Kinder Surprise comic strip used to explain X-rays wins Welsh art prize
A comic strip which used a Kinder egg to explain the wonders of X-ray has the Swansea University’s Research as Art competition
A comic strip using a Kinder Surprise egg to explain the wonders of X-ray scanning and 3D printing has won a Welsh university’s unique art prize.
Swansea University’s Research as Art competition, believed to be the only one if its kind, is aimed at highlighting the wide-ranging work going on at the seafront campus using striking images to tell the research story.
This year’s overall winning image, entitled Project Surprise, was submitted by Laura North, a postgraduate student in engineering.
Her comic strip uses the confectionery egg with a toy inside to show new technologies such as non-destructive testing and rapid prototyping using 3D printing, enabling the hidden internal world of the toy to be scanned and reproduced …without breaking the egg.
Laura said: “Each individual image captures a stage of the project.
“It may seem silly and insignificant to wish to replicate a toy from inside a Kinder Surprise without damaging the egg at all.
“However, the concept has many other exciting and broad applications. These range from collaborating with the Egyptology department in identifying and reproducing mummified snake remains, to the concept being utilised in modern medicine, with perfectly fitting joint replacements.”
Dr Gail Cardew, Director of Science and Education at the Royal Institution, and one of the competition judges, said: “This entry took a complex idea and demonstrated quite simply how it would work, through comic strip form.
“An abstract area such as this would be difficult to communicate but the researcher chose a very novel way of approaching it.”
Flora Graham, digital editor of NewScientist.com, another of the judges, added: “Research is more than the hard facts that make it into the papers and journals – the Research as Art competition reveals the day-to-day human experience that lies beneath the results.
“The winning entries combine pictures and words to give a glimpse into the beauty, variety and complexity that researchers discover during the process of working.”
Competition entries came from researchers in many different subjects, with intriguing titles including “new tools from insect poo”, “medieval disfigurement – a graphic guide”, and “finding needles in four-dimensional haystacks”.
Other winners in the competition included Ed Bennett (Postgraduate award for Finding Needles in a Four Dimensional Haystack, showing the sub-atomic world), Leifa Jennings (Undergraduate award for Cobalt, Celeste, Cyan and Me, portraying blue medical scrubs), Adrian Luckman, Academic Award for Fractured River of Ice, a picture of the Kronebreen glacier), Menna Price, Collaborative Award for Resisting Temptation depicting a self control experiment) and Matt Carnie (Early Career Researcher Award for Graveyard of Ambition? showing images of solar cells).
Miranda Whitten’s New Tools from Insect Poo, which depicted an experiment to neutralise disease from blood sucking insects using the insects’ waste, was one of the runners-up.