Fitting Big Science on a Small Page

Distinguished iNANO Lecture by Martin Krzywinski, Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre

2017.08.14 | Trine Møller Hansen

Date Fri 06 Oct
Time 10:15 11:00
Location iNANO Auditorium (1593-012), Gustav Wieds Vej 14, 8000 Aarhus C

Martin Krzywinski

Martin Krzywinski
Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre
British Columbia Cancer Agency
Vancouver, Canada

Fitting Big Science on a Small Page

An exhaustive explanation is an exhausting one. My own goal is to leave the audience energized and motivated to continue to conversation, which should flow naturally beyond the scope of the design. They can always ask for more but they cannot ask for less.

Assuming that a design will act as a first explanation motivates me for the need to distinguish essentials from ever-present modifiers and merely interesting tangents. While everything may indeed be important, initially some things are more important than others. Classifying aspects of the science this way always feels risky—how do I know that I know enough to justify leaving things out?

I will use examples of my designs from the Graphic Science page in Scientific American [1] to create a first explanation of how to approach creating first explanations. What is the right amount of design detail that shows that we share 99% of our DNA with chimps—and does this statement hinder our understanding of evolution? How can I communicate the relationships between diseases and genetic modification specific to certain tissues—is there structure in the data that can inform how it is shown? If the composition of household bacteria vary based on the occupants’ gender and presence of dogs and cats, how do I present all the possible ratio of gender and animals—does the size of the dataset belie the simplicity of the story behind it?


Short bio
Martin Krzywinski is known for his work in bioinformatics and data visualization. He created the Circos graph to display genomic data sets in a way that revealed their inner structure and served as a visually stunning emblem of the new field. His information graphics have appeared in the New York Times, Wired, Scientific American and covers of numerous books and scientific journals. Krzywinski’s work has set a new standard for the presentation of scientific results and established design as a tool of discovery in the research process itself.


Host: Professor Duncan Sutherland, Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center, Aarhus University

Coffee, tea and bread will be served from 10:00 in front of the auditorium

Distinguished iNANO Lectures