What an Asteroid Belter!

As part of the British Science Festival 2013 being hosted at Newcastle University, researchers, staff, lecturers and students were invited to contribute to a comic being developed and designed by local comic enthusiasts. The comic was officially targeting children between the ages of 8-13, with a view to promoting STEM subjects and science in general. The proposed content of the comic had, you guessed it, a distinctly scientific theme to it, with organisers interested in hearing from those staff members who could fit their work (or at least make it look like their work fits) in to one of the following themes:

  • Robots
  • Explosions and danger
  • Dinosaurs
  • Space, time and travel
  • Very big and very small things
  • Things we eat, and things that eat us
  • Codes, ciphers and hidden messages
  • Heroes and villains
  • Matters of life and death

Some of the work related to networks, connectivity and infrastructure that is currently being conducted within the context of the Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium (ITRC – www.itrc.org.uk) and also within the School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, seemed like something that kids could be interested in, and the idea of presenting this type of work within a comic context offered an alternative and novel mechanism for communicating our research. Once an expression of interest in contributing to the comic had been lodged, it was simply a case of meeting an artist and writer assigned by the organising committee, and beginning to think about what a comic to represent networks, connectivity and infrastructure should look like! In fact, largely due to the expertise and imagination of the artist I had been assigned (Terry Wiley), the ideas began to come together, and rather than stick to the traditional panel-based approach we decided on more of a spider diagram affair to communicate how different bits of infrastructure are connected together. However I still wish we had managed to get our idea of slightly transparent paper with networks hidden until the page was held up to the light, to fly to communicate the idea of hidden or non-obvious connections! Oh well, maybe next time. For all those interested, the comic, entitled “Asteroid Belter”,  in hard copy format was distributed at the British Science Festival 2013 (7th-12th September), but more information about it can be found here.

Everything's Connected

Everything's Connected

 

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