Episode 186: Drawing History: Telling the Stories of Science through Comics and Graphic Novels
This 1942 Real Heroes comic book cover shows Louis Pasteur alongside military heroes.
How do you show what the inside of an atom looks like? Or how a scientist feels in the moment of discovery?
We decided to approach the human stories of science in a new way: by visualizing them. Our guests, historian Bert Hansen and author and illustrator Jonathan Fetter-Vorm, discuss how the comics of the 1930s, 40s and 50s relayed stories of “real heroes”—including doctors, chemists and physicists, and how new graphic genres are engaging readers and sparking their interest in history and science.
Fetter-Vorm and Hansen suggest that elements of surprise, emotion and showing the impossible work to engage readers in ways that written words alone cannot.
01:15 Studio visit #1: Jonathan Fetter-Vorm in Brooklyn
03:54 Studio visit #2: University of the Arts in Philadelphia
07:00 Bert Hansen on the scientist as hero in old comics
09:06 ARCHIVE AUDIO EXCERPT: "Heroism in Medical Science" from Dupont's Cavalcade of America
10:37 Jonathan Fetter-Vorm on the element of surprise in graphic histories
14:33 BREAK: call to the community
15:06 Bob Kenworthy and Michal Meyer reflect on the science of it all
17:58 ARCHIVE AUDIO EXCERPT: Robert Oppenheimer reflects on the Trinity test
18:58 Jonathan Fetter-Vorm on the magical and the scientific
20:58 Closing credits
Links to content:
"Heroism in Medical Science" from Dupont's radio drama, Cavalcade of America
"Now I am become Death" Robert Oppenheimer speech
"Drawing Stories of Science with Jonathan Fetter-Vorm"
"How the Public Became Interested in Medical Science"
"Science for Artists: University of the Arts Students Reflect on Animating Objects from CHF's Collection"
Hosts: Michal Meyer and Robert Kenworthy
Guests: Jonathan Fetter-Vorm and Bert Hansen
Producer: Mariel Waloff Carr
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