Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Representacions visuals en ciència. Més que il·lustracions, imatges carregades de significat

Alfons Zarzoso Orellana, Josep Simón Castell


Images, like words, explain science. They have been decisive and continue to play a major role in scientific practice and in producing new knowledge. But who produces and how are produced these images? Who sees them and who is capable of reading them? Visual representations, like texts, allow the construction and communication of scientific concepts. Their omnipresence in the daily tasks of science does not guarantee however an understanding of their key role. They have often had
a secondary status, limited to a decorative function, or are ignored as scientific, historical
and philosophical sources. There is indeed an academic bias shaped by textual culture, and the circumscription of knowledge and awareness of the visual world to the strictly demarcated domain of art. The celebration this year of a new edition, the sixth, of the European School Spring of Mahon has addressed this problem and opportunity. In his 10 years of existence, the School, a unique initiative at the confluence of history and the popularization of science, has addressed a number of issues combining outreach, education and research in a unique biennial event in international context. This year, we proposed to reap the benefits of the previous editions of the School that had considered visual representations in science just as another kind of knowledge, along with the oral or written. The wealth of approaches around the image in science, produced in recent years within different academic disciplines has enabled us in this School to develop an interdisciplinary area space aimed at clarifying the complexity of the visual cultures that
participate in the forms of scientific knowledge.
As a forum open to all, this edition has consolidated the international dimension of
the School, with lecturers and students both from Europe and the Americas. It has also strengthened the teaching nature of the proposal, with the inclusion of different types of communication and classroom and online discussion , producing results such as this dossier, and also a special issue for the journal Endeavour.

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