An occasional blog about recent projects
Beware the flood!
This was fun little project for the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) all about the different types of flooding. The visuals were a initially inspired by the game Minecraft, but then strayed away a bit...
The big infographic above was printed in NERC's splendid 'Planet Earth' magazine, but we also developed a series of cards that can be downloaded, printed off and used in schools and the like. If your a teaching sort of person, you can download them here.
Institute of Physics awards
It was my great pleasure to be asked by the Institute of Physics (IoP) to provide some information graphic posters to form part of their displays for their annual awards ceremony. It was my job to explain the work of the ‘Early Career’ award winners – Dr Alexandra Olaya-Castro, Dr Jacopo Bertolotti and Professor Malte Gather.
Although the winners were all a joy to work with, explaining their work in such a short format (relative to its complexity) presented its own challenges – partly because, being (by its very nature) new research, much had never been explained in (almost) layman’s visuals before.
Still, who couldn't be honoured to be working on something tied to such illustrious names as Maxwell, Moseley and Paterson!
Anyway, here’s how they came out…
Welcome to Planet NERC!
Wanting a visual finishing touch to round off their ‘Into the Blue’ showcase exhibition, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) asked me to produced a poster that would visually demonstrate the full breadth of their work and the various scientific institutions that operate under the NERC banner. This is what I came up with…
They also requested a more visual, or logo-like, interpretation that could be used as a floor-based focal point and be easily shared through social media.
This is what they looked like in the wild…
Here's a jolly little infographic poster describing how ocean gliders work. These ingenious little ocean-probing submersibles are self-powered and can operate autonomously for months at a time. This was also produced as part of the Natural Environment Research Council's (NERC) 'Into the Blue' showcase.
They say that variety is the spice of life – if that's the case, then my working life is very spicy indeed. One of the great joys of what I do is that I never know what the subject of my next project will be.
Some days I find myself trying to find a way to tangibly illustrate one of the many intangible quirks of quantum mechanics – often trying to come up with a visual interpretation of a concept that, by its very nature, defies visual interpretation. And, while these projects are often the most fun to get your teeth into, it is sometimes nice to have something a little more tangible to chew on.
In this case, I was asked by the Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) to provide an infographic explaining how their flagship meteorological aircraft works.
The FAAM (Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements) infographic featured in NERC's Planet Earth magazine and in their 'Into the Blue' showcase exhibition.
Comet hunting for Sky at Night
To mark the launch of NASA's comet-hunting OSIRIS-REX spacecraft, I was asked by BBC Sky at Night magazine to provide an infographic for their September issue. I also wrote a few words to go along with it.
Since the publication of my books – How to Build a Universe and Science But Not As We Know It – my science writing has taken a bit of a back seat to the infographics, so it was nice to stretch the old typing muscles once again.
Hands on Universe – The Poster!
I was also asked by the STFC to design a poster to accompany the Hands on Universe educational pack. This was the result.
Hands on Universe
I was approached by the delightful folk at the Science and Technology Research Council (STFC) to redevelop some of their educational materials. First on the list was a reworking of their ‘Hands on Universe’ activity pack.
It was supposed to appeal to students between the ages of 7 and 11, the existing design (below) was a bit… well, it was bit dated.
The content for the new pack was provided by the STFC, Royal Observatory Greenwich, and National Space Centre – along with some improvisation from myself.
Redesigning the content was great fun and I roped in my super-talented daughter, Jay Gilliland, to design some characters to give my infographics a bit more kiddy appeal.
Both myself, the STFC, and the schools it was intended for, were rather pleased with the result.
Ben Gilliland is a freelance science writer, graphic journalist, illustrator and author with more than 20 years of experience. This is where he talks about work he has done... on the off-chance anyone is interested.