This is a scientoon – a cartoon on science and technology that helps you look at science with a dose of humour.
ESOF 2008 devoted an entire session on scientoons that have emerged as an innovative way to spread science messages. For a non-scientist who may just have a passing interest in a specific scientific topic, scientoons are a way to grab their attention and put a piece of information across quickly.
The ESOF session on “Scientoonics : a novel way to learn science having fun” was put together by a group of ardent ‘scientoonists’ from India: Manoj Patairiya from the National Council of Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC) in Delhi; Pradeep Srivastava from the Central Drug Research Institute in Lucknow; and Abhay Kothari, a designer in Ahmedabad.
For ‘scientoonists’, their art is not only about making a caricature that draws a smile but also provides information about new research, subject, data or concept in a jiffy.
So a scientoon is slightly different in its structure from a cartoon. A cartoon has two elements: a caricature and a satire at the bottom or in the form of a balloon. A scientoon has an additional third element: a box that contains the science information that needs to be communicated.
And the scientoon need not be confined to a print magazine or daily. Or for that matter a research journal or a popular science magazine.
India’s NCSTC has produced radio skits on science or ‘radio scientoons’, puppet shows on science or ‘puppet scientoons’ and ‘multimedia scientoon’ on the internet and video.
It is now trying to develop theme-based scientoon strips, films, books to suit a variety of audiences, including persons with special needs, such as ‘Braille scientoon’ for the visually challenged.
So just let your imagination flow and begin your scientoon.
Dr. Manoj Patairiya is a science writer based in New Delhi.