Where no one has gone before: A journey into the nano world

Where no one has gone before: A journey into the nano world

Author: Robert Inglis – The Yazi Centre for Science and Society in Africa, South Africa

Anthony Lelliott – University of the Witwatersrand
Mthuthuzeli Zamxaka – South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement

The world of nano-science and nanotechnology exist outside our lived experience. Nanotechnologists, wearing white lab coats and swilling tubes of amber liquid reveal little of the incredible stories of how matter, manipulated at the sale of billionths of a meter is impacting people’s lives.

Jive Media Africa responded to a call from the Nanotechnology Public Engagement Programme (NPEP) at the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA) to make this invisible world, visible. Using a comics and cartoons approach, four stories were created for distribution across South African on large, highly visual posters.

The campaign was aimed at school learners, and aimed to harness the power of identification and imagination through visual story-telling to reveal the hidden world of nanotechnology. Each poster dealt with an application of nanotechnology – starting with a problem being faced in a developing context and proceeding into a journey through scale as two protagonists became smaller and smaller until they were at the scale of the unique scientific principles being employed in the technology. Topics included water treatment in low-resource settings through application of antimicrobial silver, the development of super-efficient photo-voltaic cells, the creation of gas monitoring devices for use in mining and targeted drug delivery through bio-engineering gold nano-particles.

This highly visual poster presentation will showcase the work and research undertaken into its efficacy as a science communication tool. It will reflect on the campaign with a view to sharing innovative approaches to making complex and inaccessible information clear and relevant to audiences in low resource settings.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Visual talk
Theme: Stories
Area of interest: Investigating science communication practices