Bibliography of Brian J Ford

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Images of Science - a History of Scientific Illustration (1992)

208pp, colour and monochrome photographs and line illustrations
UK edition - ISBN 0-7123-0267-0, London: British Library, November.
US edition - ISBN 019-520983-4, 224pp, New York: Oxford University Press.

From the publisher's notes on the book jacket:


The portrayal of scientific discoveries has a long, though not always honourable, history. Many of the pioneers of scientific illustration can be proved today to have attained a high level of observational accuracy, while some of their successors were neither so painstaking nor so scrupulous. The subiect has featured a host of plagiarists who deliberately misappropriated the ideas of others, often perpetuating errors for generations and precipitating a decline in the professional standards upheld by their forebears .

In this superbly illustrated survey, Brian Ford unravels many strands in the development of scientific knowledge over the centuries, showing how the study of illustration provides a retrospective view of the conduct of research. The accuracy of illustrations from certain periods can be seen to reflect the contemporary status of a particular science, while in some cases identical images have recurred over the centuries. Comparison of derivative works with their predecessors is highly instructive, reveali~ a 'family tree' of images descended from a single original. By retracing some of these patterns, the author shows how discoveries have been incorporated into the body of knowledge and, equally important, how errors have been perpetuated and misinformation compounded. Photographs of the author's detailed recreations of some of the pioneering experiments of early workers such as Hooke and Leeuwenhoek supplement the many printed and manuscript examples.

Drawing on a wealth of pictorial, biographical and bibliographical sources in The British Library and other major collections worldwide, and covering the whole range of scientific disciplines, Images of Science is a detailed and very accessible account of the development of scientific illustration from the works of the earliest civilizations to the dawn of modem science.


Brian J. Ford has published many books and scholarly papers on the development of modern science. He lectures widely in the United States and Europe on his research in the history of science, and his work has been extensively reviewed in Scientific American, Nature and New Scientist. A Member of the History of Science Society in the United States, he is Chairman of the History Committee at the Institute of Biology, of which he is a Fellow; and Past Chairman of the Science and Technical Writers Committee at the Society of Authors. He is a member of Council at the Linnean Society in London, where he is also Surveyor of Scientific Instruments. Many of his twenty books have been published in translation around the world. They include The Revealing Lens (1973), Single Lens - the Story of the Simple Microscope (1985) and the widely acclaimed Cult of the Expert (1982).

Brian J. Ford is a Member of the Court of Governors and a Fellow of the University of Cardiff, and a Fellow of the Philosophical Society of Cambridge University. He resides in Cambridgeshire.

Front cover illustration: Tycho Brahe, Astronomiae instauratae Mechanica . . . Wandesburgi, 1598. Hand-coloured plate from the first edition of Tycho Brahe's work on astronomy, showing a mural quadrant with two clocks that were made for him to indicate time with the greatest accuracy then possible. The large seated figure is a portrait of Brahe in 1587, aged 40. British Library, C.54.h.3. Back cover illustration: Detail from an early 15th-century English manuscript of'L'image du Monde' by Gautier of Metz, showing God creating the world. British Library, Harley MS 334, f.33v.

Jacket designed by John Mitchell
Printed in England

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