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Observation and visualization: reflections on the relationship between science, visual arts, and the evolution of the scientific image

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The connections between biological sciences, art and printed images are of great interest to the author. She reflects on the historical relevance of visual representations for science. She argues that the connection between art and science seems to have diminished during the twentieth century. However, this connection is currently growing stronger again through digital media and new imaging methods. Scientific illustrations have fuelled art, while visual modeling tools have assisted scientific research. As a print media artist, she explores the relationship between art and science in her studio practice and will present this historical connection with examples related to evolution, microbiology and her own work. Art and science share a common source, which leads to scrutiny and enquiry. Science sets out to reveal and explain our reality, whereas art comments and makes connections that don’t need to be tested by rigorous protocols. Art and science should each be evaluated on their own merit. Allowing room for both in the quest to understand our world will lead to an enriched experience.

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I would like to thank Dr. Christian Jogler and Dr. Damien Devos for inviting me to present on the EMBO workshop, Planctomycetes-Verrucomicrobia-Chlamydiae Superphylum: Exceptions to the bacterial definition? The European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) has supported my participation. It has been a very encouraging experience and in the spirit of the presented paper to involve the arts in a scientific microbiology environment.

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Correspondence to Eveline Kolijn.

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Kolijn, E. Observation and visualization: reflections on the relationship between science, visual arts, and the evolution of the scientific image. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 104, 597–608 (2013).

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