Scientoons anyone?

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.

5 Responses to Scientoons anyone?

  1. It seems to an impressive medium for science communication.But I remember remember the cartoons published in American magazine SPAN on scientific issues which were full of fun and pun and no less witty and communicative.And they did not have that cumbersome ,supernumerary and sometime really odd looking additional box explaining the science behind.
    But yes hats off to the efforts initiated by Dr.Patairiya and Dr.Shrivastava for promoting this innovative method for communicating science in India.
    Kudos also for this good report.

  2. People like Dr. Arvind Mishra are the real driving force behind our success to make scientoons and scientoonics, a novel and powerful way of bringing science to common man both at the national and international front.
    Our dream is to establish an International Institute on this novel subject in which India is the world leader. I remember when I delivered a lecture in Medical College of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA, after my lecture Prof. Thomas Edlind made a comment that though there are books written using cartoons on genetics, but you can not enjoy and learn until and unless you start from the beginning where as scientoons are one step ahead, as each scientoon is complete package.
    We salute you Dr. Mishra for your comments and good wishes.

  3. Pamposh Kumar says:

    Scientoons represent an unconventional way to spread awareness and
    can be employed well to compete for space with commercial advertisements. This is a task which is becoming increasingly difficult for so well written articles too in electronic and print media. Various specialities of scientific literacies, being articulated and promoted by NCSTC are sure to benefit by conscious efforts to nurture scientoonists.
    Be it water science literacy or broader ambit of sustainability sciences literacy, scientioons can help us cut across hard entrenched socio-cultural barriers to society’s grasp of newer knowledge, attitude and practices. The spirited efforts of Dr. Patairiya, Dr. Srivastava and Dr. Mishra provide an edge to the science communicators.

  4. chinmayee says:

    hello sir..i am really thankful to you as you enlightened me about scientoons..i have attended your lecture in iit kharagpur..i still remember that edutainment..after that i was so much interested that i could not resist surfing the internet regarding the same…

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