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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday afternoon coffee: Did your old science teacher know the Tarot?

From The Scientist (8th October 2010):

Science tarot
A whimsical deck of cards shuffles the worlds of logic and mythology

On a Thursday night in San Francisco, three elaborately costumed women sit in a lively hall giving tarot readings. One wears ornamental snakes in her hair, and another sports a headdress with oversized purple eyeballs. This isn't your everyday divinatory gathering -- they're at the California Academy of Sciences, surrounded by glass cases of stuffed antelopes and lions. And instead of knights and kings, their cards display images of mitochondria, neurotransmitters, and Darwin.

This unusual scene is the launch party of Science Tarot, a collaboration between science communicators, artists, and other creative thinkers who have produced a science-inspired deck of tarot cards. The team has reimagined each traditional card as a scientific concept, using images ranging from bacteria to black holes. While some people are dubious about the idea, others say the project could encourage interest in science and even act as an educational tool.

"I want to get science out in the world in a friendly way, so people who don't necessarily have a relationship to science realize that it's part of their lives," says co-creator Raven Hanna, a San Francisco-based science communicator with a PhD in molecular biophysics and biochemistry.

The project began in 2003 when Hanna was brainstorming ideas for an art installation with Logan Austeja Daniel, a landscape and sound designer, and Martin Azevedo, a writer, filmmaker, and tarot fan who works in biotechnology. They realized "there was not a science tarot deck in the world, and there really should be one," recalls Hanna.
Some worry that students might get the wrong idea of what science is all about.

Now, there's a thought. Used to be that kids thought the world of science for putting a man on the moon. What you think?


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