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Hardcover | $46.95 Trade | £32.95 | ISBN: 9780262014458 | 272 pp. | 13 x 11 in | 600 color illus.| September 2010

Atlas of Science

Visualizing What We Know


Cartographic maps have guided our explorations for centuries, allowing us to navigate the world. Science maps have the potential to guide our search for knowledge in the same way, allowing us to visualize scientific results. Science maps help us navigate, understand, and communicate the dynamic and changing structure of science and technology—help us make sense of the avalanche of data generated by scientific research today. Atlas of Science, featuring more than thirty full-page science maps, fifty data charts, a timeline of science-mapping milestones, and 500 color images, serves as a sumptuous visual index to the evolution of modern science and as an introduction to “the science of science”—charting the trajectory from scientific concept to published results.

Atlas of Science, based on the popular exhibit, “Places & Spaces: Mapping Science”, describes and displays successful mapping techniques. The heart of the book is a visual feast: Claudius Ptolemy’s Cosmographia World Map from 1482; a guide to a PhD thesis that resembles a subway map; “the structure of science” as revealed in a map of citation relationships in papers published in 2002; a visual periodic table; a history flow visualization of the Wikipedia article on abortion; a globe showing the worldwide distribution of patents; a forecast of earthquake risk; hands-on science maps for kids; and many more. Each entry includes the story behind the map and biographies of its makers.

Not even the most brilliant minds can keep up with today’s deluge of scientific results. Science maps show us the landscape of what we know.

About the Author

Katy Börner is Victor H. Yngve Professor of Information Science, Leader of the Information Visualization Lab, and Founding Director of the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center at Indiana University Bloomington. She is the author of Atlas of Science: Visualizing What We Know and the coauthor of Visual Insights: A Practical Guide to Making Sense of Data, both published by the MIT Press.


“...I am enthusiastic about this exhibition. For anyone interested in visualization, maps or science, it is a veritable cornucopia and the author is to be congratulated for the imagination and energy she has put into the project.”—Professor Tom Wilson, Editor-in-Chief, Information Research
“This book and its complementary online exhibit are recommended as an educational source for getting a broader understanding of scientific visualization...This book is recommended for high school, academic, and large public libraries and it should be on the shelves of those interested in the connection between the graphic arts and the sciences.”—Nestor L. Osorio, Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship
“This book has a wide potential audience, including laypersons interested in science, undergraduates, graduate students, and practitioners. It should also adorn coffee tables in science departments around the world.”—R.A. Kolvoord, James Madison University CHOICE


“Featuring one unique and intriguing visual design after another, Atlas of Science illustrates the origin and evolution of science mapping.”
Chaomei Chen, Drexel University, author of Mapping Scientific Frontiers
“In today’s confusing and fast-changing world, if we are to shape our children’s lives for the best, it is essential that we understand what science is thinking, where it’s coming from, and where it’s going. This fascinating, lucid, brilliantly illustrated book shows us all that.”
James Burke, author of Connections
“Science is a voyage of discovery and Katy Börner has provided its first atlas. This excellent book offers a compendium of all that is best in explaining visual maps of our scientific knowledge.”
Michael Batty, University College London, author of Cities and Complexity: Understanding Cities with Cellular Automata, Agent-Based Models, and Fractals (MIT Press)


Honorable Mention, 2010 American Publishers Award for Professional and Scholarly Excellence (PROSE Award) in the Single Volume Reference--Science category