Artistic Doodling in Physics

I’ve only recently become aware of the phenomenon of artistic sketch-notes and doodling at physics talks, and I have to admit I’m hooked, for the creative and fun way it provides a window to the subject matter. For the subject matter of my talks — physics at the Large Hadron Collider — doodles have offered new ways of expressing concepts.

My first awareness of this art was at the Science Writers New Horizons conference in October 2012, in Raleigh, NC, where the talented Perrin Ireland (@experrinment) expertly condensed my talk on “Higgsmania” into two colourful attention-grabbing posters. They are now in my office in the physics department at Duke University and invariably provide a distraction for any visitors — students and colleagues alike. Here they are:


Shortly after this conference I joined twitter (@markckruse) as it seemed every science writer now lives on the twitter-manifold, where they can direct their followers with ease to stories summarized by one-liners. This could be a useful avenue to reach out beyond my physics colleagues. I’ll see how that goes. Certainly many other physicists are making good use of it (I’m a little slow — this is also my first blog !).

One thing twitter has already been useful for is finding other examples of doodles of talks I have given. Katy (@Katyannc) wrote a nice piece on her blog  which also gives her sketch notes of the same talk of mine.

I also discovered sketch notes by @jamjar of a public talk I gave in Auckland, New Zealand on “Why we care about the Large Hadron Collider” in July, shortly after the “Higgs-like” discovery. Here they are:


It’s great to not only see the artists inspired and having fun during these talks, but also in conveying the content to a broader audience. I think this is an excellent outreach device. I only wish I could draw better !

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