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  1. Michael Jeremy Barany (2012). `That Small and Unsensible Shape': Visual Representations of the Euclidean Point in Sixteenth-Century Print. Spontaneous Generations 6 (1):148-159.
    This paper probes the foundations and limits of visual representation in the sciences through a close reading of the diagrams that accompanied definitions of the geometric point in the first century of printed editions of Euclid’s Elements. I begin with the modal form for such diagrams of Euclid’s “small and unsensible shape,” showing how it incorporates a broad spectrum of conventions and practices related to the point’s philosophical and practical roles in the surrounding Euclidean geometry. I then explore the form’s (...)
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  2. Koen Beumer (2012). A Matter of Scale: The Visual Representation of Nanotechnologies. Spontaneous Generations 6 (1):65-74.
    Scale is central to understanding nanotechnologies. These technologies are usually described as the understanding and control of matter at the nanoscale, with one nanometer being 10^-9 meter. At this scale, some materials gain new properties that can be used in the creation of new products. These properties may contribute to economic growth and social welfare but, conversely, they may also create negative effects, such as new risks to human health and the environment. As an emerging field whose consequences are still (...)
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  3. Annamaria Carusi (2012). Making the Visual Visible in Philosophy of Science. Spontaneous Generations 6 (1):106-114.
    As data-intensive and computational science become increasingly established as the dominant mode of conducting scientific research, visualisations of data and of the outcomes of science become increasingly prominent in mediating knowledge in the scientific arena. This position piece advocates that more attention should be paid to the epistemological role of visualisations beyond their being a cognitive aid to understanding, but as playing a crucial role in the formation of evidence for scientific claims. The new generation of computational and informational visualisations (...)
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  4. Laurent Dissard (2012). Seeing the Past From Nowhere: Images and Science in Archaeology. Spontaneous Generations 6 (1):24-33.
    Between 1968 and 1975, international and multidisciplinary rescue excavations were undertaken in Eastern Turkey before the construction of the Keban Dam. This article focuses on three specific visual techniques (the artifact typology, the trench shot, and the gridded map) found in the site reports of this salvage project, in order to analyze the way archaeology visually defines its object(s) of study. While scientific excavations make discoveries of the past visible, their representations in the discipline’s final publications conceal the human agents (...)
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  5. Stephen M. Downes (2012). How Much Work Do Scientific Images Do? Spontaneous Generations 6 (1):115-130.
    In this paper, I defend the view that there are many scientific images that have a serious epistemic role in science but this role is not adequately accounted for by the going view of representation and its attendant theoretical commitments. The relevant view of representation is Laura Perini’s account of representation for scientific images. I draw on Adina Roskies’ work on scientific images as well as work on models in science to support my conclusion.
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  6. Elie During (2012). On the Intrinsically Ambiguous Nature of Space-Time Diagrams. Spontaneous Generations 6 (1):160-171.
    When the German mathematician Hermann Minkowski first introduced the space-time diagrams that came to be associated with his name, the idea of picturing motion by geometric means, holding time as a fourth dimension of space, was hardly new. But the pictorial device invented by Minkowski was tailor-made for a peculiar variety of space-time: the one imposed by the kinematics of Einstein’s special theory of relativity, with its unified, non-Euclidean underlying geometric structure. By plo tting two or more reference frames in (...)
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  7. Maura C. Flannery (2012). Flatter Than a Pancake: Why Scanning Herbarium Sheets Shouldn't Make Them Disappear. Spontaneous Generations 6 (1):225-232.
    Herbaria are collections of preserved plant specimens, primarily composed of paper sheets with pressed plants or plant parts attached to them. The most valuable kind of sheet is the holotype specimen. This is the specific plant that was used in describing the species by the person who first identified it. Botanists must reference the holotype when reclassifying or renaming a species. In the past, this meant either borrowing the sheet or visiting the herbarium in which it was housed. With digitization (...)
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  8. William Goodwin (2012). Visual Representations of Structure and the Dynamics of Scientific Modeling. Spontaneous Generations 6 (1):131-141.
    Understanding what is distinctive about the role of models in science requires characterizing broad patterns in how these models evolve in the face of experimental results. That is, we must examine not just model statics—how the model relates to theory, or represents the world, at some point in time—but also model dynamics—how the model both generates new experimental results and is modified in response to them. Visual representations of structure play a central role in the theoretical reasoning of organic chemists. (...)
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  9. Ari Gross & Eleanor Louson (2012). Visual Representation and Science: Editors' Introduction. Spontaneous Generations 6 (1):1-7.
    The theme of visual representations in science was already central to our research when we aended the 6th European Spring School on History of Science and Popularization in Menorca, Spain, in 2011. As discussed in the review of this conference by Ignacio SuayMatallana and Mar Cuenca-Lorente (245), many participants not only described the particulars of the generation of individual images, but also broader issues surrounding the constitution of visual domains. We were impressed by the range of scholarship surrounding the production, (...)
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  10. Klaus Hentschel (2012). DSI: The Stuttgart Database of Scientific Illustrators 1450–1950. Spontaneous Generations 6 (1):182-191.
    The main features of a new online database of scientific illustrators are portrayed. We list illustrators of scientific publications of all genres (especially atlases, articles, textbooks) who were active between 1450 and 1950, thus excluding illuminators of medieval manuscripts as well as illustrators still active. Currently (Sept. 26, 2012), we already have more than 3,461 entries, with particular emphasis on anatomy, dermatology, botany, zoology, mineralogy, astronomy, and general natural history. Access to the database with its 20 search fields is free (...)
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  11. Edward Jones-Imhotep (2012). Sound and Vision. Spontaneous Generations 6 (1):191-202.
    Over the last two decades, Science Studies has produced a fascinating body of literature on visual representation. A crucial part of that literature has explored the materiality of visual representation, primarily the “rendering practices” that make visual representations possible and embody epistemic virtues attached to the scientific self. This essay explores the practices and capacities that support visual representation, but it looks to a seemingly unlikely place for inspiration—the growing literature on the uses of sound in science. My interest here (...)
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  12. Martin Kemp (2012). “The Testimony of My Own Eyes”: The Strange Case of the Mammal with a Beak. Spontaneous Generations 6 (1):43-49.
    There has always been a significant element of trust when we look at an image of something we have not seen, above all when it looks naturalistic and convincing. Illustrators often employ naturalistic tricks in the service of the “rhetoric of reality.” The case study is the Australian Duck-Billed Platypus, which stretched credibility when it was first discovered, resembling an artificially confected monster. The first scientific account, by George Shaw in T he Naturalist’s Miscellany in 1799, is a masterpiece of (...)
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  13. Sachiko Kusukawa (2012). Thomas Kirke's Copy of Philosophical Transactions. Spontaneous Generations 6 (1):8-14.
    In this paper, I discuss a drawing that substituted for an engraving in a copy of Philosophical Transactions once owned by Thomas Kirke (1650–1706, FRS 1693). I suggest that prints allowed Kirke to train his eye as well as his hand. His case is useful for raising further questions about visual representations in early modern science.
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  14. Cory Lewis (2012). REVIEW: Frederick Grinnell, The Everyday Practice of Science: Where Intuition and Passion Meet Objectivity and Logic. [REVIEW] Spontaneous Generations 6 (1):242-244.
    Frederick Grinnell’s “Everyday Practice of Science” is an ambitious attempt to survey the methodological issues facing practicing scientists. His examples and anecdotes are mainly drawn from his own field of biochemistry, which he argues is representative of the scientific method in general because, quoting Nobel Laureate Sir Peter Medawar, “Biologists work very close to the frontier between bewilderment and understanding.”(p.4) Grinnell’s goal is to explore the ambiguity and messiness of actual scientific practice, but not with an eye to undermine its (...)
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  15. Ian Lowrie (2012). On Adaptive Optics: The Historical Constitution of Architectures for Expert Perception in Astronomy. Spontaneous Generations 6 (1):203-224.
    This article charts the development of the modern astronomical observational system. I am interested most acutely in the digitization of this system in general, and in the introduction of adaptive optics in particular. I argue that these features have been critical in establishing the modern observatory as a factory for scientific data, rather than as a center of calculation in its own right. Throughout, the theoretical focus is on the nature of technological evolution in the observational system, understood as inextricably (...)
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  16. Martin Mahony (2012). The Colour of Risk: An Exploration of the IPCC's 'Burning Embers' Diagram. Spontaneous Generations 6 (1):75-89.
    This article tracks the historical emergence of a new visual convention in the representation of the risks associated with climate change. The “reasons for concern” or “burning embers” diagram has become a prominent visual element of the climate change debate. By drawing on a number of cultural resources, the image has gained a level of discursive power which has resulted both in material mobility and epistemic transformation as the diagram itself has become a tool for a variety of actors to (...)
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  17. Barbara Obrist (2012). Visual Representation and Science Visual Figures of the Universe Between Antiquity and the Early Thirteenth Century. Spontaneous Generations 6 (1):15-23.
    The paper raises the question of the function of visual representations in medieval cosmographical texts. It proposes to view diverse functions of figures in relation to changing discursive environments, including differing philosophical positions and changing social and intellectual contexts. It further suggests a distinction between figures that were elaborated within the highly specialized disciplines of mathematics and philosophy of nature in Greek Antiquity and figures that were instrumental in transmitting accepted world models, thus avoiding the opposition between scientific and unscientific (...)
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  18. Laura Perini (2012). Truth-Bearers or Truth-Makers? Spontaneous Generations 6 (1):142-147.
    One way visual representations might function in scientific reasoning is to convey content that is true or false, analogous to making a claim. An alternative way that visual representations might function is as an object that may make statements true or false, but is not itself true or false, analogous to a scientific model. In this paper I evaluate the most recent and extended defense of this latter position and show that the case study involved does not in fact support (...)
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  19. Matt Spencer (2012). Trouble with Images in Computational Physics. Spontaneous Generations 6 (1):34-42.
    Over 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork with a group of computational physicists, I encountered many negative assessments of the part that images should play in the accomplishment of good research. In this essay I explore the question of where these anxieties might come from and what they mean. Using Bachelard’s philosophy, I first point to the role that the image plays in conditioning the imagination and in training intuitive judgement. But to get to the bottom of the trouble with images (...)
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  20. Cindy Stelmackowich (2012). The Instructive Corpse: Dissection, Anatomical Specimens and Illustration in Early-Nineteenth Century Medical Education. Spontaneous Generations 6 (1):50-64.
    At the turn of the nineteenth century when anatomy and hands-on dissection became the prerequisite for a medical career, the medical community in England and France increasingly relied upon visual representations as part of a complex system of reinforcement of their professional goals. The production of novel illustrated textbooks that disseminated arguments through systematizing illustrations were thus integral to their professional status. Through an examination of a series of realistic diagrams that outlined the new methods of surgical and preservation techniques, (...)
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  21. Michael T. Stuart (2012). REVIEW: James R. Brown, Laboratory of the Mind. [REVIEW] Spontaneous Generations 6 (1):237-241.
    Originally published in 1991, The Laboratory of the Mind: Thought Experiments in the Natural Sciences, is the first monograph to identify and address some of the many interesting questions that pertain to thought experiments. While the putative aim of the book is to explore the nature of thought experimental evidence, it has another important purpose which concerns the crucial role thought experiments play in Brown’s Platonic master argument.In that argument, Brown argues against naturalism and empiricism (Brown 2012), for mathematical Platonism (...)
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  22. Ignacio Suay-Matallana & Mar Cuenca-Lorente (2012). “Visual Representations in Science” Review of the 6th European Spring School on History of Science and Popularization: International Workshop, May 19-21 2011, Maó, Menorca, Spain. [REVIEW] Spontaneous Generations 6 (1):245-251.
    This paper is a review of the 6th European Spring School (Maó, 2011). We have considered all the communications (key-note lectures, papers and posters). After introducing the meeting and a few details about the organization, we have presented an idea of the topics discussed during the School. We have followed a classification based on the type of narrative used. Finally, we have introduced some conclusions, new challenges, and future work.
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  23. Bruce Taylor (2012). Holdings. Spontaneous Generations 6 (1):233-236.
    “Holdings” was written for the 2011 Reading Artifacts Summer Institute at the Canada Science and Technology Museum. I spent a week “embedded” with the group, attending workshops and instructional sessions, mostly in a warehouse filled with curious objects from the museum’s collection: a gigantic hard drive platter, an egg-sorting machine, fire engines, iron lungs, a scale model of a Babbage Difference Engine (which had been used to weigh down the back of somebody’s rear-wheel-drive car). Some of the artifacts were historically (...)
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  24. Jennifer Tucker (2012). “The Hidden World of Science”: Nature as Art in 1930's American Print Advertising. Spontaneous Generations 6 (1):90-105.
    Photographs deployed in scientific investigation also are circulated and consumed in popular culture. Examination of the work of an early-twentieth-century consulting U.S. scientist in commercial print advertising illuminates a still mostly unwritten history concerning scientific realism, photography, and American advertising’s middle-class audiences. The work of American scientific photographer Philip O. Gravelle with American national advertising campaigns during the early decades of the twentieth century draws attention to the myriad creative uses of scientific photography during the first decades of the twentieth (...)
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  25. Adrian Wuthrich (2012). Interpreting Feynman Diagrams as Visualized Models. Spontaneous Generations 6 (1):172-181.
    I give a brief introduction to how Feynman diagrams are used. I review arguments to the effect that they are only used as calculation tools and should not be interpreted as representations of physical processes. Against these arguments, I propose to regard Feynman diagrams as visual models that explain, in some respects, how elementary particles interact.
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