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Crossing Over: Art and Science at Caltech, 1920–2020

Available October 2024

Edited by Peter Sachs Collopy and Claudia Bohn-Spector

This book offers an exciting in-depth look at the intersection of art and science at the renowned California Institute of Technology.

Science is as much a visual practice as a textual or quantitative one. For centuries, scientists have used microscopes, telescopes, painting, illustration, printing, and photography to perceive nature and communicate what they see in it, often in collaboration with artists. In the twentieth century, scientists also came to view creativity as an essential resource and looked to art to foster it.

Crossing Over is an interdisciplinary publication that looks at one prominent university—the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena—as a site for scientific and artistic image production. Uncovering the rich pictorial record embedded in its Archives and Special Collections, a team of visual culture scholars examines Caltech through a series of tightly focused case studies. How, the authors ask, have science and engineering institutions like Caltech used scientific representation, art, and architecture to construct themselves and produce discovery and invention? This book reveals new facets of life and work at Caltech that will be illuminating even to those familiar with the school, showcasing views that informed—and were informed by—the vibrant visual culture of Southern California.

This volume is published to accompany an exhibition on view at the California Institute of Technology from September 27 to December 15, 2024.

Peter Sachs Collopy is university archivist and head of Archives and Special Collections at the California Institute of Technology. Claudia Bohn-Spector is an independent curator.

320 pages
8 x 10 inches
306 color illustrations
ISBN 978-1-60606-942-4

Getty Publications
Imprint: Caltech Library in Association with Getty Publications