Scientists often invite the public to see what they see.From woodblock prints to electron microscopes, they explore the complexity of scientific research and the beauty of life. Sharing this vision through illustrations, photographs, and videotapes enabled ordinary people to make discoveries ranging from new bird species to the inner workings of the human cell.
As a neuroscience and life science researcher, I know that scientists are sometimes seen as white lab coats occupied by charts and graphs. These clichés ignore their passion for science as a means of discovery. For this reason, scientists often use shocking ideas to explain the unexplained.
The BioArt Science Photo and Video Contest, organized by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, shares images rarely seen outside the lab to educate and educate non-professionals about the wonders often associated with biological research. BioArt and similar competitions reflect a long history of using images to explain science.
Historical and intellectual time
The Renaissance period in European history from the 14th to 17th centuries breathed new life into science and art. It combines the emerging discipline of natural history, the study of animals, plants and fungi in their natural habitats, with artistic depictions. This allows nature to be widely studied and classified.
Artists and naturalists were able to develop approaches to the study of nature by illustrating the discoveries of early botanists and anatomists. For example, the Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens provides a unique insight into the human anatomy in his famous anatomical paintings.
This art-science formula was democratized in the 17th and 18th centuries as printing techniques became more sophisticated, allowing early ornithologists and anatologists to publish and disseminate their impressive drawings. Early linguistic texts included John James Audubon's The Birds of America and Charles Darwin's On the Species, both of which were pioneering examples of their time.
The editor soon followed the well-received field manuals and encyclopedias of observations that could be made with the first microscopes. For example, Chambers' Encyclopedia of Scotland was published in 1859.
This release responds to public requests for more news and ideas about nature. People form amateur naturalist societies, hunt for fossils, and enjoy going to the local zoo or zoo. In the 19th century, natural history museums were established around the world to share scientific knowledge through illustrations, models, and real examples. The exhibit ranges from stuffed animals to a human body preserved in liquid.
What started as hand painting has changed over the past 150 years with the help of new technologies. Advanced imaging techniques such as X-rays in 1895, the electron microscope in 1931, 3D modeling in the 1960s, and magnetic resonance imaging or MRI in 1973 made it easier for scientists to share the results of their laboratory research. In fact, physicist Wilhelm Roentgen, who discovered the first X-ray, created the first human X-ray at the hands of his wife.
Today, scientific publications like Nature and Scientist share their favorites with readers. Visualization, whether photography or video, is another means of documenting, verifying, and verifying the results of scientific research.
Science, Art and Education K-12
As K-12 schools add science photos and videos to lesson plans, these science images are brought into the classroom.
Art museums, for example, have developed art-based science curricula to expose students to science. It helps to increase scientific knowledge, improve understanding of basic scientific principles and improve thinking skills.
Science education is very important now. During a pandemic where misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines abound, a better understanding of natural phenomena can help students make informed decisions about disease risk and spread. Science literacy lessons allow students to evaluate statements by scientists and public representatives about COVID-19, the flu, or climate change.
However, scientific knowledge seems to be declining. The 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress measures public school students' scientific literacy and numeracy in grades 4, 8, and 12 on a scale of zero to 300. Results 150 to 2019 of all classes from 2009 to 2019. They are 154.
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A survey of K-12 teachers found that 77% of elementary teachers spend less than four hours a week on science. And the 2018 National Math Science Education Survey found that K-3 students receive an average of 18 minutes of science lessons per day, compared to 57 minutes of math lessons.
Making science more visual makes learning science easier at an early age. It also helps students understand scientific models and develop skills such as teamwork and discussing complex concepts.
To develop knowledge
The BioArt Science Image and Video Contest was created 10 years ago to give scientists an opportunity to share their latest research and give a wider audience an opportunity to see the life sciences from a researcher's point of view.
The uniqueness of the BioArt competition lies in the variety of works produced over the past decade. Finally, life sciences cover a wide variety of disciplines within the life sciences. Winners of the 2021 BioArt competition range from the eye of a developing zebrafish embryo to a 96-million-year-old fossilized halochelidrid turtle shell.
I have been a judge at the BioArt competition for the past five years. My appreciation for the science behind paintings is complimented by their beauty and my technical skills. Photography, for example, uses polarized light, which filters light waves so that they oscillate in one direction instead of multiple directions, allowing scientists to understand what it looks like inside a buried specimen.
Both today and in the past, science explains the small and large foundations of our world. I hope that drawing on scientific processes and concepts will develop scientific knowledge and help students and society become informed citizens with a deeper understanding of nature. It's an added bonus that photos and videos are often beautiful.
This article was republished from The Conversation, a non-profit news site dedicated to the exchange of ideas among scientific experts.
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Chris Curran receives funding from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. He is a member of the FASB Board of Directors.