Wow!! We reached our first stretch goal of $15,000! We're adding a Learning Outcomes Guidebook for Educators and make this accessible to all backers. This will help you use the deck as a historical and scientific learning tool in your classroom. We'll create this in conjunction with STEM K-12 educators so that it's relevant to K-12 curricula.
Now we're shooting for a super-stretch goal of $20,000 and we think we can do it! If we reach $20,000, all of our backers will get a BONUS poster with their choice of a scientific major arcana illustration. These illustrations are amazing (check out the Updates tab for some that Matteo has recently finished!) and we'd love to send them to everybody.
My name is Nadja Oertelt. I'm a science media producer and a cofounder of the science publication Massive. Illustrator, researcher and neuroscientist Matteo Farinella and I are excited to announce a science card game project we've been working on for over a year, which began as a web series called Our Science Heroes.
The Women of Science Tarot Deck channels the powerful, pioneering women of STEM alongside fundamental concepts in science, math, engineering and technology to help you tell stories about the future. The deck is a fun way to learn about our past and think about ways of tackling the big problems that await us as a species.
The Tarot deck has been used since the 15th century as a framework for communal storytelling, soothsaying and prediction. We’ve updated our tarot to reflect our scientific, 21st century curiosity for shaping the world. The most transformative ways of thinking are not magic: they are real, rooted in STEM and they can help us collectively think about the future.
Tarot decks are traditionally composed of 78 cards: 56 minor arcana (14 cards x 4 suits - which can be used as regular playing cards) + 22 major arcana (representing universal concepts and ideals). Our deck will feature a historical STEM icon on each of the minor cards and a fundamental scientific concept on each of the major cards (i.e. love = gravitational force).
The wisdom of lauded, forgotten, powerful and unknown visionaries in fields spanning the scope of human endeavor are captured in this new card game. Women who have shaped the way we see the world, create it, and imagine it appear on cards fashioned after traditional Tarot decks. Ask the cards and the women a question and use their knowledge of the four spheres of inquiry—the Nano, the Micro, the Macro and the Astro—to construct the answers that can guide you in your life or us a species.
What will the world be like tomorrow? What new directions should you direct your mind and your work? How could we best tackle rising seas? What is the biggest impediment to solving complicated problems in AI? Use discoveries and paradigms in math, engineering, physics, chemistry, microbiology, genetics, medicine, organismic biology, ecosystems, climate science, earth science, geology, astrophysics and cosmology to guide you. We can't predict the future, but we believe that learning about science and telling the stories of inspiring women in STEM can help us imagine a better world and explore radical new futures, rooted in scientific ideas.
A Massive Project
Your support will help Matteo and the Massive team finish the following by July 2019:
1. Illustrating and designing the second half of the 78 card deck. We need your help to continue to pay for Matteo's time in completing the second half of the deck, Allan's time designing the final cards based on Matteo's drawings, and printing the first 500 limited edition run of cards. Some of the cards have been published as part of the Massive web series Our Heroes (and we'll continue to publish a selection of new cards and stories) but we need your help to finish the remaining cards. Matteo is designing the major arcana cards, which we'll share with backers as we progress.
We've built out the four suits of the minor arcana, which will symbolize different realms of science, technology, engineering and math.
- Nano is the suit of the invisible (i.e. math, electrical engineering, physics, computer science)
- Micro is the suit of the cell (i.e. chemistry, microbiology, virology, genetics, medicine)
- Macro is the suit of the system (i.e. organismic biology, ecology, oceanography, earth sciences, civil engineering, robotics)
- Astro is the suit of that beyond the human scale (i.e. geology, astrophysics, cosmology, astronomy)
2. Writing and designing the explanatory pamphlet and guidebook for using the card deck. We want this deck to be more than a collectable item or a party game: we hope it will be a useful tool for science teachers. We need your help supporting the research, writing and editing that is necessary to create a general guidebook (Science Tarot Explained) for play. A secondary, in-depth curriculum-driven guidebook for K-12 teachers is a stretch goal (see below).
Is this science? No, it's a game.
Tarot is not a science. You're right! It's a game. For fun, and coincidentally, learning. There's a great, long history of card games as tools for communal storytelling.
Why are you fouling the pristine objectivity of science with women and magic? At Massive we've learned and are constantly testing the impact of science media presented in different formats and styles. We know from our experience, and from the vast trove of research on effective science communication, that science stories centered on human experience and stories with emotional valence have greater impact on audiences. We want people who use this deck to learn about the history of science, and think creatively about how we can learn from the discoveries and failures, eureka moments and mistakes of the past to inform our future research and decision-making processes...as a species.
Why are you doing this? Our main goal as science communicators is to get people excited about science, to make science a more inclusive space, and to give people a sense of agency in scientific spaces. We want people to prioritize scientific thinking in their own lives and in their communities. We want people to do more research, to ask questions, and to remain curious. We don't think creativity, storytelling, magical thinking and scientific thinking are totally disparate subjects. Neither did Jacob Bronowsky, Richard Feynman, Alan Turing, Marvin Minsky or Oliver Sacks.
Matteo Farinella received a PhD in neuroscience from University College London in 2013. Since then he has been combining his scientific expertise with a life-long passion for drawing, producing educational comics, illustrations and animations. He is the author of Neurocomic (Nobrow 2013) published with the support of the Wellcome Trust, Cervellopoli (Editoriale Scienza 2017) and The Senses (Nobrow 2017). He has worked with universities and educational institutions around the world to make science more clear and accessible. Long time collaborators include Massive Science and Science-Practice. His illustrations won the NSF Science Visualization Challenge (2015), and have been featured in exhibitions such as the Society of Illustrators (2015) and STEAM Within the Panels at the AAAS Art gallery (2017). In 2016 Matteo joined Columbia University as a Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience, where he investigates the role of ‘visual narratives’ in science communication. Working with science journalists, educators and cognitive neuroscientists he aims to understand how these tools may affect the public perception of science and increase scientific literacy. If you want to know more about this project please visit cartoonscience.org
Nadja Oertelt is the CEO of Massive and has worked as a science media producer for over ten years. Massive is an online community and publication for the science curious that works to connect researchers and scientists to the public. Massive trains scientists to become expert science storytellers—helping to make their complex work more easily understood by general audiences. Nadja is a former research scientist, science media producer and documentary filmmaker. She has worked as a researcher in labs at MIT, where she received a BS in Neuroscience in 2007. She's worked as a research assistant at Harvard and Cambridge University, and worked as a producer at Mashable and Buzzfeed. Her work elucidating science for the public has been published in The Atlantic, Vox, and Vice. She has created and produced a number of successful, award-winning animated science series including Neuroscience Animated, Reanimation!, Condensed Matters and Poetry of Perception. She worked at Harvard for almost four years producing one of the first massive open online courses, The Fundamentals of Neuroscience, and raised over $14k using Kickstarter to bring DIY Neuroscience to online learners.
Allan Lasser is the CTO of Massive. As a graphic designer and web developer, he's built and directed the visual style of Massive's website and brand since the beginning. His collage illustrations were featured alongside early Massive articles and he's provided art direction for the Science Heroes project. He believes the web can be a beautiful place where people use computers to do better, more often, with less. Between 2014 and 2016, he was the senior designer and lead developer at MuckRock, where he helped ordinary people make sense of public records and led the top-to-bottom redesign of the platform.
As we design the deck using Matteo's drawings, we'll post updated samples of the following rewards for our backers
- Limited edition 78-card deck, including packaging
- Major arcana cards
- Pamphlet design and copy
- Postcard packs
- Massive sticker packs
- Limited edition signed drawings
- Science on Screen reward events
- If we reach $17,000 we'll add a SuperMassive membership for all backers! This will give everyone premium access to Massive's Science Reports and exclusive updates and access to our scientific community.
- If we reach $20,000, we'll add an extra reward level: a major arcana poster of your choosing for ALL BACKERS!
Risks and challenges
We've been working on this project for almost a year. Massive has supported the creation of Matteo's illustrations. This Kickstarter is meant to help us turn his illustrations into a physical deck of cards and support the creation of the instructional pamphlet.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)