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Art and Science Meet in Images of Museum Specimens and Artifacts


The convergence of art and science gets a new treatment in an exhibition opening next week at the American Museum of Natural History. "Picturing Science: Museum Scientists and Imaging Technologies" features more than 20 sets of large-format and visually engaging images that showcase the wide range of research being conducted at the museum as well as how various optical tools are used in scientific research. A preview:

Tibetan deity wood figure

Conservators at the museum use x-ray imaging to examine many artifacts. In this case ritualistic objects, known as consecration items, were discovered in a hidden cavity within this figure. Previous repairs to the artifact were also revealed.


Ponyfish (Secutor ruconius)

An ichthyologist at the museum highlights details of cichlids and other small fish using biological dyes.


An arachnologist uses UV fluorescence imaging to study scorpions. In this case 10 different species of Opistophthalmus, or burrowing scorpions, were examined.

Credits: J. Levinson and K. Knauer/AMNH (Tibetan deity wood figure), J. Sparks/AMNH (Ponyfish), L. Prendini and S. Thurston/AMNH (Scorpions)

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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