UW grad creates hit chemistry comic book
Veronica Berns lives for biology, chemistry and all those other subjects the rest of us actively avoid – and that’s why she decided to become a scientist.
Really. Berns works as a senior research scientist for Honeywell in Chicago after receiving her PhD at the University of Wisconsin. She loves her day job – almost as much as she loves her creative craft.
“When I come home, to just to relax, I draw pictures,” she says.
She could have never predicted her two passions would combine someday.
“I was about to start writing my [college] thesis and I realized I didn’t have a good way to talk about it with people who aren’t scientists, and that’s very important to me,” Berns said.
“So, I started drawing the comic book.”
Nearly two years later, what began as a hypothesis to help her friends understand her coursework has now become a 50-page comic book hit.
“I get emails all the time from people saying, ‘You know, my kid is really interested in science and I don’t know anything about it – so we’re going to read this book together and have a conversation,'” Berns says.
A Kickstarter site set up to help Veronica print her pages has raised $14,400 – a number she loves not only for the support it signifies, but – ever the whiz – because it’s a square number.
“I think that’s really cool,” she laughs.
The whole point is to make science more accessible to the rest of us, whose job titles don’t include “scientist.”
“There are multiple ways to tell stories and think about things, and a lot of times we think about things as just the numbers or in technical language,” Berns says. “I think pictures always help – it’s really true, a picture’s worth a 1000 words.”
It’s been an undertaking all to help people understand her world of science simply for the sake of learning.
“It’s about discovering things for the sake of discovering things,” Berns says.
Her comic is currently being printed, and Berns plans to donate several copies to high schools in Madison. You can buy your own at