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Beautiful Science, Useful Art: Data Visualization Through History


Friday, May 12, 2017 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

In today’s hyper-visual society, our modern eyes have adjusted to data visualizations and infographics in many forms. The Information Age generates masses of data in a vast number of fields, including business, science, medicine, engineering, government, and social sciences. In response, humans have continually developed new graphic methods to push the boundaries of a powerful new visual rhetoric and to make these complex data more understandable to human eyes.


From its earliest origins over two centuries ago, the purpose of data visualization has been to make information easier to understand through visual presentation and arrangement. This exhibit explores how that mission has endured and adapted to new technologies, social conditions, cultural values, and cognitive advances, and how these elements have literally shaped how we see information. By examining historical data visualizations in the context of their creation, we investigate how the practice of visualizing data has inspired new insights in numerous fields, and encouraged collaboration across disciplinary boundaries. We will look closely at four elements constant to the endeavor of data visualization since its genesis: Integrity, Beauty, Utility, and Novelty.


Using historical visualizations chosen from the extensive manuscript, archival, and rare book collections of the Special Collections and Archives Research Center, we will trace these elements over two centuries and diverse subject areas, including geology, history, economics, religion, climatology, medicine, art, and more. By exploring the history of data visualization, we may get a glimpse of its provocative future.

The Special Collections and Archives Research Center Gallery is open from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. 


Valley Library (campus map)
Special Collections and Archives Research Center
121 Valley Library
Corvallis
OR
Anne Bahde
5417372083
anne.bahde at oregonstate.edu
Special Collections and Archives Research Center
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