As a biology professor, I’m concerned that so few people engage with science, yet we face big personal and societal decisions about medical and environmental issues. And I’m sad that people say science is “too boring” or “too hard” —when asked why so few people pursue science degrees (1).
My goal? Make people care about scientific issues that impact our lives and improve science literacy.
Comics are a powerful way to make science accessible for decision-making (2). Humans are biologically wired for visual communication (3). We’ve used pictures to record our experiences for > 25,000 years (4). A picture is literally worth a 1,000 words: they're easier to recognize, process, and recall than words (5). Unlike academic journal articles, comics reach large, diverse audiences where they’re at by making complex ideas simple and uncomfortable issues easier to address (6). Comics make science come alive through compelling storytelling, science journalism, and engaging art.
My comics about science are evidence-based with citations, and make it personal. My current work focuses on making reproductive biology understandable.
1 Pew Research Center. 2017. Science News and Information Today. http://www.journalism.org/2017/09/20/science-news-and-information-today/
2 von Winterfeldt, Detlof. 2013. Bridging the gap between science and decision making. PNAS 110 (Supplement 3) 14055-14061 https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1213532110
3 Dewan, Pauline. 2015. Words versus Pictures: Leveraging the Research on Visual Communication. Partnership: the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice & Research 10 (1).
4 Davies, Duncan, Diana Bathurst, and Robin Bathurst. 1990. The Telling Image: The Changing Balance between Pictures and Words in a Technological Age. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
5 Levie, W. Howard, and Lentz, Richard. 2015. Effects of Text Illustrations: A Review of the Research. ECTJ 30.4 (1982): 195-232.
6 Czerwiec, M.K., Ian Williams, Susan M. Squier, Michael J. Green, Kimberly J. Myers, and Scott T. Smith. 2015. Graphic Medicine Manifesto. University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press.