Are you ready to experience a doctoral thesis in theoretical solid state chemistry….in comic book form? Yep, you read that right; Veronica Berns promises us a good scientific story, with just a dash of humor thrown in for good measure. Berns wrote and illustrated this book as a version of her doctoral thesis in chemistry, specifically made for non-scientists. Her graduate research centered on the question of why crystalline solids form the patterns that they do. Specifically, she became interested in the origins of quasicrystals, a type of solid material that has rotational symmetry, but the pattern never repeats itself.
The entire book takes readers from the basics behind this work all the way to its connection to quasicrystals in six sections:
- Why we care about solid structures
- Our idea of chemical pressure, and our understanding of the way atoms interact
- How we use computers to bring our model into three dimensions
- Introducing a CaCu5 as a model system to understand chemical pressure
- Extending our model to a Nobel Prize winning material: quasicrystals
- Where this research is going in the future
The book itself will be printed on high quality paper, with perfect binding in the style of a trade paperback comicbook. The $20 backers to this Kickstarter project will pay for a copy will cover the printing costs and delivery from the printer to Berns. The additional shipping fee is so that she can get the book to her backers. As a child, Berns would have loved to learn a little bit about current scientific research, presented in a familiar format. If she is successful in this campaign, she’s budgeted to make a few extra copies so that she can give the book to her high school library and libraries in Madison, WI, where she did her graduate work.
Veronica Berns recently finished her PhD in the Chemistry Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before that, she was a child who took every science class possible, and never missed an episode of Bill Nye the Science Guy. At some point last year when she was putting together her thesis, she realized that she was working on something she really loved, and she didn’t have a good way to talk about it with people who weren’t her fellow solid state chemists. That’s when she started to draw and write this comic book.
All of the art and writing is done for the whole comic. She also already has a printer lined up to do the work printing the book. The only tricky points she anticipates is if there is a delay in printing or shipping, to which she will say, she’ll push things forward the best she can.
This project will be funded on Tuesday, February 3, 2015.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing comic books for some 30 years. During that time, his reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web.