I contend people are less afraid to ask questions when they see images. Most have taken pictures and can even speak a photographic “language.” You can take notice of color, for example, and wonder if it suggests meaning – why is that black hole orange? I bet you know how to ask questions about a photograph.
Perhaps the book will stir up some conversations about why the training of our scientists has a void in the visual realm. At the very least, if courses are not available, then other universities might consider creating a master class such as those we coordinate on our campus. We ask a limited number of graduate students to submit their draft figures and/or images in advance so that I can first take a look. And then, as a group, we gather to discuss each draft in depth. The most successful master classes are interdisciplinary. It’s interesting to hear a geologist describe to a chemist her color choices for a particular figure.