New animations

3D-visualization of COVID-19 in different age groups in Denmark

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This animated graph (data-visualization) shows the development of the weekly, COVID-19 incidence (infected per 100.000) in 9 different age-groups in Denmark in the period from week 1 to 45 in 2021.

Info on the graph is in Danish! ‘Uge’ means ‘week’. If you think that it is too slow, you can drag it to week 39 (at 1:18), where it speeds up!

At last, I show how big a part of the population, the different groups make up.

Data sources:

  • COVID-19 numbers: Statens Serum Institut, SSI (
  • Population numbers: Danmarks Statistik (
New illustrations

Marie Hammer – a brilliant, Danish Zoologist!

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Marie Hammer by Ann-Louise Bergström

Another* forgotten and overlooked, brilliant female scientist from the 20th Century:

Marie Hammer (1907-2002) was a Danish zoologist, who – by her extensive collections and studies of microscopic tics named Oribatides and Collemboles – finally confirmed the theory of continental drift, formulated by Alfred Wegner in the early 20th century . The theory of continental drift was extremely controversial at that time, but Marie Hammer discovered the same insect species on five different continents (Europe, North America, South America, Asia and Oceania) and proved that they could not have been spread by water, air, animals nor humans. The only explanation for their dispersed distribution was that the continents had once been together in one great ancient supercontinent; Pangea.

Marie Hammer travelled to an extensive number of countries all over the world (often alone), where she collected samples that she brought home for analysis. She was the only female scientist ever to join the famous, Danish polar explorer Knud Rasmussen, on one of his expeditions to Greenland.

Although she was able to get some (sparse) funding for her travelling activity, she was never offered employment as researcher at any university – even though her extensive contributions were widely acknowledged by the scientific community. Her immensely great work of studying and classifying all the collected species, writing scientific articles and theses, was thus performed at home with her family (husband and four children) around her.

She is surprisingly unknown, searches on the internet do no reveal much about her, although she even wrote a book herself about her adventures. Being a biologist myself, I was very surprised that I – until recently – had never heard of her. I came across her by reading the brilliant book “Kvinden, der samlede verden” by Eva Tind.

Illustration by Ann-Louise Bergström, 2021.


* Also read my earlier post about Inge Lehmann.

New animations

Nobel Prize in medicine/physiology 2021: Receptors of the sensory systems

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WHY is it painful to eat strong chili peppers?

Chili peppers contain the compound CAPSAICINE, which binds to a receptor named TRPV1 in nerve cells. This receptor is not only activated by capsaicine, but also by heat (temperatures about 43° C). Our sensory system is thus tricked to think that we eat or drink something very hot, which is painful.

This discovery is central to this years’ Nobel prize in physiology/medicine (awarded to David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian), which acknowledges the discoveries of the receptors for the somatosensory systems. These systems translates real, physical signals like temperature, pressure or chemical substances into meaningful signals in the brain.

Watch this animated explainer to learn more

New animations

Animation about EEG for Lundbeck

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I have recently made a second version of an animation film about EEG (electroencephalography) for a research group at Lundbeck. This image below shows a snapshot from it (it shows cortical, pyramidal cells firing with different frequencies behind some other, unspecified neurons). The film was shown as part of a presentation at the international IPEG meeting this week (week 43) – and the presenter won a prize for the presentation!

New Data Visualizations

Active fires animation

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I worry a lot about the climate changes and the loss of biodiversity on Earth. NASA have a lot of maps (based on satellite images) that show changes on the Earth. For instance, they have maps that show active fires year by year (back to year 2000). So I made this animation of the rotating Earth – first with night lights to show the location of human citites – and then with active fires in august 2021. I was surprised – and sad – that it was so many places!

Credits/data source: Imagery produced by the NASA Earth Observations team using data courtesy of the MODIS Land Science Team at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

New illustrations

Inge Lehmann

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Inge Lehmann GIF by Ann-Louise Bergström

Inge Lehmann was a Danish seismologist and mathematician, who discovered that the Earth has a solid inner core. She did this through studies and calculations of the spreading of seismologic earthquake waves. She was an amazing woman, but despite her extraordinary talent and great findings, she is almost unknown in Denmark. First after she (in her mid-60ies)  had moved to perform research at Columbia University in US,  she was acknowledged accordingly by the international research community.

She was truly a pioneer – having to struggle in a male-dominated academic world, where women were yet not welcome. Although they could attend universities (at least in Denmark), they could not get academic positions. Inge needed to perform much of her research in her spare time and vacations (in contrast to her relative Niels Bohr, who lived in the same period).

She lived to be 104 years (!) and managed to see her theory about the Earth’s inner core be confirmed by computer calculations. I have made this GIF (of combined 2D and 3D-art) as a tribute to her.

New Data Visualizations

Global Warming

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It’s getting warmer…

Since 1880, the average temperature on Earth has increased – how much, depends on how it is calculated. During the same period, the global sea level has increased with a rapid pace. Moving Science has made an animated visualization that shows the annual anomalies (thus, how much the average, annual temperature for land and ocean diverges from the 19th Century normal) year by year – combined with sea level data – from 1880 to 2020.

Go to data-visualizations to see the full animation.

Many thanks to Brian Dall Schyth, Karen Gunn and Naja Edvards-Krenchel for valuable feedback and good discussions!

Data sources: For global temperatures, NOAA (National Centers for Environmental Information, www, and for global sea level, Copernicus ( and EEA (European Environment Agency,

GlobalWarmingVisualization by Ann-Louise Bergström