Recent progress in the study of pulmonary surfactant is reviewed. The first half of this paper provides general background in both physiological and clinical perspectives. The second half focuses on the in vitro assessment of pulmonary surfactant using methods based on a drop shape technique, Axisymmetric Drop Shape Analysis (ADSA). Theories, experiments, and techniques of image analysis used in these ADSA methods are briefly described. Typical applications of these methods are discussed in detail. It is concluded that the accuracy, versatility, and simplicity of these ADSA methods render them suitable to the study of pulmonary surfactant.