Gravity visualized in physics demo

Posted to Visualization  |  Tags: , ,  |  Nathan Yau

Dan Burns explains some properties of time and space using marbles and two large pieces of spandex sewn together in a classroom demonstration.

Physics and me never got along in high school and college, but I did always enjoy the low-budget demonstrations. It’s one thing to see calculations on paper. It’s another when the professor sets up a stuffed monkey on one side of the room and then shoots a sock out of a pressurized cannon angled at the trajectory you just calculated to make sure the sock hits the monkey on its way down from ceiling height.

Of course you can look it up on YouTube:

In retrospect, shooting a monkey falling out of a tree seems kind of wrong.

And while we’re at it, I always liked this demo too. A bicycle wheel gyroscope hangs from a rope, and when it spins its axis stays horizontal like magic.

MIT has a 43-demo playlist if you need something to watch during your lunch hour.


Causes of Death

There are many ways to die. Cancer. Infection. Mental. External. This is how different groups of people died over the past 10 years, visualized by age.

Reviving the Statistical Atlas of the United States with New Data

Due to budget cuts, there is no plan for an updated atlas. So I recreated the original 1870 Atlas using today’s publicly available data.

The Best Data Visualization Projects of 2011

I almost didn’t make a best-of list this year, but as I clicked through the year’s post, it was hard …

Years You Have Left to Live, Probably

The individual data points of life are much less predictable than the average. Here’s a simulation that shows you how much time is left on the clock.