Department of Chemical Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
More than Pretty Pictures
Graphics, images and figures — visual representations of scientific data and concepts — are critical components of science and engineering research. They communicate in ways that words cannot. They can clarify or strengthen an argument and spur interest into the research process. But it is important to remember that a visual representation of a scientific concept or data is a re-presentation and not the thing itself — some interpretation or translation is always involved. Just as in writing a journal article, one must carefully plan what to “say,” and in what order to “say it.” The process of making a visual representation requires you to clarify your thinking and improve your ability to communicate with others. This talk will address various aspects of creating depictions in science and engineering and will make the case that the process should be included in the curriculum. Frankel will show pages from her new book, “Picturing Science and Engineering.” The talk will include a discussion about how far individuals can go when “enhancing” science images.
Science photographer Felice Frankel is a research scientist in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with additional support from Mechanical Engineering. Frankel developed and instructed the first online MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) addressing science and engineering photography. Working in collaboration with scientists and engineers, her images have appeared on journal covers, in journal articles, web spotlights, and in various other international publications for general
audiences, such as National Geographic, Nature, Science, Angewandte Chemie, Advanced Materials, Materials Today, PNAS, Newsweek, Scientific American, Discover Magazine, Popular Science, and New Scientist, among others.
Ms. Frankel is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a Guggenheim Fellow, and she was a Senior Research Fellow in Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences and a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Medical School’s Department of Systems Biology. In addition to receiving the Progress Award from the Photographic Society of America and the Loeb Fellowship at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, she has received awards and grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation.