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New Museum Exhibit Shows Imaging’s Beauty

June 27, 2011
Written by: , Filed in: Musculoskeletal Radiology
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You know, one thing that gets lost in the great debate about imaging overuse is the coolness factor. Sometimes, a physician has to at least be tempted to order images not only because of the specific diagnostic information they can provide but also simply because of the sheer amazingness of what today’s scans can show, in all their digital, manipulable, 3-D glory.

Hence the new exhibition that opened over the weekend at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. It’s called Picturing Science: Museum Scientists and Imaging Technologies, and it’s scheduled to run for a full year. (Click here for a two-and-a-half-minute video preview, and here for a detailed museum press release.)

As Ellen V. Futter, JD, president of the museum, put it:

When science and technology come together, the fruits are often beautiful and surprising, as this new exhibition so brilliantly demonstrates.

The exhibition consists of more than 20 sets of large-format prints showing images created by a variety of techniques and machines, including various kinds of microscopes and the museum’s powerful industrial CT scanner. Not all are radiology-related by any means, but check out samples at DiagnosticImaging.com of some intriguing images created by the CT scanner and a conventional X-ray machine.

As the press release puts it, “The images in Picturing Science were taken as part of current research at the museum, including studies of evolving supernovas, long-buried ancient villages, microscopic hairs on wasp antennae, biological fluorescence, and more.”

Like radiologists, the scientists who routinely create these images sometimes have to step back a bit to realize just how extraordinary they are.

“There is a nexus of aesthetics and science that too often goes unstated by us scientists to the public,” said exhibition curator Mark Siddall, PhD, who works in the museum’s Division of Invertebrate Zoology. “This is a unique opportunity for researchers at the museum to share their personal fascination with what they see in the course of their research.”

The museum, which is on the west side of Central Park at 79th Street, is open daily except for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The exhibition runs through June 24, 2012.

Related seminar: Imaging Advances: Abdominal, Thoracic, Skeletal

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