Though virtually all fields of science utilize imaging in some form, a true science of imaging is now emerging. As noted in the recent book Foundations of Image Science by Harrison H. Barrett and Kyle J. Myers, there are three elements that must be present for a discipline to be called a science: A common language with an agreed-upon set of definitions; an accepted set of experimental procedures, and a theory with predictive value. Perhaps the key step in meeting the criteria for imaging to be a science was the development of a rigorous, task-based approach to the definition, measurement and optimization of image quality. Other important components of image science are rigorous mathematical theories of image formation and detection, analysis of the statistical properties of images, careful measurements of the physical properties of imaging systems and scientific understanding of human perception. The College of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona now offers a Ph. D. track in Image Science and about twenty graduate courses in the area. Many faculty members from the Radiology Department contribute to this program by teaching courses and mentoring graduate students.
For a perspective on the future of image science, see the Epilogue of Foundations of Image Science.