LP covers are an art form all their own — and some of the coolest record covers feature fantasy and science fiction icons. But what about science itself? Some of the greatest album covers feature images lifted directly from science. Here's a gallery of the best album cover art inspired by real science.

In no particular order:

Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon

The quintessential science-y album cover, featuring a Newtonian light prism. Along similar lines, check out Philip Glass's Glassworks.

Joy Division: Unknown Pleasures

This iconic cover features a data visualization of the signal emanating from the first pulsar to be observed by scientists. Here's the story behind the cover:

Joy Division: "Transmission" Single Cover

More Joy Division, this one featuring a nebula.

Coldplay: X&Y

This cover translates the album title, X&Y, into a binary code where each block of color represents a 1 and a gap 0.

Brian Eno: Atmospheres & Soundtracks

This list would be incomplete with an Eno cover, this one a shot of the lunar surface.

Muse: The 2nd Law

A cover showing the connectome of the human brain. The brain's connections can also be shown this way.

Dawn of Midi: Dysnomia

One of my favorite albums of the year so far, with a cover featuring a turbulent flow.

Strokes: Is This It (American edition)

A photograph of subatomic particle tracks in a bubble chamber.

Talking Heads: Remain In Light

Not so much as a cover inspired by science, but one certain driven by it. This is one of the first digitally manipulated album covers.

New Order: "Blue Monday" Single Cover

A floppy disk motif, designed by Peter Saville (who also did work for Joy Division).

Velvet Underground: VU

This is an image of a VU meter, or standard volume indicator — a device that displays the signal level in audio equipment. As they used to tell me in audio recording school: "Redness is badness."

Kraftwerk: Radio Activity

Actually, I could probably put almost every Kraftwerk album cover here:

John Martyn: Solid Air

This cover features a Schlieren photograph, a visual process that is used to photograph the flow of fluids of varying density.

Nirvana: In Utero

Featuring human anatomy.

Death: Human

More human anatomy, but a shown in a more old-school, macabre sort of way.

Rush: Hemispheres


Metallica: Death Magnetic

Featuring magnetic ripples.

Led Zeppelin: Latter Days

A NASA-themed cover.

Tomita: Space Walk

More NASA goodness.

Ministry: A Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste

Featuring a brain X-ray.

Breaking Benjamin: Dear Agony

Featuring a brain scan.

Pink Floyd: Meddle

The photograph, taken by Bob Dowling, represents an ear that's underwater and collecting waves of sound which is represented by ripples in the water.

Voyager Golden Record

We couldn't do a list of science-themed albums without that one!

Please add any I missed below!

Special thanks to @BMoogk and @JeffPatterson11!

Related: 10 images that changed the course of science | What's going on inside the brains of musicians while they improvise? | 100 albums every science fiction and fantasy fan should listen to.