Drawing attention with chemistry cartoons

Herbert W. Roesky, Dietmar Kennepohl

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Ihe art of caricatures from the 18th and 19th centuries has evolved into numerous categories of modern cartoons, which includes the popular single panel gag cartoon. The portrayal of chemists and chemistry in those caricatures and cartoons has been a reflection of how they were viewed over time. Conversely, we know that those images can help to form and reinforce perceptions about chemistry. Indeed, the nature of the modern chemistry cartoon varies depending on whether it is aimed at the chemistry community or the general public. More importantly, there is an established link between humor and learning and is seen by many educators as an opportunity to enhance learning. The single panel gag cartoon is an excellent vehicle to communicate ideas and connect with students using humor. Cartoons have the power to both draw attention quickly and come to the point. The art, of course, is in getting your message across once you have their attention. We leave you with one last cartoon example, which comes under the heading of life in the laboratory and surprising reactions (Figure 9). Levity can be very uplifting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1355-1360
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Chemical Education
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct. 2008


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