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Rikke Schmidt Kjærgaard

Rikke Schmidt Kjærgaard
Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies, Aarhus University

Art in Science: How it works

Art, and even simple drawing, is necessary in explaining the theories of science, to record observations and ideas, and to convey their meaning visually (Wong & Kjærgaard 2010, Nature Methods). Graphics are an essential component of all scientific articles, regardless of the scientific topic. A diagram, an info-graphic or a conceptual illustration enhances the scientific content, and is often as important as the text itself in conveying the scientific theories and data.

When we pick up an article, we look at the pictures or diagrams before we start reading the text. According to Nik Spencer at Nature, art helps to illustrate concepts and subjects in ways not possible with text. It forms the essential iconography that we associate with all of science and also gives us a way to visualize scientific abstraction in new and exciting ways (Spencer 2014, Nature/Biozoom).

In this talk I will look at specific examples of visual representations, the ideas behind them and the artistic processes involved.