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Blender scientific poster wins NSF award


A scientific poster from a team at the French Condensed Matter Theoretical Physic Lab has won an award by the American National Science Foundation (NSF). Congratulations, guys!

Wong Hua wrote:

We are a team working in the LPTMC (Condensed Matter Theoretical Physic Lab) a lab from the university Paris VI. [This image has] won a semi-finalist award at the NSF's Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge 2008. Click here to see the high-res version.

The submitted images are not only judged for their artistic quality but also for their scientific content relevance.

It represents a hypothetical structure that is suspected to exists inside the cell's nucleus, and we gathered a lot of structural data to build this first model.

Rendered with Blender internal renderer and no special filters or lighting. Poster legends and explanation made using inkscape. Some tweaking with GIMP.

We will try again next year and play to win this time. With Blender of course!

Credit for the work goes to Julien Mozziconacci and Hua Wong under the supervision of Jean-Marc Victor.

About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. From small-scale studios to freelancers to research labs...blender seems to be going everywhere....

    and congrats to Wong Hua and his team...seems like u guys spent a lot of time in the research...
    all the best for your future projects

  2. aws357 (a.k.a. wong hua) on

    Hey, thanks for the comments. We are glad to know you love the picture !

    Indeed it took some time to render, but it's not excessively long either (around half an hour).

    Python was used to automatize some tasks like building the chromatin fibers (the purple and green spirally things)... otherwise it was mostly graphical modeling.

    One of the thing I would love to witness is Blender becoming a mandatory tool for researchers because it's so useful (and free meaning that instead of wasting your funds on Maya or Max you can use them for actual research stuffs)...

    Anyway. I'm sure that in two years researchers will have no more excuses for inserting crappy figures in publications and lectures !

    Go Blender ! And thanks to all the blender community.

  3. Well done.

    It is the best presentation of the globin b transcription I have seen so far.

    I am an ex laboratory technician and like to keep up to date. This is impressive by any standards.

    I look forward to someday maybe seeing the day, I see Blender plugins for scientific packages. That would really help science teaching.

    I know how hard it is to compete at the level of the national science foundation. Perfection is demanded. The skill, planning, ability and imagination invovled in this are to be commended.

    Thank you for giving me something from I can put on the scientific forums to show Blender's capabilities.

    I look forward to the day when presentations in textbooks like Campbells Biology and the Journal Nature are regulary done in Blender.

    This is very impressive work. You really do deserve the award without question.

  4. Just to add to my previous statement.

    I have been thinking. I know that is dangerous.

    This is just me thinking out loud. Hope it is not to crazy an idea.

    If Blender plugins were available for Mathmatica and Origin, Blender would become very quickly established in scientific circles.

    Blender is cross platorm. A lot of laboratories are cross platform as well. Linux, Unix, Windows, OSX, etc are all used.

    Blender modelling plugins for scientific software packages would be very good to have.

    As a laboratory technician, could you imagine having a 3D modelling plugin on your data capture software? So much time and money could be saved when going for peer reviewed paper publication on that alone, it would be an incredible saving.

    Feeding data directly from xray diffraction analysis, chormatography, visual observation, inferred data or anything else, would remove so much unnecessary cost and workhours, it would have the potential to streamline scientific research in science publishing, funding applications and research analysis.

    The cross platorm ability of Blender, makes it perfect for the scientific arena.

    Just a thought, which maybe some Blender developers may wish to consider for the future.

    If someone wanted to really push it as far as possible. You do know Blender could potentially replace Mathmatica and Origin in the laboratories for quite a few applications.

  5. Occulus wrote,

    Nemesis: Your last comment = win.
    This should be done. Immediately.

    It is win, but it would be very difficult.

    Blender has the programmers. The thing is, it is not an easy task by any standard.

    If Blender could be developed with lab work in mind, that would put Blender on the map, permanently.

    Also it would increase productivity in scientific circles, which can only be a good thing.

    Blender is a program which I believe will come into its own in physics laboraties, particulary now that Cadarache/ITER is on the cards.

    Maya/Max are to expensive for thousands of schools and students. ITER is going to be of major interest for 10's of thousands of physics students, journalists, politicans, energy suppliers, industrialists, etc.

    Also, now that the Human Genome Project is morphing into the Human Protenomic Project, literally 100,000's of researchers around the world are going to need 3D modellers for biochemical interaction modelling.

    The viewers that are used to view biochemical units, such as proteins are very limited. A prgram that can show them in 3D and be used to model new biochemical units will revolutionise the entire area of molecular biology.

    Regarding my ideas above, can you imagine information from data capture in for example a xray analysis of a protein, going directly into a prgram that is is a 3D program like Blender.

    The productivity jump that would give in a laboratory, would be incredible. It would actually help streamline research, freeing up scientists and particulary technicians in the laboratory.

    It would have the potential to revolutionise molecular biology, applied genetics and medical science.

    I hope some people in blender development take a look at these ideas.

    Can you imagine Blender 3. Maybe not just for animation, but also motion capture, nurbs modelling, architechural design, molecular biology, genetics, nuclear phycis modelling, engineering, CAD/CAM, presentations and for teaching.

    I have watched Blender mature over the last couple of years, from when it came from Not a Number to what it is now. I think this program is going to go farther than most realise.

    It is one of the reasons, that every book that comes out on Blender I purchase. I am moving over from all other programs to Blender, because I recognise the potential.

    I have been training myself with the tutorials available from the links from the Blender site. My interest is animation, but also in the back of my mind is scientific applications. The potential of the program is enormous.

    In January, I am purchasing 12gig of DDR3, 2gig graphics card, an X58 motherboard and new processor. That is purely to use Blender. It might sound like overkill, but I am looking at creating some very large meshes with very large textures as well as trying to be future proof. I am not well of, so any purchases have to be planned in advance. I have already paid about 200 euros for books are related materials.

    I am looking to see where I can really go with Blender. I am starting to wonder if the imagination is the only real limit.

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