Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Illustrating Scientific Mysteries

Can you guess what this picture illustrates?

If you look at the context clues by reading the picture, what does the apple represent? Click on the apple for the bigger picture.

Could it be the story of Adam and Eve? No?

What about that universe inside the apple? Do you remember the story about Sir Isaac Newton and how an apple dropped on his head while napping and voila he realized there must be some force acting on the falling apple, and everything else for that matter.

Over at BrainPickings they reviewed 75 Scientific Mysteries, Illustrated by Today's Hottest Artists, a book that explores scientific complexities through pictures, including gravity and the big bang.

About gravity, Terry Matilsky notes:
[T]he story is not finished. We know that general relativity is not the final answer, because we have not been able to synthesize gravity with the other known laws of physics in a comprehensive “theory of everything."
Another artist illustrates his vision of what existed before the Big Bang
in a painting reminiscent of an M. C. Escher style stairway of the universe.

Brian Yanny asks:
Was there an era before our own, out of which our current universe was born? Do the laws of physics, the dimensions of space-time, the strengths and types and asymmetries of nature’s forces and particles, and the potential for life have to be as we observe them, or is there a branching multi-verse of earlier and later epochs filled with unimaginably exotic realms? We do not know.
Do illustrations help you "picture" complex phenomena? Would you like to see more illustrations in your scientific textbooks?

23 comments:

  1. Personally, I prefer to learn from pictures mainly because I understand more through visual perceptions. Also, the illustrations keeps me interested; of course, reading is a must, but if I were to learn about science and all of those formulas I would rather look at pictures than read many descriptive paragraphs that involve complex words and make me confused. When I was in grade school, I remember that the textbooks had many pictures and as we got older, the pictures started to dissipate. I believe that illustrations would make learning a lot easier and create less confusion upon the reader.

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  2. As the saying goes "a picture is worth a thousand words", illustrations do help me in understanding any phenomena. There are somethings better illustrated than described, things that can't be put to words maybe captured in a photograph or an image. Personally I like to visualize what I read, like when I'm reading a story or a novel and try to use my imagination to get the message the author is trying to convey; on the other hand, in comic books, the illustrations says it all, I feel like the author wants to convey a specific message, I like they want to control what we see and I think in that way I get a more accurate feel of what they mean exactly, unlike in picture-less novels where I have to fill-in the blanks. As for scientific text books, they to have illustrations because they realize that words are not enough to get the concept across to the student, such as myself, and that illustrations help covey the scientific concepts. I think illustrations should be incorporated not just in scientific texts but also in other text books for other subjects like literature.

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  3. For me science is hard to understand. I am much more of a visual learner so seeing more pictures in my science book would help me understand the subject better. It is confusing to understand what an atom looks like well it is all described in words. If there is a picture of an atom and all of its part, I know exactly what it looks like instead of using my imagination. Some pictures may be abstract and more confusing than the word description. It can still help to make a phenomena clearer.

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  4. Truth is pictures do help me as a student and as a person to understand things in context. With pictures I can visualize it in my own way and then see how the person who illustrated the picture sees things. Illustrations do help me "picture" complex phenomena because they allow me to understand it much simpler then just by hearing about it and only understanding some of it. I would love to see more illustraions in my scientific textbooks because I then would be able to understand whats going on with more understanding then just going with the flow and not understandingas well. Illustrations explain in a way whats going on and for complex phenomena to seem simple and for e to interpret in my own way whats going on so I can remember and learn in my own way. Illustrations are neccesary for me and I would love to have more illustrations in my scientific textbooks.

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  5. When I am learning, if I am just reading or listening to someone it is more difficult for me to learn the material because I am not involved and can't see it either. It there was more visual aid within a text book with science of with any material in particular it could help keep more students interested. A visual aid and provides a way too picture and see how something with out actually physicality, doing it.

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  6. For me illustrations do help me usnderstand context that are confusing to me. If I am reading something from a textbook that I do not get a picture would help me understand and see what the text is talking about. More illustrations should be on scientific textbook, that would help students understand what the text is talking about. When there is no picture for the text I do not understand what the book is talking about which causes me to get lost in class.

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  7. Illustrations allow me to understand an idea more clearly. With subjects like science and math being a struggle for me, a visual approach is a good way to take on a difficult problem without going head first into something that I don't understand. If science and math textbooks were to show through photos and drawings how to do something rather than just writing it out, more visual learners would have an advantage of understanding these subjects.Illustrations do help me "picture" complex phenomena.

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  8. I am crazy about pictures. I love taking them, I love editing them, and I love looking at them. I feel like everyone works and learns better when they see an actual visual of the topic or item of study. Illustrations help us learn and allow our brains to process information in a different way. I feel like there should be more pictures in scientific text books.

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  9. For me personally, I am a visual learner. I need to be in a classroom to really understand what a teacher is trying to teach. That is one of the reasons why I try to stay away from online classes. Having more pictures in textbooks would be great! For me, science is not my best subject; it is a lot of words and vocabulary that I do not understand so having pictures is what helps me to visualize what I am trying to learn. I think pictures help everyone. We see pictures all over, like on street signs, on billboards, and a lot of others. Visuals help us all and are a great tool for communication.

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  10. I do think that illustrations help picture complex phenomena. When looking at the pictures above it really makes me think about what the world could have been before created. Also the apple and the universe is a good picture to think about with the whole Adam and Eve. I would definitely like to see more of these pictures in science books because it really grabs my attentions and makes me want to understand more about science and the world.

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  11. I think pictures are really good for textbook. The illustrations make the information easier to understand because sometimes it is really hard to understand what the writer is explaining. They additionally give readers a break from all the reading. Pictures make the books more interesting if they did not have them the books would look boring and not many people would read them.

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  12. I do think that illustrations help me “picture” complex phenomena because I am a more visual learner. I like to see something in order to understand it more, just like in a classroom; I like to learn by doing rather than sitting in a lecture class taking notes. Visuals help me learn a lot because I get to see an example and know how to do it the right way. I would like to see more illustrations because it would catch my attention and make me want to learn more about it.

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  13. The illustrations definitely help me understand the information more clearly. If you were to just tell me to picture a universe in an apple I would look at you like your crazy. Noticing all the detail put into the picture helps me visual what we are talking about, which comes in handy when you're a visual learn, which I learned I was through Psychology class. Also, if you're not much of a reader like myself, visuals help you understand and get a head start on what the reading is about. Pictures add a little spice to an essay, book, or paragraph. It's a way to grasp the readers attention as well as keep it.

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  14. I thought the picture was really interesting, how the universe was inside of the apple. It was a good visual to use to describe the way Newton came up with the laws of physics. Pictures and illustrations make it a bit easier to understand the complexity of what is being said and also adds dimension to the thought process that goes along with that information.It also works well to compliment the statements.

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  15. I definitely believe that there should be more illustrations in scientific textbooks. Science is already a difficult subject for most of us to understand so having more illustrations will help us understand more. For me personally, illustrations have helped me understand complex subjects. Even the picture of the apple is helpful because you can see how the universe really looks like and having it in the shape of an apple just makes it even more interesting and grabs the readers attention.

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  16. I definitely believe that these pictures are very useful for more illustration in scientific textbook. Pictures and illustrations make science a bit easier to understand. The pictures catch the reader's attention and the illustrations get readers interest to read. When there is no pictures in the science book, its kind of boring. there should be more pictures on the science text books as Illustrations do help me with picture complex phenomena.

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  17. Illustrations make it easier to grasp complex phenomena. I am a visual learner, so the more pictures the better. I would love to see more pictures in textbooks because words get boring after a while. Words are necessary for explanations but pictures I feel help the reader visualize the concepts. Scientific textbooks are usually very long and are packed with in depth information. Pictures help me stay focused on the topic.

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  18. Scientific textbooks is hard to understand.I think illustrations can help us understand scientific textbooks well. And as a business major student, I don't like read scientific books that just have article no any illustrations.I a book haven't illustrations that is a very boring things. I'm not good at science, so if I want to see a scientific book, the interesting illustrations is a reason let me to read it. If the scientific books have some interesting illustrations, I will want know why the picture in this article, and to read the scientific article. So I think have more illustration is a good things.

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  19. I think illustration helps people have more specific idea about natural phenomena. Abstract ideas about certain phenomena are hard to understand for people who haven't studied or heard about before. Furthermore, most students who are major in science fields tend to get their idea from observating or graphical information. They are more comfortable with tables or symbolic information than long essays.

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  20. for my opinion, illustration make people know scientific book that have article no more illustrations. most people major in science field tend to get their idea from the information. picture is really important for the illustration in scientific textbook. picture play an important role in the textbook, it can catch reader's eyes. make reader quickly to know what the main idea about this article. illustration is so important.

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  21. I think that having more illustrations in text books would be very helpful. Illustrations help people to learn things in more depth and with more understanding. You not only read about it but you also get a visual of how it looks. Being able to see it will also help you remember it more. Also, if there are pictures, like the apple with the universe inside it, it helps you to ponder the meaning and analyze it more in order to grasp a better meaning.

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  22. Doesn't the pictures just grasp your attention? I know it caught my curiosity for sure. How come does something or an object that looks out of the ordinary grabs our attention so much? Maybe the strange color? Shape? Abnormal appearance? If any case we should implement similar photos like the ones above in our science and general textbooks? Why? Maybe because our society has grown into a visual outcome. If this grabs my attention and gives me things to ponder about then what stops you from expanding your imagination?

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  23. Being a visual learner, having more visual aids in textbooks would help me out tremendously. I have always struggled with math growing up; I was hoping it would be something I would out grow but unfortunately that hasn't happened. I was taking a math class last spring, it was the last math class I needed before I could start taking college level courses. I was nervous because I heard that this class was the hardest. Believe it or not this was the highest grade I have ever received in any math course I have ever taken. The professor catered to every learning style, especially when it came to visual learners, she gave us step-by-step answers to complex math problems and she went further in depth during her study hours. It was because of this professor that and her teaching style, that I was able to use images to solve complex math problems.

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