Drawing History: Telling the Stories of Science through Comics and Graphic Novels

Do comics engage readers in ways that written words alone cannot?

Episode 186 | February 4, 2014

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.


Hosts: Michal Meyer and Robert Kenworthy
Guests: Jonathan Fetter-Vorm and Bert Hansen
Producer: Mariel Carr


“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


“Stabbings”- Moby, mobygratis
“Isolate”- Moby, mobygratis
“The Plaintive Heating Griddle”- Ergo Phizmiz, Free Music Archive
“Awake in the Dream”- Infinite Third, Free Music Archive
“Sunny Day”- The Rabbits, Free Music Archive
“Do What You Can”- Lee Rosevere, Free Music Archive
“My Friends”- Quiet Orchestra, Free Music Archive
“Tragic”- Semyon, Free Music Archive