The art of science and the science of art.

A Fishy Feast


A Fishy Feast © Talcott Starr

I love my Twitter feed. Sometimes it's those little serendipitous conversations that lead to something delightful.

Here's how the cartoon above, by comic artist Talcott Starr, came about.

It starts with paleontology author and National Geographic Phenomena blogger Brian Switek tweeting from the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Meeting:

Then Starr came back with this:

I think this is wonderful not only because of the drawing itself which is frickin' adorable, and not only because it's an instance of a science communicator and visual artist interacting in an unexpected, fun way, but also because it is instructive.

Brian Switek is an incredible narrative writer. His talent has earned him a huge number of followers, both on Twitter and off. His science communication skills are way up there (full disclosure amongst this praise, I've done some contract tattoo design work for Brian). So don't take the following point as a reflection of Switek's writing capability, in 140 characters or more.

But in a microcosm, we learn something from the way Twitter reactions.


Talcott Starr also has immense talent, as well as a history of drawing dinosaurs. A doodle that great doesn't come from lack of experience. But this little anecdote demonstrates two things, I suspect:

1. The public loves visuals about dinosaurs, and science communication without them just doesn't have the same legs.

2. This lesson can probably, over time, be applied to science communication about other sciences as well. Stronger collaborations (spontaneous or not) between artists and scientists will be better for the education of everyone.

Am I wrong?


Find more work by Talcott Starr:

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

Share this Article:


You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.

Starting Thanksgiving

Enter code: HOLIDAY 2015
at checkout

Get 20% off now! >


Email this Article