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LUX:plorations: New science comics made in Luxembourg

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Published on Friday, 29 January 2021

Scientists in Luxembourg have teamed up with local comic artists to produce a new series of science comics. Led by the University of Luxembourg, the comic project combines science and art made in Luxembourg. The first volume of LUX:plorations is now available.

After seven months of work between scientists and artists, “LUX:plorations – A Universe of Research” was officially presented on 28 January 2021. In the first volume, composed of eight short comics, readers can explore stories around neurobiology, climate change, mathematics, user experience, allergies, hydrology, solar cells and the microbiome. But the comics are also about much more.

Two visitors from far away – Zamara and Yso

“The diversity in themes and artistic styles of the comics is a reflection of the innovation potential that can emerge from a such a melting pot as Luxembourg”, says Bruno Teheux,  Research Scientist at the Department of Mathematics (DMATH) and activity leader of the previous science comic published by the University of Luxembourg. Instead of just producing a loose connection of stories, the artists involved in the project suggested to design a character that will appear in every story and provide a red thread. Luxembourgish comic artist Valérie Minelli provided the design for Zamara and Yso, two extraterrestrials visiting earth – more specifically Luxembourg – as exchange students. Curious by nature, they learn something new every day by exploring our planet.

A collaboration between scientists and artists

Before the artists and scientists joined forces, the latter learned how to develop informative, entertaining and engaging stories during a comic workshop led by Veronika Mischitz, a science illustrator from Germany. She and Jessica Burton, another comic expert and scientist at the Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C²DH), mentored the single groups and guided them through the different draft stages of the comics.

“Creating comics is quite a unique and special craft, and working with people that are new to the field may not be that easy, for both sides”, says Andy Genen, one of the comic artists involved. “But the two teams I worked with had really neat ideas and a clear vision of what story they wanted to tell. They also managed to teach me all the scientific facts and background that I needed to illustrate the stories.” Andy Genen already had some experience with creating science comics for the FNR.

Antoine Grimée is another of the comic artists working on this volume of LUX:plorations. He regularly publishes one-page comic strips devoted to historical characters in Warte-Perspectives. Sabrina Kaufmann brings her manga style illustrations into LUX:plorations and is best known for her Illustrated Fairytales. Marion Dengler is quite new to the Luxembourgish comic scene. The artistic style of the non-binary Luxembourgish comic artist goes into magical realism, gothic horror and fantasy.

The LUX:plorations team

The list of people involved in the production would be incomplete without all the 23 doctoral candidates involved, namely: Shubhra Acharya, Prasad Adhav, Lynn Bonetti, Eleftheria Charalambous, Marie-Alix Dalle, Catherine Delbrouck, Nhat Minh Doan, Luce Drouet, Anouk Ewen, Sonja Fixemer, Poorani Gnanasambandan, Adriana Coppola, Kamelia Jamaati, Bente Janssen-Weets, Johanna Jaschik, Chrysovalantou Kalaitzidou, Julia Klüber, Louis Krieger, Adnan Moussa, Himanschu Phirke, Anna Schmitt, Catherine Sedrani and Abiodun Abdullahi Solanke.

Last but not least the following people supervised the single groups: Bruno Teheux, Oliver Glassl, Doctoral School Facilitator of the Doctoral School in Science and Engineering (DSSE), Serge Haan, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Science, Technology and Medicine (FSTM) and Principal Investigator of DESCOM, as well as Nicole Paschek, Project Manager of DESCOM.

More information: https://sciencecomics.uni.lu 

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The comics are mainly funded by the Doctoral School in Science and Engineering (DSSE) of the University of Luxembourg and produced under the lead of the Doctoral Education in Science Communication (DESCOM) project, which is supported by the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR). DESCOM (Doctoral Education in Science Communication) aims to support interactions between academia and the public by providing different modes of training in science communication as well as organising and supporting outreach activities.