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Page Banner: The Ultimate Portrait Painter: Howard Bartner and Forty Years of Medical Illustration
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Human Physiology in Space
In some of his most recent work, Bartner created illustrations for the textbook Human Physiology in Space, produced jointly by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), NIH, the Universities Space Research Association, and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. The textbook uses space science to inspire high school students to learn about human physiology. Bartner invented two characters, a teenage boy and girl, to demonstrate the ideas in the text; his whimsical drawings keep students involved.

Drawing 1: Boy on a Tightrope
Bartner's drawing of a teenage boy walking a tightrope shows how the body's sensory organs work together with the bones and muscles to maintain balance, keeping the boy from falling off the rope. Bartner incorporated Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel painting of Adam's birth at God's hand (right side of the drawing). "For me, the drawing also suggests the fragility of life," says Bartner.

Drawing of a teenage boy walking a tightrope

Drawing 2: The Inner Ear
In this series of drawings, Bartner shows in increasing detail the vestibule organs of the inner ear responsible for balance. The three curved canals of the inner ear detect when the head rotates, and the two small organs they join (the otolith organs) detect when the head moves linearly. That's why an infection in your inner ear may affect your balance.

Drawing 1 of 3: Details of the vestibule organs of the inner ear responsible for balance  Drawing 2 of 3: Details of the vestibule organs of the inner ear responsible for balance  Drawing 3 of 3: Details of the vestibule organs of the inner ear responsible for balance

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National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Universities Space Research Association
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

   
       
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