When Scientists Get Accidentally Artsy

Smithsonian museum specialist Sandra Raredon has been making radiographs, or X-ray images, for some 25 years. And although she doesn't necessarily consider herself an artist, per se, she's not surprised to see her work on display in that context. "I wanted people to see that they're not only scientific, but they're beautiful as well," she says on the phone.

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    Winghead shark
    Sandra J. Raredon/National Museum of Natural History/Smithsonian Institution.
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    Smalltooth sawfish
    Sandra J. Raredon/National Museum of Natural History/Smithsonian Institution.
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    Wedge-tail triggerfish
    Sandra J. Raredon/National Museum of Natural History/Smithsonian Institution.
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    Crisscross prickleback
    Sandra J. Raredon/National Museum of Natural History/Smithsonian Institution.
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    Dhiho's seahorse
    Sandra J. Raredon/National Museum of Natural History/Smithsonian Institution.
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    Long-spine porcupine fish
    Sandra J. Raredon/National Museum of Natural History/Smithsonian Institution.
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    Torrent loach
    Sandra J. Raredon/National Museum of Natural History/Smithsonian Institution.
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    Viper moray
    Sandra J. Raredon/National Museum of Natural History/Smithsonian Institution.
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    Lookdown fish
    Sandra J. Raredon/National Museum of Natural History/Smithsonian Institution.
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    Longnose butterflyfish
    Sandra J. Raredon/National Museum of Natural History/Smithsonian Institution.
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    Longnose batfish
    Sandra J. Raredon/National Museum of Natural History/Smithsonian Institution.
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    Striped mojarra
    Sandra J. Raredon/National Museum of Natural History/Smithsonian Institution.
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    Pancake batfish
    Sandra J. Raredon/National Museum of Natural History/Smithsonian Institution.
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    Tropical hatchetfish
    Sandra J. Raredon/National Museum of Natural History/Smithsonian Institution.
  • Sandra J. Raredon/National Museum of Natural History/Smithsonian Institution.
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    Slender snipe eel
    Sandra J. Raredon/National Museum of Natural History/Smithsonian Institution.
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    Grooved razorfish
    Sandra J. Raredon/National Museum of Natural History/Smithsonian Institution.
  • Sandra J. Raredon/National Museum of Natural History/Smithsonian Institution.

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A new exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History lies right at the intersection of art and science, showcasing the inherent beauty of skeletons — that is, fish skeletons.

Before the invention of X-rays, the only way to study a creature's insides was by dissection. X-rays are a quicker, cleaner and nondestructive way to learn about diet, growth and evolution. The exhibit, currently in Washington, D.C., will be traveling the country until 2015. But hey, as long as you're near a computer, check out these interactive exterior-interior photos in Smithsonian magazine.

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