Quantum Physics is a difficult subject to understand and explaining the complexities of the subject matter is an art in itself. Thankfully illustrator Matthieu Burniat and theoretical physicist Thibault Damour have decided to make Quantum Physics into an actual piece of art with the graphic novel Mysteries of the Quantum Universe.
The book has been described as a cross between Tintin and Dr Brain Cox and this is not too far from the mark. Both Matthieu Burniat and Thibault Damour are at the Edinburgh International Book Festival to discuss the creation of the graphic novel and they are in conversation with Boyd Tonkin.
During the event Thibault Damour gives a brief history for the book and a very brief overview of quantum physics. Whilst he is talking artist Matthieu Burniat is sketching onto a graphics tablet and his drawings are projected onto a screen to the back of the stage. Here we get the chance to see a talented artist at work and hear a brilliant physicist doing a great job of presenting the complexities of the subject. The expressive and cheerful illustrations are fantastic to look at and evoke the drawings of Herge. During the conversation with Boyd Tonkin the artist mentions that he first heard Damour talking on the radio and this inspired the idea of a collaboration. The pair then met over three consecutive summers where a script was written, rewritten and then the final format of Mysteries of the Quantum Universe was decided upon. The result is a bande dessinee album that uses the format of the graphic novel in an exciting and innovative way.
The event is part of the Stripped section at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Here the focus is on Graphic Novels and Comic Books. There are still several events in this programme to come with a special event with David Baillie and Rob Davis on Tuesday 22 August being a highlight to look forward to.