The Fires of Industry, a data artwork by Kirell Benzi

The Fires of Industry

This artwork reveals the relationships between patents protecting products (a manifestation of the technology embedded in products) and the scientific papers that these patents cite (a manifestation of the science that has led to these products).

The overall shape, evoking a raging volcano, clearly isolates 13 different industries, which are represented here in the blue to reddish-orange colors. Patents are depicted as dots with a white border and colored by industry. They are distinct from scientific papers, which are painted red.

In each industry, patents and scientific papers are both laid out vertically according to their publication year. Most recent works (2017) are placed at the top of the volcano, and the oldest at the bottom (1950 and before). Each horizontal slice thus captures the state of the art in terms of research and innovation at a particular timeframe that is still embedded in today’s products.








300 DPI

Data source

Chair of Innovation and IP Policy lab, EPFL


Merci au Prof. Gaétan de Rassenfosse @ EPFL