The Making of the Image
It was during the Renaissance that images and pictures were first used by anatomists, microscopists, and astronomers as scientific tools. In that era, scientific images served as a kind of inventory of the known world. In the 19th century, the popularization of scientific ideas gave science a new vigor. Photographic images gave science a new reality, explaining and legitimizing scientific concepts--movement, for example--to a fascinated public. In our days, the scientific image is often a construction--helping us to represent objects and ideas that, like fractals or black holes, cannot be defined through actual observation. Monique Sicard is Projects Director at CNRS Images Média.