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art04_Bertoline - Bertoline Paper...

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Bertoline Paper file:///W:/Cgt/Facstaff/grbertol/portugal/index.html 1 of 5 8/25/2008 8:28 AM Visual Science: An Emerging Discipline Gary R. Bertoline Purdue University West Lafayette, Indiana, USA Abstract The emergence of computer graphics as a powerful medium to communicate information is one of the primary reasons graphics is playing a larger role in engineering, science, and technology. Such a powerful medium has emerged from many sources. The author suggests that there is a philosophical foundation and a unique body of knowledge necessary for a discipline called visual science. This emerging discipline has as its foundation cognitive visualization, imaging, and geometry. These three areas when combined provide the knowledge base for visual science. The applications for visual science can be grouped into two areas: artistic and technical. It is only through the development of this emerging discipline that all graphics related activities will be viewed within the context of a common discipline: visual science. All those professionals and practitioners in the many graphics related fields can, for the first time, share their common interests. It is hoped that an international effort can be started to further define and validate the emerging discipline of visual science. Introduction There are many well recognized disciplines that have developed beginning with the ancient Greek society. Mathematics, physics, biology, language, and others are recognized by educators and laymen. There is little argument that these disciplines have a basic body of knowledge that most societies feel are an important part of their respective educational systems. The same cannot be said of graphics. Why is learning mathematical equations more important than learning about descriptive geometry and visualization? One reason can be traced to the ancient Greek philosophers who emphasized the importance of thinking skills over hand skills. Anything done with the hand was considered menial and fit only for slaves. This attitude was carried forward into the Middle Ages and later, as more formal systems of education were developed. As the knowledge base for graphics began to develop it was done by many different people scattered throughout Europe. No center for graphics knowledge seemed to emerge that could have promoted the development of a formal discipline. This has resulted in graphics having no single home in higher education today. If you look at where graphics is taught and how it is used on a typical college campus in the USA, you will find many fields of study teaching some form of graphics or using it for their own reasons. Typically, you can find graphics being taught in engineering, art, architecture, technology, science (medical illustration), and others. This diversity indicates that graphics is an important part of many disciplines. However, what is most distressing is that there is no graphics department that makes an attempt to integrate these activities and serve as the knowledge base for all.
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