Representation and Misrepresentation in Biomolecular Science

David S. Goodsell

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12775/ths.2002.026

Abstract


Biological molecules are too small for direct imaging, so synthetic images are used for study and presentation of molecular structure. Three basic types of images are widely used, using different fictional elements to display different aspects of the structure: bond diagrams represent each covalent bond as a single line; spacefilling diagrams represent each atom as a sphere; and ribbon diagrams are schematic representations of the molecular topology. The widespread, and nearly exclusive, use of these three types of diagrams has influenced the course of biomolecular research and the perception of molecules in the popular media.

Keywords


biomolecular science; molecules; biology; bonding diagrams; popular media

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References


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