Prizewinning neuroart

Science illustrator Graham Johnson won first prize in the 2005 Visualization Challenge from Science magazine with his beautiful image The Synapse Revealed. Based on brain slice microscopy, he used a combination of pencil drawing and computer manipulation to produce the final result.

The resulting image is a careful balance between precision and beauty. Because the original data were so complex, Johnson cut the number of neuron interactions depicted to only 30% of the original data--"otherwise, it's just a mass of spaghetti in front of you," he says.

"It gives us the information we need, but at the same time brings an aesthetic, a refinement," says panel of judges member Felice Frankel. "That's really important: to get the viewer to want to look--and then to ask questions."

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