Picturing Science and Engineering

Picturing Science and Engineering

By Felice C. Frankel

A guide to making scientific photographs for presentations, journal submissions, and covers, featuring step-by-step instructions and case studies, by an award-winning science photographer; illustrated in color throughout.





A guide to making scientific photographs for presentations, journal submissions, and covers, featuring step-by-step instructions and case studies, by an award-winning science photographer; illustrated in color throughout.

One of the most powerful ways for scientists to document and communicate their work is through photography. Unfortunately, most scientists have little or no training in that craft. In this book, celebrated science photographer Felice Frankel offers a guide for creating science images that are both accurate and visually stunning. Picturing Science and Engineering provides detailed instructions for making science photographs using the DSLR camera, the flatbed scanner, and the phone camera. The book includes a series of step-by-step case studies, describing how final images were designed for cover submissions and other kinds of visualizations. Lavishly illustrated in color throughout, the book encourages the reader to learn by doing, following Frankel as she recreates the stages of discovery that lead to a good science visual. Frankel shows readers how to present their work with graphics—how to tell a visual story—and considers issues of image adjustment and enhancement. She describes how developing the right visual to express a concept not only helps make science accessible to nonspecialists, but also informs the science itself, helping scientists clarify their thinking. The book includes references to Frankel's online tutorials at the book's website—visual “punctuations” of this printed edition—along with how-to videos and other additional materials.

Published with the generous support of Furthermore: a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund.


$49.95 T ISBN: 9780262038553 472 pp. | 9 in x 10 in 508 color illus.


  • Massive and beautifully illustrated, the book is a trove of clear and concise recipes in granular detail.


  • Spectacular.... A brilliant demonstration of just how photogenic science can be and a guide to taking similar pictures.


  • Picturing Science and Engineering can help you take better photos and present your work more clearly to your reader or audience.

    EE Times

  • In a word, remarkable.... It is a fascinating, wonderful volume that will encourage its readers to think about images, their role in science, and how the world sees science and technology. Creative and insightful, the book is an absolutely unique achievement.

    Physics Today

  • Extraordinary macro and microscale photography is presented in startling, yet harmonious, relation to the principles of graphic design across 450 dazzling pages....The book is essential.



  • As we create ever more sophisticated tools to explore the micro and macro universe, it's easy to become detached from agape understanding and appreciation of what we can't see, feel, and sense. Felice Frankel's work brings those worlds within reach, so that we can appreciate not only the technical marvels but also the enormous beauty and infinite variety of creation, both natural and manmade.

    Yo-Yo Ma

  • I'm pretty sure there has never been an instructional manual more gorgeous than this one, nor more captivating to people (like me) who have no practical need for its instructions. Useful, enlightening, magnificent: what more could anyone want?

    Kurt Andersen

    author of Fantasyland and host of public radio's Studio 360

  • Felice Frankel shows us how to create photographic images that make complex things appear simple. No matter if she uses a camera or a scanner, a wide-angle or a microscope, she advocates clarity and achieves beauty. She works to delight.

    Stefan Sagmeister


  • Frankel is a pioneer in the communication of modern science through photography. With this wonderful book she presents an object of art as much as an instructive document. Each page is rich in visual aesthetics—but unlike most other works of art, here the artist tells her secrets.

    Phillip Sharp

    Institute Professor, MIT, Nobel laureate 1993 in Medicine and/or Physiology

  • The clearest way into science is through wonderment. In Picturing Science and Engineering, Frankel curates a stellar cabinet of scientific curiosities. For the first time, learning how to picture and picturing how to learn come together to enable, empower, inspire, and enlighten all sentient beings.

    Neri Oxman

    architect, designer, inventor

  • With the clarity of an expert and the passion of a true aficionado, Frankel once again proves to be crucial in bridging scientific discovery and public consciousness.

    Paola Antonelli

    Senior Curator, Architecture & Design, Director, Research & Development, The Museum of Modern Art