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The art of scientific photography

May 17, 2010

Princeton opens its annual “Art of Science” exhibit on Monday, featuring images made in the course of scientific research at the Ivy League school. The theme is “energy” and 45 pieces will grace the exhibition, as reported in the Wired Campus blog. Many of the Princeton images are photographs, not human-generated illustrations, although they may have been colorized or PhotoShopped.

Similar image collections have been presented elsewhere, like the annual “Science as Art” image competition conducted by the Materials Research Society. The American Academy for the Advancement of Science runs an Engineering Visualization Challenge that includes a photo category (2009 winner below).

Save Our Earth, Let’s Go Green

Brown fibers in photo are 250 NANOmeters wide

Images from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope haven taken the breath away from many viewers, and the high-speed images captured by engineer Harold Edgerton are legendary. In the professional arena no group can hold a candle to the crew assembled by the National Geographic Society. Their work is so gorgeous that it’s easy to forget the scientific value and just marvel at the perfection.

National Geographic Photo Gallery: Erosion and Weathering

Many students are visual creatures. Sharing this type of image can add life to a class – even better if it comes from your own research. You can also ask them to create or find photographs that illustrate topics being covered in your course.

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