The Best Images from the 2010 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge

Created from a variety of sources in virology, X-ray analysis, and NMR spectroscopy, the spatial configurations of the the proteins are depicted in accordance with the most advanced understandings of their three-dimensional structures. This image won first prize in the illustrations category. Image courtesy of Ivan Konstantinov, Yury Stefanov, Aleksander Kovalevsky, Yegor Voronin – Visual Science Company

We’re always suckers for a good art/science mashup, so perhaps it’s no surprise that we’re feeling pretty good about today’s release of the 2010 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge winners. This year’s winning entries included
the most detailed 3-D model of the HIV virus ever made (above), a sweeping infographic primer on the many ways fungi impact our lives, and a non-interactive media project that tracked 3,000 pieces of garbage from their origins in Seattle to destinations across the U.S.

Click to launch the photo gallery

The competition, sponsored by the journal Science and the National Science Foundation, annually recognizes visualizations that engage viewers by leveraging science in interesting and novel ways. Winners are supposed to exhibit not only originality and artistry, but also an effectiveness at communication scientific ideas and creating awareness.

The winners will be featured in a cover story in an issue of Science publishing tomorrow, but we went ahead and gathered some of our favorites here. Click through the gallery link to see some of the best science imagery the last year had to offer.