Home // FSTM // News // Successful first edition of the Science Comics

Successful first edition of the Science Comics

twitter linkedin facebook email this page
Published on Friday, 08 May 2020

More than 8000 copies of the science comics “Through the looking glass” have been distributed so far in Luxembourg and the Greater Region. Due to the wide interest in those short stories about research in Luxembourg, the comics are now available in four languages.

The science comics in numbers

In late 2018, 22 doctoral candidates of the Doctoral School in Science and Engineering (DSSE) started developing seven short comic stories about their fields of research. The science comics have been produced within an outreach activity of the Doctoral Education in Science Communication (DESCOM) project at the University of Luxembourg. The first hard copies of the comics arrived just in time for the Open Day 2019.

Since then, more than 8000 copies have been shared at various events, like the Science Festival, Chercheurs à l’école, the BD Festival in Contern and MATh.en.JEANS. During the last Science Festival alone, all of the 1200 copies taken to the festival found their way into the hands of the visitors of the festival. Online and social media distribution of the comics has been successfully launched on various channels, reaching up to 23.000 persons in total. The science comics also appeared in several news media: for example RTL LU and Delano.

Many school teachers as well as the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth asked for the comics as educational material for students. The Scienteens Lab, one of the partners of DESCOM, also regularly takes the comics to their workshops: “To me and my team, it is very important to inform adolescents about research in Luxembourg”, explains Elisabeth John, coordinator of the Scienteens Lab. “We believe that the comics are an excellent medium to do so.”

The success of the comics has also been evaluated during a public exhibition at the Luxembourg Learning Centre, during which 430 visitors pressed one of four smiley buttons to indicate how much they liked the comics: 85 % of the visitors liked the comic, 76 % of them even liked them a lot (pushing the green smiley button).

Now also available in Luxembourgish and German

First only available in French and English, the comics have been translated to German and Luxembourgish at the end of 2019. Especially one of the doctoral candidates involved, Jim Barthel, was of immense help in finalizing the Luxembourgish translation: “Sometimes it was a challenge to find the best words. But helping in the translation was fun and also helped me simplify scientific topics for a broader audience.”

Hands-on training in science communication

The science comics have not only been a means of communicating science to the public. By involving doctoral candidates in their creation, the comics have also improved the science communication skills of the doctoral candidates involved. In doing so, DESCOM supports interactions between scientists and the public. A survey indicated that 13 out of 18 doctoral candidates participating in this activity have never participated in an outreach activity before and that 14 of them would like to reach out to the public in the future as well.

As this activity seems to be a useful training tool for doctoral candidates and the science comics are quite popular, DESCOM decided to produce new editions of the science comics and to extend the science comic training. More information on this will follow soon.

------

You can download the science comics here or pick up a hard copy at the Luxembourg Learning Centre as well as the MSA. Several copies of the comics have also been distributed in Campus Kirchberg and Limpertsberg.

The development of the science comics has been made possible thanks to many people involved, namely Oliver Glassl, Doctoral School Facilitator of the DSSE, Serge Haan, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Science, Technology and Medicine (FSTM) and PI of DESCOM, and especially Bruno Teheux, Research scientist at the Department of Mathematics (DMATH), who came up with the idea to produce cartoons and took the lead of the project.

DESCOM aims to support interactions between academia and the public by providing different modes of training in science communication. The project launched in 2018 with the support of the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) and the DSSE.