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Notes and Records of the Royal Society announces winner of its bi-annual Essay Award

18 May 2012

The latest winner of the Notes and Records Essay Award will be publically announced at a reception at the Royal Society today (18th May).

The award winner is Meghan C. Doherty, for her essay entitled 'Discovering the "True Form:" Hooke's Micrographia and the Visual Vocabulary of Engraved Portraits.’  The essay uses Robert Hooke's Micrographia to examine the intersection of visual conventions for portraiture with the viewing of the microscopic world. Doherty claims that Hooke was aided by the visual vocabulary developed by engravers for translating a three-dimensional world into a two-dimensional representation of it, and that his awareness of these conventions sets his illustrations apart from his predecessors.

The prize was judged by a panel of historians of science comprising Pratik Chakrabati, Jeff Hughes and Alison Morrison-Low. The judges said of the winning entry:

‘The judges unanimously agreed that one essay stood out above the others and deserved to be declared the outright winner. In a detailed analysis of Hooke's artistic connections and his studies of drawing, Doherty shows persuasively and elegantly how contemporary visual codes in portraiture informed and enriched Hooke's natural philosophical representations in the Micrographia. We found this a fascinating paper, well researched, written and presented with flair, and with a maturity and clarity of purpose that marked it out as a clear winner.'

Doherty is the Director and Curator of the Doris Ulmann Galleries and Assistant Professor of Art History at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky. She receives a prize of £500 and a subscription to Notes and Records. Her essay will be published in the journal later this year.

On learning that she had won the award, Doherty said:

'I am delighted to be the recipient of the 2nd Notes and Records Essay Award. I am excited to have my work appear in Notes and Records because the Archives of the Royal Society have been so essential to my research.'

The Notes and Records Essay Award is open to young researchers in the history of science who have completed a postgraduate degree within the last five years. The unpublished essay, based on original research, relates to aspects of the history of science covered by the journal.

Notes and Records is an international journal which publishes original research in the history of science, technology and medicine up to and including the 21st century.