History of Biology Seminars

2012 Seminar: Visualizing Biology

Wed, May 16, 2012 - Wed, May 23, 2012
Woods Hole, MA


The MBL-ASU History of Biology Seminar is an intensive week with annually varying topics designed for a group of no more than 25 advanced graduate students, postdoctoral associates, younger scholars, and established researchers in the life sciences, history, philosophy, and the social sciences.

MBL t-shirt

This year’s ASU-MBL seminar will explore the history of visualization in biology from the late 19th to early 21st centuries. The seminar will be organized around different visual scales beginning with microscopy and working up to macroscopic perspectives offered by satellite imaging and remote sensing. We will consider both practices of visualization and the representations they produce from historical, philosophical, and scientific perspectives. At the microscopic level, we will explore debates over microscopic method, the development of video microscopy, and the impact of digital technology on optical microscopy. At the organismic level, we will address the many issues surrounding the place of visual representations in science, including contemporary research being conducted at MBL. At the macroscopic level, we will consider the development and impact of remote sensing on biological research.

The seminar is an excellent opportunity for graduate students interested in any aspect of visualization in biology.  It is also an excellent opportunity for biologists to become involved with history, and historians/ philosophers/ social scientists to become involved with an important set of issues in the biological practice. The seminar is intended for all scholars with an interest in these questions and their relations to other sciences and society.

John Beatty, University of British Columbia (john.beatty@ubc.ca)
James Collins, Arizona State University (jcollins@asu.edu)
Jane Maienschein, Arizona State University (maienschein@asu.edu)
Michael R. Dietrich, Dartmouth College (Michael.Dietrich@dartmouth.edu)