Overlooked, sidelined, excluded, discredited: key figures in scientific discovery come and take their bow in an alternative Nobel prize gallery – Graphic Science, a new book by graphic novelist Darryl Cunningham published by Myriad Editions – and we have a sneak peek for you.
Darryl studied at Leeds College of Art and lives in Yorkshire. He is now a full-time comic creator, but he has also worked as a health care assistant on an acute psychiatric ward which informed, and inspired, his acclaimed first book of factually-based comics, Psychiatric Tales (Blank Slate, 2010).
His second book of graphic journalism, an explanation of climate change, the moon landing, evolution and other subjects,Science Tales, published by Myriad in 2012, was shortlisted in the Best Book category at the British Comics Awards 2012. His latest graphic investigative book, Supercrash: How to Hijack the Global Economy, was published to acclaim by Myriad in October 2014, won the ‘Best Writer – Independent’ category at the Broken Frontier Awards 2014, and was on the New York Times Bestseller list when published in 2015 by Abrams as The Age of Selfishness.
His work is published in The Art of Saving a Life, a global resource by renowned artists to encourage vaccination, sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. His new book Graphic Science, is a series of graphic essays on Mary Anning, Fred Hoyle, George Washington Carver and other key figures in scientific discovery who have been overlooked, sidelined, or excluded from the full recognition they are due.
Much is known about scientists such as Darwin, Newton, and Einstein, but what about those with lesser-known names who have nevertheless contributed greatly to human knowledge? Celebrated author Darryl Cunningham draws compelling portraits of eight scientists who for reasons of gender, race, mental health, poverty – excessive wealth, even – have not won the recognition they deserve.
Antoine Lavoiser: the father of French chemistry who gave oxygen its name, Lavoiser was a wealthy man who found himself on the wrong side of a revolution and paid the price with his life. The contribution to his work by his wife Marie-Anne Lavoisier is only now being fully recognised.
Mary Anning: a poor, working-class woman who made her living fossil-hunting along the beach cliffs of southern England. Anning was excluded from the scientific community whilst wealthy male experts took credit for her discoveries.
George Washington Carver: born a slave, Carver become one of the most prominent botanists of his time, as well as a teacher at the Tuskegee Institute. Carver devised over 100 products using one major ingredient the peanut.
Alfred Wegener: a German meteorologist, balloonist and arctic explorer, his theory of continental drift was derided by other scientists and was only accepted into mainstream thinking after his death. He died in Greenland.
Nikola Tesla: a Serbian American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, physicist, and futurist best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system. A competitor of Edison, Tesla died in poverty despite his intellectual brilliance.
Joyce Bell Burnell: a Northern Irish astrophysicist who discovered the first radio pulsars (supernova remnants) as a postgraduate student. Antony Hewish, her thesis supervisor, shared the Nobel Prize in physics while she was excluded.
Fred Hoyle: an English astronomer whose controversial positions were often in direct opposition to prevailing theories, an approach that contributed to his being overlooked by the Nobel committee for his stellar nucleosynthesis work.
• Graphic Science is on sale in all good bookshops form 20th October 2017, but copies will be on sale at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival this weekend where Darryl Cunningham is one of many guests