This is a typical hallway in a research building, one lined with research posters.
These posters were designed to show data from some aspect of research going on in the lab. Nearly all of them have been to a local, national, or international scientific meeting in an effort to share and discuss that research with other scientists.
But once the meeting is over, what do you do with the poster? Sure you could roll it up and store it in a file cabinet. Or you could put it on the wall outside the lab to show your lab neighbors and passers-by just what is going on in your lab.
Science, despite the stereotype of isolation, really is a social affair. It’s about sharing results, ideas, and discussions. And displaying research posters is just another way to promote these activities.
Besides, you’ve got to put something on those bare institutional-white walls, right? Why not something we scientists have plenty of — data?!