The power of diagrams. The beauty of diagrams.

SciAm blogger Clarissa Ai Ling Lee reflects on the science and art of visualizing information:

Of course, there were records of politics, observations of particular traditions, and stories of great wars and battles. However, the chronicling of agriculture, astronomy, architecture, engineering, medicine, and mathematics were the ones that contain some of the most interesting diagrammatic mappings, which perhaps grew out of a desire for creating elegant explanations and representations to what were observed.

Introduced in 1880 by John Venn, the diagram allows a geometrical representation of otherwise abstracted logic and algebraic forms, and has many applications in probability theory, topology, abstract algebra, algebraic-geometry, and high-level logic. In fact, the development of the Venn diagram has within it the intention of locating moments of symmetry in all the relationships between the numbers, and such an intention would later be translated into making sense of the microscopic and invisible worlds operating at a scale outside our everyday consciousness, which is where I will be headed to in my next few examples.

Yes, these waters run deep and they do so quickly. But if you take a few minutes to follow along, it’s rewarding stuff.