Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Genuine AIAS born book publication

What prompts physicists to blur their images before showing them to biologists? The new book ‘The Aesthetics of Data Representation: More than Pretty Pictures’ on scientific data representation edited by AIAS Former Fellows Lotte Philipsen and Rikke Schmidt investigates issues like this.

What prompts physicists to blur their images before showing them to biologists? Considering that the astronomer’s data consists solely of invisible, electric impulses, what is the difference between representing outer space as images, graphs, or sound? How does a work of contemporary art differ from a scientific image if we cannot visually distinguish between the two? How do aesthetics, art, and design influence scientific visualization and vice versa?

These are just some of the important questions that are asked in the new interdisciplinary book The Aesthetics of Data Representation: More than Pretty Pictures (Routledge, 2017) edited by AIAS Former Fellows, Associate Professor in art history Lotte Philipsen and Associate Professor in data visualization Rikke Schmidt Kjærgaard. In 12 closely related chapters, the different authors investigate scientific data representation through the joint optics of humanities and natural sciences.

A first-born AIAS ‘baby’

The book is a genuine AIAS production as the idea behind book was formed in the meeting between AIAS fellows with different academic backgrounds – humanists and natural scientists. A meeting that evolved into a formalised discussion on data visualization at the international AIAS Conference More Than Pretty Pictures: The Aesthetics of Scientific Data Representation that took place at AIAS in 2015. Six of the book's 18 contributing authors are AIAS Fellows or Former Fellows, as e.g. Prof. of physics Steen Hannestad and Assistant Prof. in molecular biology Bjørn Panyella Pedersen. International contributions come from both academics and industry e.g. Kelly Krause, Creative Director at Nature and Martin Krzywinski, Scientist at the Genome Sciences Centre, BC Cancer Agency, Canada. The book volume bears witness to the importance in research for welcoming and supporting the meeting of different academic disciplines and methods.

Book launch reception: Monday 30 October 2017

Want to know more? AIAS invites all interested in hearing more about the book project and its topic to join the AIAS book launch reception on Monday 30 October 2017 at 3:00pm. Read more here: http://aias.au.dk/events/show/artikel/aias-book-reception-the-aesthetics-of-scientific-data-representation-more-than-pretty-pictures/ 

More about the book

The Aesthetics of data representation: More than Pretty Pictures edited by Lotte Philipsen and Rikke Schmidt Kjærgaard. Routledge, 2017 (150 pages, 42 illus.) ISBN: 978-1-138-67937-5 (hardback), 978-1-315-56341-1 (e-book).



Lotte Philipsen, Associate Professor, lottephilipsen@cc.au.dk,
Phone: +45 87 16 30 35 / +45 50 90 61 48
Lena Bering, Communications Officer, lber@aias.au.dk

Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies, AIAS 
Høegh-Guldbergs Gade 6B 
DK-8000 Aarhus C