November 2012: The era of visual arts in science and technology

There is no doubt that visual arts play a crucial role in technology. Computers, smart phones, tablets, etc. keep on improving the quality of their screens for better graphics to enhance visual experience. In this era, almost everyone who have experience with internet, at least in the North America, is familiar with YouTube. YouTube is a platform for the public to share any kind of videos with others. How about in science? Does visual arts play a vital role in science advances?

I came across a peer-reviewed journal called Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE), suggested by my graduate study supervisor. Peer-reviwed means the contents being published are evaluated by a panel of experts in the relevant field. This is to maintain the standards of academic publications. I am fascinated by this journal because as the name suggested, it is a video-based journal instead of the tranditinal prints. As many researchers noticed, it is often difficult to reproduce experimental techniques when merely learning from simplified protocols in the Materials and Methods section of articles. It is more difficult to describe complex techniques in written words than by showing it first hand. JoVE aims to address this tissue using videos to show experimental techniques to facilitate efficient knowledge transfer. Indeed it is much easier to visualize how an experiment is performed in live actions then to read the prints to figure out how it should be performed correctly. Video is a better way to communicate scientific methods and thus learning time can be shortened. Isn’t it great when more time can be allocated to generate new ideas and discovers than to think about why a procedure did not work as expected? (Reference: www.jove.com)

By Vicki Cheng

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