scale

Zoom Into a Computer Chip poster

This poster features an illustration of a computer chip across ten orders of magnitude, from the computer chip to the atoms of which it is made. Using the conventions of visual perspective the image travels in one continuous “landscape” from the human scale at the top to the atomic scale in the foreground. The illustration is also available without annotation as an image, banner, or poster, and also appears on the "Everything is Made of Atoms" Poster with other parallel zooms into the human bloodstream and butterfly wing.

Zoom Into a Butterfly Wing poster

This illustration shows a butterfly's wing across ten orders of magnitude, from the butterfly to the atoms of which it is made. Using the conventions of visual perspective the image travels in one continuous “landscape” from the human scale at the top to the atomic scale in the foreground. Placing objects from the butterfly's wing in one frame clarifies connections between components, highlighting the system’s reliance on structures at very different scales.

Zoom Into the Human Bloodstream poster

This illustration shows the circulatory system across 10 orders of magnitude. Using the conventions of visual perspective the image travels in one continuous “landscape” from the human scale at the top to the atomic scale in the foreground. Placing objects from the circulatory system in one frame clarifies the connections between components, highlighting the system’s reliance on structures at very different scales. This illustration won the 2008 Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge from NSF and Science magazine!

Scale Ladder

Scale ladders are diagrams that can quickly convey the size of the nanoscale by showing how objects are related by size. Using existing research on understanding size and scale, the Visualization Laboratory carried out a series of experiments to develop effective scale ladders as well as guidelines for their design and use. This diagram can be dropped as is into an exhibition graphic or used as a template and adapted for different content or graphical contexts.

Guidelines for the Design and Use of Scale Ladders

To understand why the nanoscale is different, we need to appreciate just how small it is. One common way to represent the nanoscale visually relies on scale ladders, diagrams that show how objects are related by size. Using existing research on understanding size and scale, the Visualization Laboratory carried out a series of experiments to develop a scale ladder and guidelines for their design and use.

At the Nanoscale

At the Nanoscale is a static component that aims to show just how super small one billionth of a meter, or one nanometer, really is. A Billion Beads is an activity where visitors inspect tubes that hold quantities of one thousand tiny beads, one million beads, and one billion beads. To the naked eye, the tube containing one thousand beads appears nearly empty. Visitors see that the next tube, partially filled, contains one million beads. Finally, to compare, a four-foot tall container nearly full contains approximately one billion beads.

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