Of Microscopes and Metaphors: Visual Analogy as a Scientific Tool — Matteo Farinella

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Abstract

Throughout history, visualizations have played a central role in articulating scientific ideas and innovation. Even though technological systems and tools enables scientists to explore increasingly more ‘abstract’ scientific domains, sometimes traditional visualization techniques are no longer adequate to guide our understanding. Analogies and conceptual metaphors have often been highlighted as a key component of scientific thinking, especially when dealing with intangible entities and phenomena. In particular, visual metaphors, such as those found in comics, seem uniquely suited to illustrate complex scientific phenomena and promote public understanding of science. This article draws an analogy between microscopes and an imaginary metaphorical apparatus, in order to explore the potential (and limitations) of visual metaphors in scientific research.

Keywords: Communication , metaphors , psychology , science , visualization

How to Cite: Farinella, M., 2018. Of Microscopes and Metaphors: Visual Analogy as a Scientific Tool. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 8, p.18. DOI:http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.130

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