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August 2011

University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC, Offers Exhibit That Looks at the Invisible

The University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC, will present the exhibit, Imaging the Invisible, on view at McKissick Museum, located on the USC Horseshoe, from Aug. 13 through Dec. 9, 2011.

The exhibition takes up the particular question of how technology has changed the public’s understanding of the non-visible world. From Leeuwenhoek’s adoption of the microscope for use in biology to current techniques for imaging atoms at the nano-scale, imaging technology has changed scientific discourse and research inquiry, but it has also changed how the general public conceptualizes scientific findings.

More specifically, as imaging technology has progressed it has created an epistemic quandary: Are scientific images faithful representations? Can we believe what we see through a microscope, through a camera lens, or underwater? What can we expect to learn when particles one-billionth of a meter are magnified? Is imaging science a steady march of progress? Do technological advances always result in the ability to image ever-smaller things?

Imaging the Invisible is an exhibit that surveys particular instances in the history of imaging technology to question the changing meaning of representation in scientific imagery. Visitors are asked to consider the challenges scientists face in convincing others that the images the instruments produce are evidence of an unseen reality.

Several USC research projects will be highlighted within the exhibition including work being done by the NanoCenter; the Department of Art; the A.C. Moore Herbarium; McKissick Museum and the School of Library and Information Science; and the South Carolina Institute of Anthropology and Archaeology and Members of the Maritime Research Division (MRD).

Primary funding for this exhibit was provided by the National Science Foundation, Nanotechnology in Society Network Node: Imaging, Scientific Change and Public Understanding of Emerging Nanotechnologies. Additional funding provided by USC’s Office of Undergraduate Research Magellan Scholars Program.

For further information check our SC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Museum at 803/777-7251 or visit (


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