The performance of imaging systems and pictorial recording and printing processes has been of concern within various branches of the diverse technical communities for a century or more. Especially, the latter half-century has seen the evolution of an overall quantitative imaging language,
latterly formalized within the generic description of imaging science. Major contributions came from fundamental studies in fields as diverse as astronomy, photography, microscopy, radiation detectors, human vision, radar, statistical processes and information theory. As a result, imaging
science now spans many practical areas of applied technology. Here a summary is presented of some key aspects of this historical evolution, including the roles of the earliest pioneers and their major contributions made over the course of a century or so.Contemporary problems include the
translation of universal imaging knowledge developed for the evaluation of analog imaging processes into the digital domain, for example as an important tool in the development of sophisticated digital printing systems.