From Science to Art: Since the earliest cave paintings, people have created images
to help make sense of the natural world. Today, artists and
scientists use three types of images to talk about their discoveries.
Data visualizations sum up information collected by scientists
and help viewers understand what it means. Examples include
charts, graphs, and maps.
Scientific illustrations show things that are hard to see, things
we can’t see, or events that happen over time. They are
intended as teaching tools to help audiences appreciate the
larger picture. Examples include paintings, drawings, videos,
Fine art can be inspired by science. Though similar to
illustrations, artists approach fine art as a process of discovery
– even the artist doesn’t know how the final artwork will look.
While illustrations carry specific messages, fine art shares the
experience of science without an aim to teach.
All three approaches were used by instructor Julie Schuck and
WKU art students to help us understand changes in Mammoth
Cave National Park.