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Visualizing Science: The Art of Communicating Science

1200 New York Ave, N.W., Washington, DC

This event has passed, but you can watch the video.


September 18, 2018
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Light refreshments to follow


In conjunction with “Visualize: Art Revealing Science” now on display in the AAAS Art Gallery

Art and science have always formed a natural partnership. Scientific illustrators blend the skills of the fine artist with a deep knowledge of science, coupled with an intangible ability to help people understand complex ideas. Their works have visually described new species, demonstrated complex natural and technological processes and concepts, and have enabled us to see the microscopic and the cosmic.

With the development of new technologies, these specialized artists have become science communicators, both for the scientific community and for the public. Museums, magazines, interactive media and book publishers all need this form of visual art to entertain and to educate. Come meet four very different visual science communicators and a Smithsonian scientist who collaborates with artists to create the important fusion of science and art.

Moderator, Panelist

Sally Bensusen is a seasoned scientific illustrator, educational trainer, and former astronomer. Her work has been commissioned by the National Geographic Society, National Science Foundation, Smithsonian Magazine, Scientific American and Natural History Magazine. Bensusen currently designs and illustrates science-informative materials for NASA.


Alice Tangerini is a Staff Illustrator for the Botany Department at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, where she has been specializing in drawing plants since 1972. Her illustrations appear in scientific periodicals, floras, and botanical and nature books. Alice also teaches classes and presents lectures on botanical illustration and juries shows in botanical gardens and in academic institutions. Her responsibilities in the department also include managing and curating an extensive collection of botanical illustrations.        

Diana Marques has been a visual science communicator for nearly 15 years. Her illustrations, animations and infographics can be seen in postal stamps from the United Nations, on some of the major museums and in many scientific journals. Diana recently completed her Ph.D. in Digital Media researching augmented reality technology as a science communication tool at the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum.

Britt Griswold, is a science illustrator, working 26 years for NASA Goddard in Greenbelt, Maryland. His job requires a jack-of-all-trades approach for communicating science data and concepts for his customers. Freelance clients include National Geographic Books & Smithsonian Institution.

Kenneth Wurdack is a Research Scientist and Associate Curator of botany at the National Museum of Natural History concentrating on the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae), which includes poinsettia, cassava, and rubber and, subsequently, has discovered and described new plant species from remote places in Guyana, Peru and Madagascar. Kenneth frequently incorporates DNA-based data in his research and holds a Ph.D. in plant systematics from UNC-Chapel Hill.

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