By Margreet de Heer.
Originally appeared in Dutch with the title Wetenschappen in Beeld, in 2012 at Uitgeverij Meinema.
In the previous Philosophy: a Discovery in Comics, author Margreet de Heer and her husband Yiri take a colorful journey through the history of Western philosophy – in Science: a Discovery in Comics they follow the same chronological path, this time with an eye out for the development of the vast field of Science; from math to biology, from astronomy to Quantum theory.
What is Knowledge? How do we know what we know? With these and other questions the book starts: do animals gather knowledge? How are we different? When and where has the practice of Science really started?
After the first, more “philosophical” chapters on the nature of science, the book follows a chronological path, starting with the Ancient Greeks. What did the world look like to them? Natural philosophers such as Thales of Miletus and Anaximander sought to identify a Primary Substance, one element from which all matter has come to be. The great Aristotle was the founder of the scientific method we still use: a system of experiment, observation and logic.
In each historic era a scientific field is explained, which originated or strongly developed in that time. In Ancient Greece we deal with Mathematics, in the Middle Ages the practice of Alchemy and subsequently Chemistry is described, Astronomy and Physics got a boost during the Scientific Revolution of the 16th and 17th century, Biology and Geology in the 18th and 19th century, and eventually we arrive at Quantum Theory in modern times.
A number of famous scientists get special attention, with chapters on their lives and works: Aristotle, Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein.
The book includes several spreads that depict certain subjects in more depth: in colorful drawings we delve into matters such as Electricity, Genetics, Wave/Particle Duality and the History of the Earth.
What makes this book stand out from other educational comic books is the fact that the authors themselves are present in the book as well. Margreet (who wrote and drew the book) and Yiri (who did the coloring) provide their own views and questions, making it easier for readers to identify. They even reveal what happened when they had their DNA tested!
This playful approach, together with the factual thoroughness (facts were checked by a scientific ThinkThank), make ‘Science: a Discovery in Comics’ a book that can be used in schools as well as read for general entertainment. Whether you are a scientific nut who wants to brush up on general knowledge, or a high school dropout with a thirst to learn through comics, this book provides a source of knowledge and fun for everyone.
This book is highly accessible for people of all ages, starting from about 13 years old. It is aimed at explaining basic scientific knowledge on a high school level, as well as entertaining adults with a broad interest in the sciences.
About the authors
Margreet de Heer (1972) graduated in Theology in 1999 and then decided to become a comic artist. She has made comics for several Dutch newspapers and magazines. In 2010 her first full-length graphic novel was published, about Philosophy. This book was a bestseller in The Netherlands and was published by NBM in the United States in 2012 with the title Philosophy: a Discovery in Comics. Translations in Korean, Spanish and Portuguese are forthcoming. The topic of philosophy was followed by Religion, a book that appeared in Dutch in 2011, and Science in 2012. Other topics that were made into comics are World Domination and Love.
Yiri Kohl (1975) is the colorist of Margreet’s books and her general, mental and emotional support. A comic artist himself, Yiri debuted in the nineties with the underground series Bijlmer Boys. With the start of the new millennium he left the comics field, trying his hand at other disciplines such as painting and poetry. After meeting Margreet in 2008 he has gradually picked up his own comic work again.
Margreet and Yiri got married in 2009 and live and work together in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, in a parkside apartment with two cats.
“Her art is simple and straight-forward, and she always chooses function over form: everything works to service the lessons she is trying to impart. When people ask me about how comics can serve a purpose in the classroom, this is precisely the kind of book I use to demonstrate that very thing.”
– by Marc Mason on ComicsWaitingRoom.com
– “A truly sharp and witty book.”
“Clear, concise, appropriately challenging and informatively funny, Science – A Discovery in Comics is a wonder of unpretentious, exuberant graphic craft and a timeless book we can all enjoy.”
– by Win Wiacek on Comicsreview.co.uk
“I can’t recommend this one highly enough, both for younger readers and adults who enjoy overviews of expansive subjects.”
– by Rob McMonigal on PanelPatter.com
“If you have a curious kid in your household, you could do worse than get her this book. Even if that kid is 60 years old.”
– Martha Thomases on Comicmix.com
“…sort of like the entire 500’s section of your local public library, ultra-condensed into a book of colorful cartoons.”
– by J. Caleb Mozzocco
Science: a Discovery in Comics was nominated for a YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens Award.