Scientific illustrations shed light on the works of Galileo, Einstein and many more

Taken from Anna EscardÓ’s book Science Illustration: A history of visual knowledge from the 15th century to today, these images range from watercolors of Galileo to a sketch from Einstein’s notebook

Humans


August 24, 2022


TASCHEN

THESE star science images, taken from Anna EscardÓ’s new book Science Illustration: A history of visual knowledge from the 15th century to today (published by Taschen), are more than a feast for the eyes.

The side view of the human brain, pictured above, is from a study by French physician and anatomist Jean-Baptiste Marc Bourgery. Atlas of Human Anatomy and Surgery. First published in 1831, this is known as the most comprehensive manual ever produced on human anatomy.

Courtesy of Ministry of Heritage and Cultural Activities (MiBACT), National Central Library of Florence, No Reproduction;  The Hebrew University of Jerusalem;  Courtesy of Ministry of Heritage and Cultural Activities (MiBACT), National Central Library of Florence, No Reproduction

Courtesy of Ministry of Heritage and Cultural Activities (MiBACT), National Central Library of Florence, No Reproduction; The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Courtesy of Ministry of Heritage and Cultural Activities (MiBACT), National Central Library of Florence, No Reproduction

The three images above show, from left to right: nerve synapses called Held’s chalices, drawn in 1934 by Santiago RamÓn y Cajal, whose doctrine of neurons showed that the nervous system is not continuous, but is made up of discrete cells; Albert Einstein’s 1905 sketch of a puzzle game from his relativity notebook; and watercolor illustrations of the moon by Galileo Galilei, based on observations made with a telescope he built in 1609 that was powerful enough to examine objects in the night sky.

Two giant donuts of charged particles called the Van Allen belts surround the Earth

NASA/T. Benesch, J. Carns

Above is NASA’s 2012 image of two “donuts” of charged particles, or plasma, surrounding the Earth, an example of how computer graphics have created more accurate and realistic representations of unseen phenomena. These rings are called Van Allen radiation belts. NASA launched two probes in 2012 to better understand these regions and space weather more broadly.

“Scientific illustrations help convey… complex scientific concepts,” explains EscardÓ. “Even today…there is still a need to use illustration as a tool to capture images that can only be achieved through this medium.”

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