the new women of nasa

The Reading the Pictures/Seeing Science Salon: How Science is Pictured in the Media and Public Culture

On December 1st, 2016, an online Salon organized by Reading the Pictures (a not-for-profit media literacy organization) and Seeing Science brought together seven experts—drawn from the ranks of curators, photo editors, visual scholars and scientists—to analyze a group of science-related news and media photographs. The live discussion, How Science is Pictured in the Media and Public Culture, took place on the Google HangOut platform, accommodating live audio and video as well as viewer participation via live chat.

Ten key images—culled from thousands that appeared in newspapers, magazines, and on websites the previous year—were discussed by the Salon panelists:

Rebecca Adelman, UMBC Professor of Media & Communication Studies; Nathan Stormer (Moderator), University of Maine professor and visual scholar; Michael Shaw, publisher, Reading the Pictures; Max Mutchler, Space Telescope Science Institute, Hubble Heritage Project manager; Marvin Heiferman, Curator and Producer of Seeing Science; Kurt Mutchler, Senior Editor, Science, Photography Department, National Geographic; Corey Keller, Curator, SFMOMA; and Ben de la Cruz, Multimedia Editor, Science Desk, NPR.

The discussions, lively and wide-ranging, explored issues including: the history and growth of science journalism, the various uses of images made in and about the sciences, and the popularization of science in the media.

The Salon was produced by Sandra Roa and co-curated by Marvin Heiferman and Meg Handler. In addition to the online event, fifty additional media images—drawn from sixteen categories of science and discussed in informative texts by Edward Brydon— were featured on Reading the Pictures’ and Seeing Science’s Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts in the six weeks leading up to the live event.

Here are highlight clips of some of the featured images discussed during the Salon:

The CERN Hadron Collider


In this highlight clip, panelist Kurt Mutchler, National Geographic science editor, speaks with Rebecca Adelman, UMBC associate professor, Marvin Heiferman, Seeing Science curator and producer, Ben de la Cruz, NPR science editor, Corey Keller, SFMOMA curator, and Max Mutchler of the Hubble Heritage Project discuss the CMS detector photograph. The comments explore the colorful, abstract and intricate depiction of a very large scale scientific project. Issues of scale and complexity complicates direct understanding the science involved.

Pillars of Creation


In this highlight clip, panelists Max Mutchler of the Hubble Heritage Project, Kurt Mutchler, National Geographic science editor, Marvin Heiferman, Seeing Science curator and producer, and Ben de la Cruz, NPR science editor, discuss the visual, scientific and artistic aspects of the most recent version of the famous Pillars of Creation image.

The New Women of NASA


In this highlight clip, moderator Nathan Stormer, visual scholar, and panelists Marvin Heiferman, Seeing Science curator and producer, and Rebecca Adelman, UMBC associate professor, Corey Keller, SFMOMA curator, and Ben de la Cruz, NPR science editor explore the composition, balance and postures of the women of NASA.

Facial Recognition


In this highlight clip, panelist Corey Keller, SFMOMA curator, speaks with Kurt Mutchler, National Geographic science editor, Marvin Heiferman, Seeing Science project curator and producer, Ben de la Cruz, NPR science editor, and Nate Stormer, Salon moderator and visual scholar, explore two images which both attempt to categorize facial features.

Stem Cell


In this highlight clip, Reading The Pictures Salon moderator Nate Stormer and panelists Corey Keller, Kurt Mutchler, Marvin Heiferman, Ben de la Cruz, discuss the context and ethical considerations of this image of the modification of a human embryo.

Pepper the Robot


In this highlight clip, Reading The Pictures Salon moderator Nate Stormer and panelists Corey Keller, Rebecca Adelman, Max Mutchler and Kurt Mutchler, explore the issues surrounding the existence of robots being used in our everyday lives.

Toxic Algae


In this highlight clip, Reading The Pictures Salon moderator Nate Stormer and panelists Corey Keller, Rebecca Adelman, Kurt Mutchler, Marvin Heiferman, Ben de la Cruz, discuss the environmental issues this photograph illustrates, and the off putting nature of seeing the toxicity.

Zika


In this highlight clip, Reading The Pictures Salon moderator Nate Stormer and panelists Corey Keller, Ben de la Cruz, Rebecca Adelman, Max Mutchler, Kurt Mutchler, and Marvin Heiferman discuss the disconcerting nature of the composition of this photograph.

To watch the full video of the Reading the Pictures/Seeing Science Salon, click here.

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