- The Djerassi Fog
I have always struggled with the definitions of art and science. To avoid categorization, I often take refuge in the fact that what I am doing—creating comics about science—is probably equally dismissed by both artists and scientists. Ironically defined by Art Spiegelman as "the bastard offspring of art and commerce" , comics are indeed a strange medium that escapes categorization (not illustration, not literature) and traditionally does not like to take itself too seriously.
However, the time I spent at Scientific Delirium Madness 2016 in the company of so many brilliant scientists and artists who all somehow defy definition made me reconsider my own medium. I became convinced that it is not despite comics' lack of definition but because of it that they can be so powerful. Using a medium that does not have many expectations attached to it enables me to reach a new audience for science.
So I decided to embrace the ambiguity of comics and accept that state of "not knowing" that Stuart Firestein describes in his book Ignorance (2012)  as the prerequisite for any original discovery. This is why, during my residency, I often ended up drawing the fog as a metaphor for my experience at Djerassi. The beautiful California fog that, while in our language often becomes a symbol of uncertainty and confusion, also provides the breeding ground for the most magnificent redwood trees.
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References and Notes
1. A. Spiegelman, "Birth of the Comics," The New Yorker, 26 December 1994, p. 106.
2. S. Firestein, Ignorance: How It Drives Science (New York, NY: Oxford Univ. Press, 2012). [End Page 238]