"More Than Pretty Pictures

Felice C. Frankel, MIT

Wednesday, October 17, 2018 at 4:30 P.M.

Room 368 (CIT 3rd Floor)

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 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. Included will be a discussion about how far can we go when “enhancing” science images.

Bio: Science photographer Felice Frankel is a research scientist in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with additional support from Materials Science and Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering.

She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Guggenheim Fellow, and 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.

She most recently developed and instructed the first online MOOC addressing science and engineering photography, “Making Science and Engineering Pictures, A Practical Guide to Presenting Your Work.”

Working in collaboration with scientists and engineers, Felice’s 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.

She and her work have been profiled in the New York Times, Wired, LIFE Magazine, the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, the Chronicle of Higher Education, National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, Science Friday, the Christian Science Monitor and various European publications. She exhibits throughout the United States and in Europe. Her limited edition photographs are included in a number of corporate and private collections and were part of MOMA’s exhibition, “Design and the Elastic Mind”.

Host: Professor David Laidlaw