Maó (Menorca), 19-21 May 2011
Institut Menorquí d’Estudis (IME)
Societat Catalana d’Història de la Ciència i de la Tècnica (SCHCT)
European Society for the History of Science (ESHS)
Centre d’Història de la Ciència (CEHIC), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Coordinated by Josep Simon and Alfons Zarzoso

In recent decades the study of visual representations has become one of the most active areas in history of science, technology and medicine. But visual studies of science have a long and interdisciplinary history. As long ago as 1939, George Sarton called for “Iconographic Honesty”, in remarking on the low levels of interest and critical rigor that historians of science applied to portraits compared with texts.

Since the 1970s this field of inquiry has deepened and diversified to include not only portraits, but also a wide range of visual representations produced in scientific practice, of techniques of representation, and of practices of production of meaning. The analysis of the production, circulation and use of visual representations in science has benefited from interaction between such disciplines as history, sociology and philosophy of science, art history, book history, history of education, education studies, and science popularization. Furthermore, it converges on current debates aiming at blurring the traditional distinction between the making and the communication of scientific knowledge.

In fact, images occupy a special place in this context, for their power to encapsulate scientific knowledge, their capacity to communicate to various publics, and their flexibility in the production of meanings by the interaction of producers and users. Moreover, images contain special codes and modes of representation which constrain their intended meanings, and a wide diversity of visual cultures contributes further to shape scientific knowledge through processes of visual appropriation which feed back into production. For its special characteristics, visual knowledge differs from textual knowledge, although there are interesting intersections and interactions between them.

Scientific practice produces a wide range of visual representations of nature which are also tools for the production of new knowledge. Visual representations in science often cut across the categories of research, teaching, and the popular. The study of the reproduction, circulation, and appropriation of images offers an excellent basis from which to understand the shaping of scientific knowledge. The analysis of the production and manipulation of images, the debates around these practices and the making of visual standards can have a major role in our understanding of disciplinary change and in the design of new narratives in history of science. Paradoxically, in spite of the centrality of visual representations in the making of science, its analysis is still underdeveloped due the traditional bias in history of science towards written sources.

The 6th European Spring School in History of Science and Popularization is structured by three lectures a poster session and three workshops which address the classic questions of “who”, “why”, “how” and “for whom”, through case studies ranging from the early modern period to the present day, covering Europe and the Americas, and dealing with a large set of representation techniques (including drawing, engraving, lithography and photography). Central questions for this school are:

  • Who have been the authors of visual representations and what is their status in science?
  • How have techniques of visual representation and practices of visual appropriation shaped the making of scientific knowledge?
  • How can we classify scientific images, what are the ways of characterizing their specific properties, and how do they interact with the objects that they represent?
  • What interactions have there been between visual, textual and oral knowledge?
  • How has visual knowledge circulated and how has it been appropriated?
  • Are there national, disciplinary, and social cultures of visual representation and appropriation in science, technology and medicine?
  • How can we improve our understanding of visual representations in history of science, technology and medicine?



Some of the products associated to the 6th European Spring School on History of Science and Popularization, coordinated by its organizers or consisting of independent initiatives by School participants are the following:

  • Special issue for the journal Actes d’Història de la Ciència i de la Tècnica, 2011, 4: 119-145, coord. Alfons Zarzoso and Josep Simon (with the participation of Agustín López, Katy Barrett, Nick Hopwood, Sebastian Pranghofer, and José Ramón Marcaida). [in catalan]
  • Special issue “Visual Representations in Science” for the journal Endeavour, 2013, 37 (3): 121-149, coord. Josep Simon and Alfons Zarzoso (with the participation of Aaron Wright, Tom Schilling and Frances Robertson)
  • Special issue for Spontaneous Generations, coord. Ari Gross and Eleanor Louson (including paper by Klaus Hentschel and review of the 6th European Spring School by Ignacio Suay and Mar Cuenca).



Thursday 19 May 2011

9:30-11:30 Registration
11:30-12:30 Welcome and Introduction
16:00-17:00 Daniela Bleichmar (University of South California)
“Visual Epistemology and Multimedia Knowledge in Early Modern Science”
17:00-17:30 Discussion
17:30-18:00 Coffee break
18:00-20:00 Workshop 1Meghan Doherty (Mellon/ACLS Recent Doctoral Recipient Fellow). “Resolving the Night Sky: Visual Astronomy and the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society”.Sophie Brockmann (University of Cambridge). “Maps and Text in Central America, c.1770-1840”.Frances Robertson (Glasgow School of Art). “David Kirkaldy (1820-1897) and his Museum of Destruction: the Visual Dilemmas of an Engineer as Man of Science”.Mirjam Brusius (University of Cambridge). “Objects without Status – Pictures without Purpose: the Organisation and Visualisation of Middle Eastern Archaeological Findings in 19th-century Europe”.

W1 abstracts

Supervision: Klaus Hentschel & Daniela Bleichmar

Friday 20 May 2011

9:30-10:30 Nick Hopwood (University of Cambridge)
“Copying Pictures, Making Icons: from Alleged Forgeries to  Textbook Illustrations”
10:30-11:00 Discussion
11:00-11:30 Coffee break
11:30-13:30 Workshop 2Aaron Wright (University of Toronto). “Visual reasoning and the ‘Renaissance’ of General Relativity, 1955–1975”.Ari Gross (University of Toronto). “Of Sausages and Skeletons: Kekulé and Crum Brown’s diagrams, and the desirable features of chemical visual representations”.Anindita Nag (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science). “Images of Hunger, Appeal of Emotions: Famine Photography and the Spectacle of Suffering”.Tom Schilling (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). “Geoinformatics and Indigenous Representation: Visualization and Conflict over Uranium Exploration in the Arctic”

W2 abstracts

Supervision: Nick Hopwood & Klaus Hentschel
15:45-16:15 Coffee served
16:00-17:00 Poster Session
(Posters will be displayed since the first day)Ut pictura cosmographia in the Spanish Court of the Habsburg in the Sixteenth Century” by Antonio Sánchez (CIUHCT, University of Lisbon)“To Have and Have not (Feet): Early Modern Representations of the Bird of Paradise” by José Ramón Marcaida (Centre of Humanities and Social Sciences, CSIC)“Personhood before birth? – Early modern images of the unborn” by Sebastian Pranghofer (Durham University)“Graphics and Metaphor in English Natural Philosophy, 1650-1720” byAlexander Wragge-Morley (University of Cambridge/MPIWG)“Exhibiting Longitude: The ‘longitude lunatic’ in Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress” by Katy Barrett (University of Cambridge)“An Evolutionary Armature: A Window to Human Progress during England’s Gothic Revival” by Courtney S. Long (University of Pittsburgh)“Outline and Fixed Colour: Constructing Images of Geology in Britain, 1790-1820” by Allison Ksiazkiewicz (University of Cambridge)
17:15-18:15 Klaus Hentschel (Universität Stuttgart)
“Towards a Comparative History of Visual Science Cultures”
18:15-18:45 Discussion


Saturday 21 May 2011

9:30-11:30 Workshop 3Practical workshop devoted to presentation, examination and analysis of images
Daniela Bleichmar, Klaus Hentschel & Nick Hopwood
11:30-12:00 Coffee break
12:00-12:30 Concluding Remarks. Alfons Zarzoso & Josep Simon
12:30-13:30 General discussion
14:00 Closing lunch

The School sessions and discussion will be conducted in English

Place: Institut Menorquí d’Estudis (Camí des Castell, Maó, Menorca)


Registration Pack 1: 300 euros
(includes conference fees, lodging in individual room and lunches)

Registration Pack 2: 200 euros
(includes conference fees, lodging in shared room and lunches)

Registration Pack 3: 100 euros
(includes conference fees and lunches)


Early registrants (before March 30, 2011) receive a 50 euros discount on conference fees.


February, 16th, 2011: deadline for grants application
March, 15th, 2011:Deadline for submission of students papers for pre-circulation
March, 22nd, 2011: Announcement of grants
March,  30th, 2011: Deadline for registration with discount
April, 25th, 2011: Deadline for registration
May, 19-21, 2011: Spring School


The organisation strongly recommends payment by bank transfer to:

2100 0963 67 0200031280, IBAN: ES30 2100 0963 6702 0003 1280
Caixa d’Estalvis i Pensions de Barcelona, BIC: CAIXESBBXXX
(Branch 0963, carrer del Carme 44 , 08001 Barcelona)
Holder: I.E.C. Soc. Catalana Història de la Ciència

Payment by cheque adressed to SCHCT Institut d’Estudis Catalans is also possible. Please send it to:
SCHCT  Institut d’Estudis Catalans 
C. Carme 47 – 08001 Barcelona (SPAIN)


A limited number of grants will be provided in order to cover school fees, accommodation and/or travel expenses. Applicants may apply by sending a CV and a letter by e-mail to springschool2011@iec.cat before 16th February 2011.

The letter should include a statement of interests, a financial statement, and a draft title and abstract (300 words) – if submitting a paper.

Credit card information (number and expiry date) will be provided by awarded participants in order to guaranteeing their attendance to the school.


I. Museums (May 17-19, 2001)
II. Journalism (April 3-5, 2003)
III. Cinema (April 14-16, 2005)
IV. Publicity and Propaganda (May 17-19, 2007)
V. Radioactivity in the Public Sphere (May 21-23, 2009)

Former lecturers

Benet, Vicente (Universitat Jaume I, Castelló)
Bennett, Jim (University of Oxford, England)
Bergeron, Andrée (Palais de la Découverte, Paris)
Brenni, Paolo (Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, Firenze, Italy)
Cantor, Geoffrey (University of Leeds, England)
Jurdant, Baudouin (Université de Paris VII, France)
Martinet, Alexis (Institut de Cinématographie Scientifique, Meudon, France)
Menéndez-Navarro, Alfredo (Departamento de A. P. e Historia de la Ciencia, Universidad de Granada)
Olmi, Giuseppe (Università di Bologna, Italy)
Pickstone, John (University of Manchester, England)
Rasmussen, Anne (Université de Strasbourg, France)
Smith, Melissa (Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, University of Manchester)
Soubiran, Sébastien (Institut de Recherches Interdisciplinaires sur les Sciences et la Technologie, Université Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg)
Tansey, Tilli (Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine, London)
Walker, Mark (Union College, Schenectady NY)
Weinants, Thomas (Visual Media, Belgium)
Weingart, Peter (Bielefeld Universität, Germany)



For further information please contact:

Josep Simon, josicas@alumni.uv.es
Alfons Zarzoso, azarzoso@museudelamedicina.cat

Organizing Commitee: Josep Miquel Vidal, Alfons Zarzoso, Josep Simon

Institut Menorquí d’Estudis
Camí des Castell, 28
07702 Maó (Menorca)
Tel.: 971 35 15 00
Fax: 971 35 16 42

Institut d’Estudis Catalans
Societat Catalana d’Història de la Ciència i de la Tècnica
Carrer del Carme 47 – 08001 Barcelona
Tel.  +34 93 324 85 81
Fax: +34 93 270 11 89

Organized by:

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CEHIC european

Sponsored by:

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Conselleria logo-ministeri de cinn
Piulades de la SCHCT


Actes d’Història de la Ciència i de la Tècnica