Children’s Literature and Science

Listen to the Universe

I co-authored this illustrated pop-up book, which explains to children the science of gravitational wave astronomy, with astrophysicist Dr Mariela Masso Reid. The book is aimed at children in the Hingoli district of Maharashtra state in western India, where LIGO-India, the latest of the world’s growing network of gravitational wave detectors, is currently in the early stages of construction. The book was illustrated by Oliver Dean, and we were also helped by Samir Dhurde, Dr Manasadevi P. Thirugnanasambandam, Shivani Pethe and Dr. Surhud More, members of LIGO-India’s Education and Public Outreach team. The book is presented in Marathi, the language spoken in the area where LIGO-India will be based, but you can listen to the story in English via the YouTube video below. This project was supported by the Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) and the University of Glasgow’s Global GCRF Small Grants Fund (supported by an allocation of Global Challenges Research Fund from the Scottish Funding Council).

For more information see the University of Glasgow press release here

You can watch a video with all contributors to the book discussing this project here

 

Tiny Alice Project

I worked with Dr Daryl Beggs of Cardiff University to create one of the world’s smallest books: a tiny reproduction of Lewis Carroll’s children’s classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865). All 78 pages and 26,764 words of the story were transposed on to a tiny silicon chip, with each page just the width of a human hair (60 microns). Each individual letter is just two microns high, and made from pure gold! Tiny Alice, the result of a project supported by the Welsh Crucible, was created using a cutting-edge technology known as electron-beam lithography at Cardiff University’s Institute of Compound Semiconductors.

Tiny Alice was displayed on the first day of an exhibition of miniature books I curated, thanks to the technological support of Glasgow University’s School of Physics. The exhibition was held at the University of Glasgow’s Library, aiming to showcase the tradition of miniature books, from medieval to modern. It featured some of the tiny treasures held at the University’s Special Collections, including a miniscule 13th-century handwritten Bible on velum. Lewis Carroll was also a keen collector of miniature books.

Links:

Tiny Alice project: https://tinyalice.org/

The Daily Telegraph article: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/07/07/lewis-carrolls-fascination-microscopy-satisfied-scientists-shrink/

The Scotsman article: https://www.scotsman.com/news/alice-in-wonderland-story-shrunk-to-size-of-single-human-hair-1-4961522

STV article: https://stv.tv/news/west-central/1439091-alice-in-wonderland-shrunk-with-pages-width-of-human-hair/

University of Glasgow Press Release: https://www.gla.ac.uk/news/headline_655281_en.html

The Exhibition items and my curatorial notes can be found on the UofG Special Collections flickr here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/uofglibrary/albums/72157711635673226/

The story of how the project came together can be found here: https://dimitrafimi.com/2019/09/05/tiny-alice-and-miniature-books-exhibition-july-september-2019/