Envisioning Science

Envisioning Science

The Design and Craft of the Science Image

By Felice C. Frankel





Science and engineering research must be communicated within the research community and to the general public, and a crucial element of that communication is visual. In Envisioning Science, science photographer Felice Frankel provides a guide to creating dynamic and compelling photographs for journal submissions and scientific presentations to funding agencies, investors, and the general public. The book is organized from the large to small—from photographing laboratory equipment to capturing new material and biological structures at the microscopic level. Full-color illustrations including many side-by-side comparisons provide an extensive gallery of fine science photography.

The book begins with a brief historical overview in a foreword by science educator Phylis Morrison. Frankel discusses technical issues and, just as important, her personal approach to creating images that are both scientifically informational and accessible. This is a handbook that should become a standard tool in all research laboratories.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262062251 336 pp. | 6.5 in x 11 in color throughout


$41.00 X ISBN: 9780262562058 336 pp. | 6.5 in x 11 in color throughout


  • ...one of the year's more intriguing concepts for an art book (or is it a science book?) It's a rare yin and yang concoction that satisfied both sides of the brain.


  • The words [in On the Surface of Things] are no less remarkable [than the photos], balancing weighty concepts from the laboratory with a literate tone as light and elegant as a spider's web. A wonderful achievement indeed.

    Scientific American

  • What's remarkable, especially since they haven't watered down the science, is how accessible the book is...We tend to think of surfaces as superficial, but for scientists surfaces are where things happen. Frankel shows us how beautiful those surfaces can be; Whitesides, how revelatory.


  • ...a beautifully designed array of arresting images.

    Dee Breger


  • A valuable resource for researchers trying to get the best picture they can of their findings.

    Michael Felton

    Today's Chemist at Work

  • ...[a] truly remarkable book.

    G.I. Barenblatt

    Physics Today

  • ...an art object as well as a lab hand-book...as good a workbook as any you will find.

    J. Turney

    The Times Higher Education Supplement

  • Envisioning Science can help you, your students and your trainees to produce engaging illustrations.

    Lee A. Meserve

    TRENDS in Endocrinology and Metabolism

  • Frankel's is a practical handbook that combines stunning pictures with descriptive text.

    Wendy Winn

    Technical Communication

  • Here's an important new guide to photographing scientific material and creating accurate yet dramatic photographic presentations.

    Angelynn Grant

    Design Annual

  • The text is highlighted by hundreds of stunning examples and detailed instructions.

    Science News


  • Felice Frankel has produced a remarkable book about marrying pictorial art with science and engineering. The figures are a delight to the eye and stimulation to the brain. What's more, she explains how you can create your own.

    Phillip A. Sharp

    Institute Professor and Director of the McGovern Institute, MIT, Nobel Laureate in Medicine (1993)

  • Felice Frankel is a skilled photographer with the eye of an artist and the mind of a scientist. Envisioning Science is a splendid book, full of breathtaking images and instructions for how we mere mortals might produce similar ones.

    David Goodstein

    Professor of Physics and Applied Physics and Frank J. Gilloon Distinguished Teaching and Service Professor, California Institute of Technology

  • Books on scientific photography with such beauty, breadth, and insight are rare. Felice Frankel's Envisioning Science is chock full of mind-boggling images and valuable information—not only for curious artists, students, and lay people, but also for seasoned researchers and photographers. The eclectic Frankel is both a scientist and photographer, and with the cold logic of the one and the inspired vision of the other, she covers an array of topics sure to stimulate your imagination and sense of wonder at the incredible vastness of the physical world.

    Clifford A. Pickover

    author of A Passion for Mathematics and Sex, Drugs, Einstein, and Elves

  • In the beginning were the image and the eye. Then man-the-scientist became enamored of the word and neglectful of the image. Now the small group of those who fight back welcomes Felice Frankel as a marvelous addition, both as skillful performer and as experienced and patient teacher. Her book is priceless.

    Benoit B. Mandelbrot

    Sterling Professor of Mathematical Sciences, Yale University

  • Most people think of science as abstract and numerical. In fact, science is a surprisingly visual endeavor: both data and theory are often driven by pictures and images. Felice Frankel's work conveys the tremendous beauty and excitement of science—letting the layperson share in the wonder of studying the natural world.

    Eric S. Lander

    Director, Whitehead Institute/MIT Center for Genome Research; Member, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research; and Professor of Biology, MIT

  • Part of my fun job is to seek out the very best pictures possible, the amazingly cool ones conveying information and promoting new understandings. These images get integrated into designs for new exhibitions that millions of people see every year. 'Honest' pictures are hard to come by and my fondest hope is that scientists will get a hold of Felice Frankel's outstanding book and will use it to make my professional life easier! This amazing guide empowers users by translating Frankel's intuitive art into clear pathways for producing great photos about science and technology.

    Barry Aprison

    Director of Science and Technology, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

  • There's no way to describe this book other than as a true teacher's gift—a master photographer of the art of science teaches her craft, with patience, graphic detail, and feeling to all of us who need to visualize and represent this world.

    Roald Hoffmann

    Frank H. T. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters, Cornell University, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry (1981)