Sketching science

Illustration via Ernesto Llamas, Sketching Science/Facebook (CC-BY)

It's a combination of art, science, and the internet we can all get behind.

Scientists are pretty good at sharing their humerus—er, I mean humorous side on Twitter. They usually share stories of silly or funny things that happened to them on the job. But the Facebook page “Sketching Science” offers something a little different.

Ernesto Llamas, a Ph.D. student at the Center for Research in Agricultural Genomics in Barcelona, Spain, draws the comics. And, they may not be for everyone, but these in-jokes are pretty damn good if you’ve ever worked in a lab.

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The micropipette—the blue and white tool featured in many of the comics—is a gadget at the cornerstone of most laboratory grunt work: making new solutions, balancing pH, combining solutions to make certain reactions. It’s a tool most scientists become intimately familiar with, and foster a love-hate relationship with. It allows you to measure out very precise amounts of liquid, but it also gives you carpal tunnel. You use it so much that sometimes it feels like an extension of your own arm.
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Llamas was born and raised in Mexico, where his artistic mother encouraged him to learn how to draw and paint.

“I started to take painting lessons since I was 5 years old. Over time, I was more focused on my studies, and I left all my art classes, though I was still drawing on my notebooks. And that's how everything started,” Llamas said in a Facebook message with the Daily Dot. “I bought an iPad and in every seminar or conference I was attending I was drawing the presenters and the main ideas of their presentations.”

But Llamas also had an affinity for social media and, of course, memes. He wanted to see more science-based memes, so he decided to make some of his own.

“Memes have always called my attention, it's really interesting the way that they spread, replicate and evolve in social networks, just like genes!” Llamas said.

Llamas’ memes spread pretty fast. His Facebook page has amassed more than 75,000 likes.

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But they also share some serious science in comic form, too. Llamas said communicating science in a visual way is important to him, too.

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