A journey through the history of science through 300 illustrations

Madrid, September 2 (EFE). Science has always been enlightened and must be enlightened. Taschen has collected 300 major works from all scientific fields in one book, a visual history of knowledge from the fifteenth century to the present, from the first detailed drawing of the moon to the first drawing of a cell.

The large-format book by science conductor Anna Escardo includes explanatory texts in English, Spanish, and Italian, and includes original drawings, technical drawings, and accurate hand-drawn illustrations or more current computer-generated images.

Andreas Vesalius, Isaac Newton, Marie Curie, Santiago Ramon and Cajal, Rosalind Franklin or Jocelyn Bell are the protagonists of this collection with which the author wants the public to connect with science: “I would like — tell Effie — that the reader lives the book as a celebration of science and understand that this is not just something belongs to a small elite of geniuses.”

After about two and a half years of work, Escardó shows how the field of illustration and the development of knowledge have been inextricably intertwined for some time: the first drawings worthy of the designation of scientific illustration date back to the Middle Ages, when manuscript books were produced in monastic writing rooms, as the author explains in her.

Under the original title “Scientific Clarification” or “Scientific Clarification. A Visual History of Knowledge from the Fifteenth Century to the Present”, the book is divided into centuries, beginning with the period from the fifteenth to the seventeenth, then the eighteenth century, the nineteenth century and ending with The twentieth century and beyond.

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In its pages you can see, for example, details of the human body in an illustration by the physician Andreas Vesalius (1543); A turtle drawn by botanist and naturalist William Bartram (1791); Or the first cell division documented by German physician Walter Fleming (1882).

Also Curie’s comments on her experiments or the periodic table of the elements for Dmitri Mendeleev.

The author details that many consider this design by the Russian chemist from 1869 to be the best scientific illustration in the history of science, due to its balance between the precise synthesis of information from all known elements (63) and its ability to predict not yet known physical and chemical properties.

Escardo recounts that with his editor, Julius Wiedemann, they were clear that the scientific milestones that appeared in the book must be those that marked the before and after in humanity: visualizations advance revolutionary ideas and discoveries stretching from the fifteenth to the fifteenth centuries. Present.

In addition, they wanted to “show those silenced by Western culture, celebrate the remarkable work of many scholars who were also in hiding, and leave little room for simple curiosity.”

“Science should always be made clear. Scientific illustration is a tool that serves to present scientific information, but also to study, catalog, project, understand, synthesise, disclose, and communicate,” sums up its author.

All the “technological arsenal” that exists today (photography, video, 3D scanners, MRI, CT scans, etc.)

The image, for example, captures the raw data of the moment, it is a “mound of information” for the observer, while the illustration shows the exact data the scientist needs.

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Myrtle Frost

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