammals' flight dynamics, Brown University engineer Kenneth Breuer used lasers and a sophisticated multicamera motion-tracking system to record how their wings and the air around them distorted as the animals flapped against the wind. Based on the experiments, aeronautical engineer David Willis, who has a joint appointment at Brown and MIT, Brown computer scientist Mykhaylo Kostandov, and their colleagues created a computer model of bat flight--visually conveyed in this poster. "When viewed in slow motion," says Willis, "bat flight is beautiful and complex. The goal of this illustration is to capture that beauty while also adding scientific merit."

Next entry

Previous entry