More great science communication via cartoon: “A is for Atom”

Wow. Maybe I should have a weekly “science and graphic art” post or something. Here is yet another great piece of science communication done via graphic art. This time it’s a cartoon done in the very classic 1960s educational style. (I swear: I’m not a comic nerd. I’ve hardly even looked at any comics until last month!)

Two things are worth commenting about this cartoon. Firstly, it really manages to explain nuclear fission without much dumbing down. Of course, things have moved on since the 60s and if this video were made today, it would probably have to be dumbed down to make sense. But the point remains that this is an admiral attempt at explaining complex theories without being (too) patronising.

OurFriendAtomSecondly, this part of a huge movement of corporate and governmental propaganda for nuclear energy that existed in the 60s – much of which was aimed at children. When I was a kid, I had an old book of my father’s called “Our Friend the Atom” which was remarkably similar to this video. General Electric, the maker of the film, clearly has an interest in people liking nuclear energy. But that said, the information they give is not as misleading as a lot of corporate propaganda today about climate change.

So perhaps this is the third part of a Thursday “Science through graphic art” section. Stay tuned…

[Part 1: Comics for nerds]

[Part 2: Frontiers of Science: Science journalism at its best?]

[Thanks to Crikey, Boing Boing and archive.org for this video.]