Cosmos vs. Canvas

Cosmos vs Canvas: Using Art to Reveal Science in Astronomy Public Outreach Images

Speaker:  Dr. Jayanne English

Abstract:  Bold colour images from telescopes act as extraordinary ambassadors for astronomers because they pique the public's curiosity.  But are they snapshots documenting physical reality?  Or are we looking at artistic spacescapes created by digitally manipulating astronomy images? This lecture provides a tour of how original black and white data are converted into the colour images gracing magazines. Often the attempt by scientists to represent their discoveries all but drowns out the voice of visual literacy. Yet sometimes in this battle, between the cultures of science and visual art, both sides win. This struggle will be presented from the perspective of a professional astronomer who has coordinated the Hubble Heritage Project and also trained as an artist. This lecture outlines how artistic techniques - such as colour contrast and composition - can be used to produce a more engaging scientific image with greater clarity for the non-expert public.

Date: Sunday April 13 2014, 2:00pm
Location: Propeller Gallery, 984 Queen St West, Toronto (just east of Ossington)

Dr. English is a member of the Winnipeg chapter of the CRSC. She is an astronomer at the Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Manitoba, artist (graduate of the Ontario College of Art), and public educator. Dr. English studied at the Australian National University, did postdoctoral work at Queen's University and the Hubble Space Telescope Institute. She has given numerous interviews for CBC radio's Quirks and Quarks.

This lecture, co-sponsored by the CRSC, is part of the exhibition "Occam's Razor: Science, Art & Aesthetics", currently on at Propeller Gallery, and on at the Ontario Science Centre's !dea Gallery from May 3-June 1.