13 Most Iconic Science Pictures Ever Taken

The truth behind the iconic images that changed the way we think about the world.

einstein tongue
Wikipedia

Although much of science is tricky, specialised and, well, kinda mathsy , occasionally a picture will show up and capture the imaginations of everyone from your little brother to your science teacher to your grandma. You don't need to go through six years of PhD research to find the beauty in science here. If a picture is usually worth a thousand words, then these iconic images could fill a book.

Sometimes these photographs have something to say about the human condition, sometimes they stir up public controversy and sometimes they just look plain cool.

They are many things, but one thing they all have in common, is that they are all, undoubtedly, iconic.

13. Hubble's eXtreme Deep Field

Hubble Extreme Deep Field
NASA

The Hubble eXtreme Deep Field (XDF) is the deepest optical view of space that we have managed to capture.

The image covers a tiny patch of sky, smaller than the tip of your thumb held out at arm's length, and yet it contains at least 5,500 different galaxies.

Because of the time it takes light to reach the Earth across such enormous distances, the XDF reveals galaxies as old as 13.2 billion years, close to the beginning of the universe itself 13.7 billion years ago. The youngest galaxy found in the XDF existed just 450 million years after the the big bang.

 
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