Ionic Magazine – Issue 2

Biology, Illustration, In the press

Visualizing scientific breakthroughs
Ionic Magazine is an online publication, which aims to bridge the gap between science and art, by pairing up science writers and illustrators to create an engaging publication full of creativity and imagination.
We produced an illustration for Issue 2, to accompany an article on vascular disrupting agents.  These drugs are used disrupt the production of blood vessels around tumours – blood vessels which the tumour cells drive the growth of, to feed their insatiable demand for nutrients.

Read Issue 2
See our illustration on Flickr

Quantum Computing Illustrations

Engineering, Illustration, In the press, Physics

Illustrating quantum computing is always a challenge.  Information theory, optic benches and quantum weirdness don’t lend themselves easily to beautiful illustrations.  But that was the task given to us by the “Institut für Quantenoptik und Quanteninformation” at the University of Vienna, for their paper which has been accepted into Science.
Their paper describes a method of “Blind Quantum Computing”.  In a world where Quantum Computers are large, expensive, and are used to process sensitive data (e.g. financial transactions, secure communications), the authors anticipate that it will be necessary to perform these computations remotely, on a third party’s computer.  Blind computing involves encoding your data in such a way that they can be encrypted, sent, processed while encrypted, the result sent back and then the result decrypted.  At all stages on the remote computer the data are hidden and secure.  The paper describes and demonstrates a method for performing such a series of operations using quantum-entangled clusters of qubits.

The Arxiv pre-print paper:

On the Cover of Science Magazine

Biology, Engineering, Illustration, In the press

This week, Science magazine have a special edition on Synthetic Biology, in which they: “explore the breadth of this field and how the construction of new biological systems might be harnessed to serve humanity”.
And they feature our illustration on the cover!  This is where art, science and Lego combine….  Synthetic biology is a field close to our heart, and we’ve previously worked on a range of illustrations and animations.

Equinox Graphics on the cover of Science

Synthetic Biology special issue:
About the cover:
Our previous animations on Synthetic Biology:

NSF/Science Sci-Vis contest

Biology, Illustration, In the press

This month, Science magazine publishes its annual feature on science and engineering visualisation, which is a fiercely competitive and prestigious arena for the world’s science communicators.
Scientists, illustrators, computer game companies, TV companies and new media producers compete to showcase their work and raise the bar for communication of science and engineering concepts for the purposes of public engagement and education.
We are delighted to announce that we have been selected for an honourable mention in the illustration category, for our illustration of a Bacteriophage doing what it does best: attacking a bacterium!

Bacteriophage Virus

The image was produced in around a week, including some modelling, texturing, lighting, rigging, composition, and retouching work, producing the above image at 7500 x 4500 pixels.
Our reference material (of real bacteriophages – we’re not making this stuff up!)

A1 poster-sized reproductions are available on request, priced at £70 including VAT and delivery – please contact
Our image (and animations) can be licensed from our collection held at Science Photo Library, or we are happy to take commissions for new visualisations.
The imaginatively titled “International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge”, in association with the NSF, forms part of the February 2011 issue of Science, which is available now. As they say, “To illustrate is to enlighten.”
Science minisite:
NSF site:
Direct link to PDF of the illustration category:

Fractal science

Illustration, Just for fun

Ok, not so much of the science in this post – but still very pretty.  Apophysis is a fractal flame generator, which essentially takes the usual Julia, Mandlebrot, etc. fractals, and puts them through a series of geometric transforms to create some interesting patters (for those of you obsessed with 3D: YES YOU CAN RENDER THEM IN STEREO!)
So they’re based on science (maths), but Apophysis turns this into an artistic tool.  Bit hit and miss, as there will be very few people capable of understanding the maths to a high enough level to produce exactly the artistic image they have in mind.  For us cerebrally challenged mortals, there’s a randomiser, mutation selector and some tweaking.  Got patience?  Luck?  You’re in the right place.
Here’s a mixture of the more “scientifically interpretable” images, and some arty ones.

Lego building blocks (a.k.a. DNA)

Biology, Illustration, Just for fun

OK, well here’s something I’m sure you’ve all wanted to do – build cool sciencey stuff out of Lego…..
I’m sure this isn’t the way real Lego builders do it, but should be possible to get some really cool (and really precise effects). Imagine taking any 3D model, sculpture, CAD model, and recreating a scale model.
Here’s an example.  (1) Build a 3D model.  (2) Convert it to 3D Lego bricks using Rob Abbott’s excellent Legoizer Lscript. (3) Write some code to manipulate the data into a human usable form. (4-5) Export 155 image files, detailing each layer of the structure.  Hey presto, usable building instructions to recreate any shape out of Lego  🙂
The building instructions show the position of bricks in each layer, and faded depiction of the layer below for reference.  Right, got some Lego arriving in the post, let’s see how it looks for real….

DNA 3D model
(1) DNA 3D model
DNA Lego model
(2) DNA Lego model
code monkey
(3) Some custom Lscript…
Building instructions layer 15
(4) Building instructions layer 15


Building instructions layer 49
(5) Building instructions layer 49