Richard Bright: Why are scientists so strongly attracted to visual images?
Arthur I Miller: Scientists draw as a way to come to grips with a problem by playing with different approaches in a way bordering on a free association of images. They often internalise this with thought experiments. These are performed in the ‘mind’s eye’, have a high degree of visual imagery, and know no bounds regarding laboratory equipment. Just about every major scientific breakthrough has been accomplished through visual thinking. We recall the discoveries made by Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schrödinger, Francis Crick, James Watson and Richard Feynman. Einstein’s daydreaming about what it would be like to catch up with a point on a light wave and ride alongside resulted in his discovery of relativity theory in 1905.
RB: What kind of transformations are taking place when ideas or data are visualized?
Get the Full Experience
Read the rest of this article, and view all articles in full from just £10 for 3 months.