Molecular Workbench Logo Gets a New LookMarch 20th, 2013 by Chad Dorsey
MW was developed over a decade with funding from the National Science Foundation by senior scientist and software developer Charles Xie. It includes a powerful physics engine that calculates the forces acting at the atomic level, with rules for photons, chemical bonds and macromolecules, plus Newton’s laws to determine the resulting motion. With all these calculations, emergent behavior, um… simply emerges! And that means MW can simulate real scientific phenomena over a wide variety of domains—from microscopic to macroscopic—in chemistry, physics, biology and more.
With one product harnessing all that power and flexibility, we had tried to convey quite a lot in our original logo. The diverse history of MW’s development contributed as well to a logo that had become as internally diverse as MW itself. Based roughly on a methane molecule to show its roots in the molecular world, each “hydrogen” atom surrounding the central “carbon” workbench showed one of the many, many phenomena MW could model.
We’re now moving MW to the Web, thanks in no small part to generous funding from Google, and we’re revamping our logo for this brave new world. Our goal was to simplify MW’s logo while still conveying its diversity—its ability to demonstrate ideas across multiple scales and bring to life the dynamic nature of the molecular world all around us. We also wanted this, our “flagship” product, to connect to our recently redesigned Concord Consortium logo.
We’re pleased with the result, and think it accomplishes all of this and more. The new MW logo’s central star is the same as the star inside the Concord Consortium’s new logo. Here it represents the nucleus of inspiration surrounded by dynamic and colorful stylized atomic “orbits” that evoke MW’s dynamic nature. These shapes hearken back to classic representations of the atomic world, evoking the Bohr model so central to the history of atomic understanding, while at the same time hinting at electrons’ evanescent quantum nature—which MW can also demonstrate quite effectively.
Viewing with another eye, you may instead see something at a vastly different scale. Spheres exhibiting circular motion? A representation of a star and orbiting planets? Even another surprising new solution to the three-body problem? If so, you’re not wrong either—it turns out that MW can model just about anything.
This is the next generation of MW and we’re excited about expanding the use of this software. It’s been downloaded a million times already. Go ahead—make it a million and one.
Special thanks to Derek Yesman of Daydream Design, who created our new logo.