Cover art for podcast COMPLEXITY


59 EpisodesProduced by Santa Fe Institute, Michael GarfieldWebsite

Far-reaching conversations with a worldwide network of scientists and mathematicians, philosophers and artists developing new frameworks to explain our universe's deepest mysteries. Join host Michael Garfield at the Santa Fe Institute each week to learn about your world and the people who have dedic… read more


Kirell Benzi on Data Art & The Future of Science Communication

Science has always been about improving human understanding of our universe…but scientists have not always prioritized accessibility of their hard-won results. The deeper research digs into specialized sub-fields and daunting data sets, the greater the divide a team must cross to help communicate their findings not just to the public, but to other scientists.

It is cliché: “A picture’s worth a thousand words.” But it’s the truth: strong visual communication helps readers make the choice to dig into dense manuscripts, and helps journal editors decide whose work gets published in the first place. Good dataviz can get complexity across in less time and with less effort, help public audiences grasp science better and appreciate the beauty that inspired the research to start with.

Deciding how to represent research in graphic form is both a little science and a little art: it takes developing an understanding of what information matters and what doesn’t, and how other people will absorb it. Thus it should come as no surprise that in our noisy era, the data artist rises as a hero of both fields: empowered by technology to bridge dissociated disciplines and help us all learn more and better.

This week’s episode is with Kirell Benzi, a data artist and data visualization lecturer who holds a PhD in Data Science from EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne). Kirell’s work has been shown in outlets as diverse as the Swiss National Museum, Gizmodo, VICE, and In this recording, we discuss his projects mapping the Montreaux Jazz Festival and the Star Wars Extended Universe, the future of neural-network assisted data visualization, and how data art helps with the technical and ethical challenges facing science communication in the 21st Century.

If you enjoy this podcast, please help us reach a wider audience by leaving a review at Apple Podcasts, or sharing the show on social media. Thank you for listening!

Kirell Benzi’s Website

Kirell’s Instagram

Kirell’s SFI seminar on Data Art (video)

“Useful Junk? The Effects of Visual Embellishment on Comprehension and Memorability of Charts” by Scott Bateman, Regan L. Mandryk, Carl Gutwin, Aaron Genest, & David McDine, University of Saskatchewan

Visit our website for more information or to support our science and communication efforts.

Join our Facebook discussion group to meet like minds and talk about each episode.

Podcast Theme Music by Mitch Mignano.

Follow us on social media:

Educational emoji reaction


Interesting emoji reaction


Funny emoji reaction


Agree emoji reaction


Love emoji reaction


Wow emoji reaction




A free podcast app for iPhone and Android

  • User-created playlists and collections
  • Download episodes while on WiFi to listen without using mobile data
  • Stream podcast episodes without waiting for a download
  • Queue episodes to create a personal continuous playlist
RadioPublic on iOS and Android
Or by RSS
RSS feed

Connect with listeners

Podcasters use the RadioPublic listener relationship platform to build lasting connections with fans

Yes, let's begin connecting
Browser window

Find new listeners

  • A dedicated website for your podcast
  • Web embed players designed to convert visitors to listeners in the RadioPublic apps for iPhone and Android
Clicking mouse cursor

Understand your audience

  • Capture listener activity with affinity scores
  • Measure your promotional campaigns and integrate with Google and Facebook analytics
Graph of increasing value

Engage your fanbase

  • Deliver timely Calls To Action, including email acquistion for your mailing list
  • Share exactly the right moment in an episode via text, email, and social media
Icon of cellphone with money

Make money

  • Tip and transfer funds directly to podcastsers
  • Earn money for qualified plays in the RadioPublic apps with Paid Listens