Thursday, December 13, 2007

Scientific Imagery

During 1959-62 I did research on the blood oxygen transport protein Hemoglobin, and I remember how excited I was by the Harvard lectures at which Perutz and Kendrew presented the first three dimensional protein structures determined by X-ray diffraction. The figure at left showing the structure of the muscle oxygen storage protein myoglobin is from a 1962 Scientific American article by Kendrew.

Goodsell and Johnson, in an article in PLoS Biology, describe several of the challenges facing artists who try to represent complex biological structures, who must selectively disclose, distort, and fill in gaps. The article contains several elegant graphics.

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