I love research papers. But I understand not everyone shares my fascination with the academic form of writing. Some people have told me when they are asked to read a scientific article, they wish they had this…

nope(We could all use the NOPE button)

I hear you. I know it may not be fun reading thousands of words, many of which are acronyms or jargon. Then you have to deal with those tables that seem to go on forever and graphs that look like they were made using…

excel(You get the idea)

Worst of all are methods sections, which are incredibly complex and usually so out of touch with the rest of the world, they are simply skipped. For those who do read them, sometimes they come across the phrase, “as described previously.”  This one line means they have to go back to the cited reference and try to find the protocol in another paper, which, by the way, may also have that same line in the methods…

stress(My reaction when that happens…)

But every now and then, an article comes around that breaks the mold. A few years ago, one such paper was published in the Journal of Immunology. It’s a thorough examination of how certain immune cells target and kill other cells. You can find it and read it here:
Rapid and Unidirectional Perforin Pore Delivery at the Cytotoxic Immune Synapse

But a little advanced warning. The article itself is quite long…about 5,000 words in total. To put that into perspective, my latest book comprised of about…

TGF v5(80,000 words)

As you can imagine, the paper is quite a bit for anyone to take in and I’m sure it doesn’t make as nice a Christmas gift as say, a nice, fresh paperback…

just_sayin(Too obvious?)

All plugs aside, the article does provide an excellent look at how the immune system combats cancer cells in the body. However, because of the length and the content, most people might never know the wonders of immunity in keeping us healthy.

But the authors found a way around this hurdle. Rather than accept the article was doomed to stay on a website unread, they decided to give readers something a little more interesting. They added a video, which has been turned into…

t-cell-killing(A GIF)

Without reading a single word from the paper, you can understand what is going on. It’s incredibly simple and requires no lengthy explanation. Granted, the process happening at the molecular level is quite complex but unless you happen to be an immunologist, the details may not be all that informative.

This example of visualizing research is still considered to be rare among scientific publications, but thanks to the beauty of imagery equipment, we should be seeing far more of these displays in the future. The end result may not be as captivating as this GIF, but I truly believe this path will help inform people in a meaningful way and also, spread the good word of science.

Now if only they could show this with a 360 degree camera…I would love to see this in VR.

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