Keynote Speakers


Joy S. Reidenberg Ph.D.

To Draw or Not to Draw? That is the Question! The Pros and Cons of Hand-Drawn Illustrations Versus Digital Photography for Anatomical Figures

Has the digital revolution provided advances in generating more accurate images than hand-drawn illustrations? In this study, the accuracy of these two methods are compared. A dolphin skull was both drawn and photographed from a lateral view, and the resulting images were scaled and superimposed over each other on a lateral photograph of the dolphin’s whole head. Results show that both methodologies introduced morphological distortions during the reduction of a 3-D object to a 2-D image. Variability occurred in perspective, focus, and lighting. Artistic renditions incorporated perspective distortions when multiple views were summed into one image. Digital images revealed perspective variability related to the angle between the object and the camera. Variations in the range of focus were related to depth of field, which was fixed during camera shutter depression. However, the human eye accommodated to a range of focal points at variable distances, thus enabling the artist to draw all points in focus. The angle and amount of lighting increased depth perception, but obscured regions in shadow unless artificially lit by a flash. Digital manipulations of lighting also affected brightness/contrast or color saturation/hue. In sum, each method provided advantages that enhanced perception, but simultaneously created artifacts that distorted reality.
Joy S. Reidenberg, Ph.D. is a Professor at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, NY, and Adjunct Professor at New York College of Podiatric Medicine. She attended Cornell University (B.A., 1983), and Mount Sinai’s Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences (M.Phil., 1986; Ph.D., 1988).  Joy is a scientist and an educator. She teaches anatomy, histology, embryology, and imaging to medical and graduate students. Her research focuses on comparative anatomy of animals adapted to environmental extremes (particularly marine mammals, including whales).  She hopes to mimic these animals’ anatomical adaptations to develop protective/preventive technologies or new medical treatments for human diseases and injuries.

As an artist, Joy has linked her career in science with her keen interest in creating visual representations of nature. Anatomy is the perfect discipline for combining both interests, as it is a very visual science. For example, Joy incorporates examples from art history in her lectures. She has illustrated many of her own scientific publications. Her technical drawings underlie figures perfected by professional illustrators for lectures, research publications, and even animations used in television documentaries.

Educational outreach is a passion of Joy’s. She delights in explaining anatomy to the public, and has been a featured speaker at many local, national, and international science events. Her biggest impact may be in the various educational television documentaries she has presented (e.g., BBC, Discovery Channel, NatGeoWild, and PBS), as well as print interviews (e.g., Nature, New York Times-Science Times, O the Oprah Magazine), and TED talks.

Jonathan Corum

Ice Worlds: Visualizing Science at The New York Times

Explaining scientific discoveries about Antarctica and Pluto through information graphics and virtual reality.
Jonathan Corum is the science graphics editor for The New York Times.

He produces the award-winning “Out There” video series about the exploration of space, and has developed a series of virtual-reality films on science topics.

He has a degree in Art and East Asian Studies from Yale College, and worked as a type designer and graphic designer before joining The Times in 2005.


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