Is seeing believing - the art of science

Is seeing believing?

Scientists have always used images, models and other visual aids to show people the results of their observations and experiments. We are visual creatures. We understand images much more easily and quickly than words or mathematical symbols, and scientists have made the most of this. By helping us to see science, they have changed the way we see our world.

This exhibition focuses on the history of scientific images. Based around illustrations found in the Library and Archives of the Royal Society, it aims to show some of the iconic images of science and some lesser-known but beautiful scientific illustrations. The earlier material provides a context for more recent work, reminding us that even in an age of photographic reproductions, images and models are still produced daily by scientists and still have the power to startle and intrigue.

Explore this exhibition using the links below:

Unless otherwise indicated, the images reproduced here have been taken from the Royal Society collections. We would like to thank the following people and institutions for their kind support:

  • Professor John Barrow FRS
  • Alison Boyle, The Science Museum
  • Annie Cavanagh, Multi-Media Unit, The School of Pharmacy, University of London
  • Simon Chaplin, The Hunterian Museum, Royal College of Surgeons
  • Iroise Dumontheil, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London
  • Annette Faux, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge
  • Sir Harry Kroto FRS
  • Sir Aaron Klug FRS
  • David McCarthy, Electron Microscopy Unit, The School of Pharmacy, University of London
  • Vyki Sparkes, The Science Museum

Events and exhibitions

We run a programme of regular events, conferences and exhibitions on the history of science for researchers and members of the public.

Audio recordings and video recordings are available for many of our events.

An archive of some of our past exhibitions is also available.