“Detectors are really the way to express yourself.
To say somehow what you have in your guts.
In the case of painters, it’s painting.
In the case of sculptors, it’s sculpture.
In the case of experimental physics, it’s detectors.
The detector is the image of the guy who designed it”
- Carlo Rubbia

I started my CERN residency with a project titled “Shadow Knowledge” which is about knowledge of how to perceive the shadows; the fringes of what is enlightened (or not in the dark) - a little more about that can be found below. 
During my time at CERN I realized that this project used too many metaphors, and I decided to re-write my research question with the help of my scientific advisors Jeremy Niedziela and Rold Landua into:  “Imagine you could obtain an 'impossible' image of any object or phenomenon that you think is important, with no limits on spatial, temporal, energy, signal/noise or cost resolutions. What image would you create? (the answer can be a hypothetical image of course!)
Even so, I was also told that an image is not a tool for scientific analysis. This is why certain theorists have no wish for images whatsoever, which is why this question also became an illustration of my own dependency on images and a starting point for asking: what is an image anyway?
It also forced me to re-consider the differences between the image, the picture, the photo, a scan and an illustration, the role of ‘lensing’ and the difference between filter and effect. 

A picture, a photo or an illustration are all images, but not all images are pictures, photos or illustrations. 

A photo or photographic image is created by the reflected light rays from the object, that expose the film to produce an image. (made by capturing electromagnetic waves hailing from the visible spectrum)

Radiographic image: In radiography, X-rays that pass through the object expose the film to produce an image. Differences in the types and amounts of the materials that the X-rays must travel through are responsible for the details of the radiographic image.

Effect: An effect only changes the appearance of data of the image.

Filter: A filter alters the underlying structure or data of the image that it is applied to. 

Actions of light: absorbs, reflect, deviates/refract (bend or scatter) and emits (fluorescence).
(molecules) infrared light - hard x-rays (atoms) 

- Diffraction: the deviation of waves when they find an obstacle or go through a slit ( allows to determine the protein or virus structure in order to create vaccin or medicine and permits to know the structure and characteristics of different materials from polymeres to minerals) 

- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): Certain atomic nuclei are able to absorb and emit radio frequency energy when placed in an external magnetic field. In clinical and research MRI, hydrogen atoms are most often used to generate a detectable radio-frequency signal that is received by antennas close to the anatomy being examined. Hydrogen atoms are naturally abundant in people and other biological organisms, particularly in water and fat. For this reason, most MRI scans essentially map the location of water and fat in the body. Pulses of radio waves excite the nuclear spin energy transition, and magnetic field gradients localize the signal in space. By varying the parameters of the pulse sequence, different contrasts may be generated between tissues based on the relaxation properties of the hydrogen atoms therein.

- Photo emission analyses(PES) the emission of electrons when the matter is eradiated by electrons at different wavelengths

- A positron emission tomography (PET) scan is an imaging test that helps reveal how your tissues and organs are functioning. A PET scan uses a radioactive drug (tracer) to show this activity. This scan can sometimes detect disease before it shows up on other imaging tests. ionizing radiation.
- X-Ray microscopy: create cellular CTs to analyse biological samples and re-create them in 3D (CAT)
- Spectroscopy: light absorption is the fingerprint of the element (chemical and physical processes)
The history of spectroscopy began with Isaac Newton's optics experiments (1666–1672). Newton applied the word "spectrum" to describe the rainbow of colors that combine to form white light and that are revealed when the white light is passed through a prism. During the early 1800s, Joseph von Fraunhofer made experimental advances with dispersive spectrometers that enabled spectroscopy to become a more precise and quantitative scientific technique. Since then, spectroscopy has played and continues to play a significant role in chemistry, physics, and astronomy.
  • "In 1672, in the first paper that he submitted to the Royal Society, Isaac Newton described an experiment in which he permitted sunlight to pass through a small hole and then through a prism. Newton found that sunlight, which looks white to us, is actually made up of a mixture of all the colors of the rainbow."
  • "In 1802, William Hyde Wollaston built an improved spectrometer that included a lens to focus the Sun’s spectrum on a screen. Upon use, Wollaston realized that the colors were not spread uniformly, but instead had missing patches of colors, which appeared as dark bands in the spectrum. Later, in 1815, German physicist Joseph Fraunhofer also examined the solar spectrum, and found about 600 such dark lines (missing colors), which are now known as Fraunhofer lines, or Absorption lines."

Making images in: 
real space 
reciprocal space
of (virtual) particles, molecules ...  (catalysis, modified by pressure, temperature, electric fields, magnetic fields, 


Impossible Images [work in progress]

A  growing collection of impossible images illustrating the diverse array of limits on resolution, ‘impossibility’, ‘image’ (which ranges from photograph to dataset), and imaging technology (from huge dipole magnet telescopes to detectors connected to the LHC).
So far I have abstracted these categories of impossible images:

Images that were deemed impossible, or erroneous, because they do not represent the world as we thought we knew it (images caused by unknown or misunderstood aberration)
important: the “image of trace evidence” (evidence of event and the event of evidece)
Historically impossible images, that today have become possible
An early observation of fluorescence was described in 1560 by Bernardino de Sahagún and in 1565 by Nicolás Monardes in the infusion known as lignum nephriticum (Latin for "kidney wood").
In his 1852 paper on the "Refrangibility" (wavelength change) of light, George Gabriel Stokes described the ability of fluorspar and uranium glass to change invisible light beyond the violet end of the visible spectrum into blue light. He named this phenomenon fluorescence : "I am almost inclined to coin a word, and call the appearance fluorescence, from fluor-spar [i.e., fluorite], as the analogous term opalescence is derived from the name of a mineral."
Ernst Mach (1838 - 1916): argued that “because atoms could not be seen, belief in their existence was faith, not science. He said atoms should be regarded at best as hypothetical fictions whose postulation made sense of data but whose existence could not be confirmed.” [source]

These images are from a historic set of experiments undertaken by the German physicist and philosopher Ernst Mach. Mach was interested in the pressure waves produced by a projectile moving faster than the speed of sound.

With these images, Mach showed:
- that sharper bullets produce less turbulence, and hence less drag, than blunt bullets.
- that there are two shockwaves (and hence two sonic booms) when a projectile reaches supersonic velocities.
X-rays were discovered by William Roentgen (1895) while experimenting with a cathode radiation.
X-rays with high photon energies (above 5–10 keV) are called hard X-rays, while those with lower energy (and longer wavelength) are called soft X-rays.
- X-Ray microscopy: create cellular CTs to analyse biological samples and re-create them in 3D (CAT)


Image of Becquerel's photographic plate which has been fogged by exposure to radiation from a uranium salt. The shadow of a metal Maltese Cross placed between the plate and the uranium salt is clearly visible. (1896)
The Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB)
The accidental discovery of the CMB in 1964 by American radio astronomers Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson lies at the start of the creation of this image (2010).
Electromagnetic radiation that is a remnant from an early stage of the universe, also known as "relic radiation". The CMB is faint cosmic background radiation filling all space. It is an important source of data on the early universe because it is the oldest electromagnetic radiation in the universe, dating to the epoch of recombination.
temperature fluctuations from the 7-year Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe data seen over the full sky. The image is a mollweide projection of the temperature variations over the celestial sphere.The average temperature is 2.725 Kelvin degrees above absolute zero (absolute zero is equivalent to -273.15 ºC or -459 ºF), and the colors represent the tiny temperature fluctuations, as in a weather map. Red regions are warmer and blue regions are colder by about 0.0002 degrees. This map is the ILC (Internal Linear Combination) map, which attempts to subtract out noise from the galaxy and other sources. The technique is of uncertain reliability, especially on smaller scales, so other maps are typically used for detailed scientific analysis.

HIGGS Event display
On 4 July 2012, the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN announced the discovery of a new particle, which was later confirmed to be a Higgs boson.
On 26 November 2013, the ATLAS experiment released preliminary results that shows evidence, with a significance of 4.1 standard deviations that the Higgs boson decays to two taus (fermions).

This image is a graphical representation of one of the collision events, showing traces and energy deposits left by the particles flying through the ATLAS detector.
They possibly originate from a Higgs boson decaying into two taus, which subsequently decay into an electron (blue line) and a muon (red line).
(Image: ATLAS Experiment/CERN)

Earths magnetic hum recorded during a solar storm. source
the magnetic field of an atom   

temporarily impossible images due to political / financial constraints

Soon to be resolved (made possible), but right now impossible images

Images that will become possible in the future, but that are impossible today.
Medipix is a family of read-out chips for particle imaging and detection. The original concept of Medipix is that it works like a camera, detecting and counting each individual particle hitting the pixels when its electronic shutter is open. This enables high-resolution, high-contrast, very reliable images, making it unique for imaging applications in particular in the medical field. A colour X-ray imaging technique that could produce clearer and more accurate pictures, to help doctors give their patients more accurate diagnoses. Unfortunately, at the moment there are too much time penalties so we can just see a more overall image. Contribution: Rafael Ballabriga Sune.
Impossible image

An image of how electrons that move from one molecule to the next create chemical bonds. 
image: Philip Willke et al/Institute for Basic Science

An image of electron movements in relation to magnetism in an atom. 
Inferential impossible images (an image of the shadow of an object that cannot be ‘imaged’)
The Double Negative Gravitational Renderer (DNGR)
The DNGR is computer code used to create the iconic images of black holes and wormholes for the movie Interstellar.

The images rendered with this algorithm are from 2015, some years before the first image of the shadow of a black hole as released by
Event Horizon Telescope
An image of the shadow of a Black Hole.
The shadow of a black hole seen here is the closest we can come to an image of the black hole itself, a completely dark object from which light cannot escape.
How can you take a photo of an object that annihilates light? - you capture its shadow.
Shadow Knowledge is knowledge of how to perceive the shadows; the fringes of what is enlightened (or not in the dark) but also knowledge of what exists in the shadows....
Discussions about what is "real" are often fuelled by the use of terms like “hyperreal”, “fake” or "alternative facts". As a result, the 2010s have become a very interesting decennium for images of "reality". As it turns out Standard Models need extensions, fields of knowledge can scale and vision can reach beyond the unseeable. Take for instance the discovery of the Higgs boson particle (2012) or the capturing of the shadow of a black hole (2019) - these are examples of when science and imagination cross and together shatter norms previously thought of as 'universal realities'.
Even for the laymen, realities should now finally be understood as complex and multiple. And because of this, we need space for Shadow Knowledge - knowledge derived from objects of unsupported dimension and scale. In the shadows, things lack definition. The shadows offer shady outlines that can functions either as vectors of progress or as a paint by numbers.
Images that have indefinitely become impossible due to (technological / political) resolutions.

Pale Blue dot
Voyager 1, Pale Blue Dot is a photograph of planet Earth taken on February 14, 1990, by the Voyager 1 space probe from a record distance of about 6 billion kilometers (3.7 billion miles, 40.5 AU), as part of that day's Family Portrait series of images of the Solar System.

The term "Pale Blue Dot" was coined by Carl Sagan in his reflections of the photograph's significance, documented in his book of the same name, Pale Blue Dot.
This photo can no longer be taken because Voyager has passed a threshold (in terms of distance) to take photos of Earth).
American artist Trevor Paglen has launched the first artwork into space, but it is yet to be activated because of fallout from the US government shutdown.
The Orbital Reflector, a 30-metre-long reflective, diamond-shaped balloon made from a material similar to Mylar – a form of plastic sheet made from polyester resin – is currently orbiting the earth waiting for clearance to be released.
When it is deployed it will be the first "purely artistic" object in space that does not have any military, commercial or scientific interest.
US government shutdown delays deployment
However, the partial US government shutdown from 22 December 2018 to 25 January 2019 means that the artwork has not yet been released. Instead it has been travelling in the earth's low orbit unactivated for three months.
A brick-sized box containing the inflatable artwork was launched into the earth's low orbit on 3 December 2018 as part of a greater load of 64 satellites on Elon Musk's SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
The status of the orbital reflector project has since stayed ‘undeployed’.
images that are impossible due to the laws of physics, nature or reality - but that can be ‘doctored’.

In the sky, the Andromeda galaxy is about 3x as big as the moon or the Sun. If you hold up your thump in front of you, you see it will be roughly the same size as both the moon and the Sun. Andromeda would be much bigger.
It is however impossible to capture the Andromeda galaxy and the moon in one picture: Andromeda is too far and not bright enough. Next to the Moon the galaxy would wash out.
All the photos we have of the night skye in which we see both the Moon and Andromeda are doctored.
A the hypothetical image of the insides of a proton (3 quarks). The beauty of that is that when you zoom in that far, you have to create images below the wavelength of (visible) light. There is no equipment for that.
Most probably it would be dark, even if the proton was photographed in the light.
By Mark Sutton (trigger, CERN)
Speculative Impossible Images
These images might be created, or that might never be created - depending on the finding of proof for a particular theory.
images that will remain impossible and that cannot be doctored. 
dark matter
An image of the Quantum Vacuum at the planck constant time (the smallest slice of time).

Some references to other modes of ‘impossible’:
- impossible colors
- the Earth as a plate of trace evidence from a supernova 1000 yrs ago. “The signature of ancient supernova explosions may be written into the ice of Antarctica.“
- black and white are a shades of the same wavelength of light.
- a collection of impossible shadows