WANTED: Your ideas!

By JoAnne Hewett | August 15, 2006 2:03 am

The team behind the popular science magazine Symmetry is having a workshop at SLAC this week with the purpose of designing a good graphical presentation of the Higgs mechanism and Supersymmetry. People have tried this for years and it’s a tall order. Believe me, I know. But if anyone can pull it off, the Symmetry folks can!

I’ve been enlisted as a technical expert – one not only has to design a good graphic, it also has to bring home a technical point – and be technically correct. I consider this a fun challenge and am asking for you – our CV readers – for help! When designing a graphic to entice the interest of the scientifically interested public (not to mention policy makers), what better than to actually ask that audience what they like? So here we are….

To define a place for us all to get started, I asked David Harris, editor-in-chief of Symmetry, to give the top 4 graphics, each, for Higgs and Supersymmetry that are on the market today. And here they are (note these are a collage of the 4 different graphics):

For Higgs,

and for Supersymmetry,

They can be found at the links higgshere, higgshere, higgshere, higgshere, susyhere, susyhere, susyhere, and susyhere.

Let’s all take a few minutes to look critically at these pictures. Gosh – they are actually pretty bad, aren’t they! To be honest, I was shocked (although I have a slight fondness for the SUSY shadow dancing). The Higgs graphics hit me the hardest – I don’t even get the point in some of them, at least not by just looking at the picture without reading the accompanying commentary. I think we, the collective CV readership, can do much better than this! Don’t you!?!? So this is your challenge: please, spout forth your opinions – what do you like about these graphics? what turns you off? what confuses you? what better ideas do you have?

After the workshop, I’ll post the drafts of the new and improved graphics for further comments… And, don’t be shy now, this is your chance to speak up!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Science and the Media
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