GIFs in science

Bryan Jones, an editor of Webvision, recently put up an interesting post about the use of GIFs as a way to illustrate scientific ideas. I’m passing this idea along, for what it’s worth.

GIFs are used to create a short animation sequence, which is an interesting approach to story-telling. It could be a powerful tool, and an excellent challenge as well, to try to communicate a scientific concept in a short visual story. From Jones’ article, “In addition to their long history on the Internet, .gif files have wide support and are incredibly portable.  (The history of the gif is summarized nicely here on a PBS Off Book video on Youtube)”.

Related Links:

  • From Nature.com, an article called “Points of view: Storytelling” by Martin Krzywinski and Alberto Cairo, talks about ways to relate your data to the world around them using the age-old custom of telling a story.
  • This episode of RadioLab, called “Happy Birthday Good Dr. Sacks” which features Dr. Oliver Sacks, discussed the importance of telling an interesting story while reporting good science.