Vol. 3 No. 1 (2017)
Academic/Scholarly Articles

Radical Science Writing:An Interdisciplinary Book Arts Approach

Danny Long
University of Colorado Boulder
Susan Guinn-Chipman
University of Colorado Boulder
Barb Losoff
University of Colorado Boulder
Leanne Walther
University of Colorado Boulder
Deborah R. Hollis
University of Colorado Boulder

Published 2017-10-15


  • artists' books,
  • children's books,
  • special collections,
  • photobooks,
  • government publications


The tenet of this article is that historic scientific works, along with science-themed artists’ books, photobooks, and U.S. government-produced reports, can contribute to contemporary science education in inspiring ways. By integrating these materials into undergraduate science-writing projects, we are pioneering an alternative paradigm that merges the sciences and the arts. We are teaching undergraduate science majors through content that invokes scientific curiosity, sparks creativity, and makes science accessible. Through handwritten and printed text, visual art, and artistic works, students learn how science has been communicated across the centuries. As in science education, we explore how students use the information resources made available to them by the teacher in the classroom and from other sources (in this case, two specialized library departments) to construct meanings, produce their own rhetorically shaped versions of entities and concepts, and present themselves as learners of science. Challenged within our respective disciplines and by our campus community, we engage students in a learning process deemed radical by our peers.