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n a small exhibition space built entirely of nooks and crannies, Johanna Kieniewicz, the British Library's science curator, has created a surprising display.

Take for example, the opening image of a zoomable "tree of life" by James Rosindell, a biodiversity theorist from Imperial College London. It looks innocuous enough: it might belong in a children's picture book. But the wealth of visual and textual information sewn into every scale of the map proves staggering. Life is vast.

Along with the intellectual surprises, there are some historical ones. What looks like a satellite image of global atmospheric circulation turns out, on closer inspection, to date from 1863: a print from The Weather Book by Robert FitzRoy (sometime captain of the Beagle and a visionary climatologist).

But perhaps the best-judged exhibit is also the least showy: a well-constructed video of interviews dealing with all the tricky questions about data visualisation in one place. Just how scientific is it? Is it really beautiful? Or distracting? And what about the underlying assumptions?

Having addressed these very necessary questions so economically, Beautiful Science can, and does, deliver on its title.

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