Let me introduce myself.

My name is Phil, and I'm a PhD candidate from The University of Sydney.  I also have a top-up scholarship with CSIRO, the Australian government science and industry research organisation -- you may have heard of some of their inventions... like WiFi.

My research is into infoVis, specifically looking at different types of 'visualisation for the masses' or, as I'm calling it Non-Expert User Visualisation: NEUVis.  It is different from visualising for the domain-expert user, such as the scientist, and I think we need to treat it differently.

So I'm interested in this community, especially finding out who else is interested in infoVis.  I think the art community has a lot to offer science through collaboration and dissemination of accurate, engaging, and relevant scientific research.

I've been putting together some reports recently as part of the 'probation' presentation at the end of my first year of research.  I found a recent Aussie example which illustrates why I think this NEUVis thing I'm looking into is timely, and important.

September 19, 2013: The Climate Commission, an Australian government commission was abolished.  It was established in February 2011 to provide authoritative, apolitical, accurate, and easy to understand information to the Australian public on all aspects of climate change

September 24, 2013: Former Chief Commissioner, Prof. Tim Flannery relaunched the organisation as an independent body; the Climate Council.  Prof. Flannery said in an interview "...we will have have to work hard to maintain funding." This funding was to be crowdsourced.  The first donation was $15.

By mid-afternoon on day one, the Australian public had donated $160,000.  This was one tenth of their former budget.

October 5, 2013: 20,000 donations later, $1,000,000 had been raised.  That's an average of $50.

20,000 people gave money to revive an organisation whose sole function is to provide authoritative, apolitical, accurate and easy to understand information on climate change.  This is not slaktivism -- clicking a button on an online petition -- but people deciding that it is worth investing money in access to this kind of information.  So I'm looking forward to the kind of work that the Climate Council and other organisations do.  The public needs to be informed, and designers and artists should be involved.

I'd love to hear about other artists, designers, and researchers in this field, so I've started a group.  I'm interested in NEUVis working with scientists, but I'm sure that people visualising any data could benefit from the community.  If that sounds like you, why not join the group?

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Comment by Cynthia Beth Rubin on January 14, 2014 at 6:18pm

This description of making science concepts accessible to a broader public is really fascinating - I would love to hear form others on how they envision their work as the means to inform the general conversation on climate change.     At SIGGRAPH2013 we showed Traces: Plankton on the Move in the Art Gallery.   I created a version that loops seamlessly for that show - so that instead of looking a plankton for 5 seconds, people get pulled into looking for 3-5 minutes or longer.  The music by Jerry Fishenden really helped keep viewers' attention. 

The link above is to the non-looping version.  

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