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Visualizing Science


Additional Information

Admission requirements

A propedeutic exam of any Bachelor’s program.
Elective students: please contact the study advisor of your Bachelor’s program for information on enrollment.


Our culture is increasingly a visual culture. This holds also for science. Advanced imaging technologies have created novel possibilities to visualize large amounts of data that facilitate scientific analysis. This fourth out of five StiS courses delves into the various ways in which visual tools and media are shaping knowledge and objectivity, and how they have done so in the past. It would seem that with the help of user-friendly tools and a minimum of effort, science can be enhanced with gorgeous images – as beautiful and engaging as they are accurate and precise. Using examples from neuroimaging, GIS data, and medical images, this course discusses why scientific images are not merely illustrations to scholarly texts, but are crucial to the way objects and data are disclosed and made analyzable.

Course objectives

  1. The student can describe the three most important shifts in the use of scientific images as evidence from the scientific revolution until the present, based on Daston & Galison’s book Objectivity (2007)
    1. The student can distinguish at least 5 different ways in which scientific images are being produced
    2. The student can critically assess the strengths and weaknesses of these 5 ways to produce scientific images
    3. The student can relate these 5 ways to produce images to the different contexts in which they are used
    4. The student can prepare an interview with a professional visualiser
    5. The student can give a presentation in which s/he describes how the visualiser reflects on his or her professional practice
    6. The student can write a short analytic paper (2000 words) on scientific visualisation that uses as its theoretical framework at least two articles or book chapters discussed in class


Lectures + Working group meetings:

  • Friday November 4th – December 16th from 10.00 until 13.00 hours 1A22

Assessment method

  • Obligatory attendance of the lectures and work groups;

  • Weekly assignments based on preparatory reading material.

  • An interview with a professional visualizer (f.i. a radiologist, science mapping expert, medical illustrator, 3D simulation specialist)

  • A presentation (25 minutes) with slides (Powerpoint, Prezi) on the basis of the interview with the visualizer.

  • Course paper: To complete the course, students have to hand in a final paper (2000 words) that addresses one or more of the course’s main themes or an issue identified by the student, and draws on the reading material for the course.


We will use blackboard as communication platform for lecture notes, assignments and announcements.

Reading list

Will be made available via Blackboard .

Registration is open from May 1st until August 15 2016. The course catalogue code is 6000MSCTSN, activity number 1524.
Please note that we can accommodate a maximum of 40 students. Admission is based on the students’ qualifications + a first come, first served basis.
Students from other universities will need permission to register.
Please send an e-mail to Inge van der Weijden at
This also holds for Exchange and Study Abroad students. For more information please see the “Prospective students website”:

Dr. Inge van der Weijden, coordinator minor StiS,, 071-5276073

Contact information

Dr. Inge van der Weijden, coordinator minor StiS,, 071-5276073