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The Uses Of Photography In Science

Photography has became an essential component of many areas of science. Ever since the U.S. Surgeon General's office compiled a six-volume record of Civil War wounds shortly after the war, it has played a crucial role in the study of anatomy. Photographs can provide an objective standard for defining the visual characteristics of a species of animal or a type of rock formation.

But photography can also depict things the human eye cannot see at all. Hours-long exposures taken through telescopes bring out astronomical details otherwise unseeable. Similar principals apply to some photos taken through microscopes. High-speed photography allows us to see a bullet in flight. In 1932, the existence of neutrons was proven using photographs, as was the existence of viruses in 1942. The planet Pluto was discovered through comparisons of photographic maps taken through telescopes.

X rays taken at hospitals are really photographs taken with x-ray light rather than visible light. Similarly, infrared and ultra-violet photographs, which detect invisible wavelengths of light, can be used for numerous purposes including astronomy and medicine, and the detection of cracks in pipes or heat loss from buildings. In all these cases, evidence and experimental results can be easily exchanged between scientists using photographs.

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Philosophy of Mind - Early Ideas to Planck lengthPhotography - The Origins Of Photography, Early Photographic Processes, The Evolution Of Cameras, Early Uses Of Photography