Heard on NPR Morning Edition today:
In recent years, a few scientists and comic book artists
have joined forces to portray the excitement of science, scientific ideas and
the drama of discovery.
Jim Ottaviani, a longtime comic book enthusiast and
trained engineer, decided to use the format to communicate scientific fact
instead of fiction. He's not an artist, but he collaborates with professionals
to map out storylines and explain impenetrable scientific ideas. One of his
recent graphic novels tells the story of Niels Bohr, a physicist who explained
atomic structure and influenced many of the other great physicists of the 20th
century, including Werner Heisenberg.
That book was a collaboration between
Ottaviani and Jay Hosler, a biologist whose work in the medium was inspired by
his childhood love of superheroes. Hosler's latest comic stars Charles Darwin;
in it, Darwin explains evolutionary theory to a tiny follicle mite living in his
Hosler was inspired to write the work after coming across a comic
that portrayed a professor denouncing evolution as a lie, and that cast as its
hero a student proponent of creationism.
The comic's publisher, a Christian
fundamentalist named Jack Chick, has a large following, and his materials have
been used to fuel powerful anti-science movements in churches, schools and
Hosler says one way scientists can counter anti-evolutionists is by
using comics to tell great stories.
"I think that's what I'm trying to do,"
he says. "I think Darwin's life is a great story. So why not tell it as a great
To see Hosler's work go here:
For a snippet of his Darwin strip, click here:
To buy science comic strips, go here: