Science Curriculum-Instruction-Assessment that includes historical vignettes & case studies, humor, discrepant event demonstrations, real-world applications (including mathematics) and STS issues/controversies sends a message that science should be considered a “FUNdaMENTAL humanity.” That is, science has been and continues to be a very human endeavor carried out by an ethnically, politically, and personally diverse group of individuals united by a common “need to know &/or create” drive. If presented this way, science invites students to participate in the ongoing process by opening their minds and increasing their motivation to do the “hard work” necessary to be involved in the “game of scientific play.” The following references can help you show your students that science is a human adventure worth pursuing as either a vocation or avocation and “a” useful lens through which to view both human history and the natural world. For an extensive listing of live links to Internet resources on these same topics, go to the Binghamton University, SEHD, Center for Science, Mathematics and Technology Education website:


Humor & Science

Bloch, Arthur. (1977, 1980, & 1982). Murphy’s Law and other reasons why things go wrong, Book Two and Book Three (includes index to all three). Los Angeles: Price/Stern/Sloan. Compilations of humorous pseudo-scientific “laws” and sayings. See also book by Peers.

Brilliant, Ashleigh. (1979). I May Not Be Totally Perfect, But Parts of Me Are Excellent. (1980).I Have Abandoned My Search for Truth and Am Now Looking for A Good Fantasy. (1981). Appreciate Me Now and Avoid the Rush. (1984).I Feel Much Better Now That I’ve Given Up Hope. (1985). All I Want is a Warm Bed, a Kind Word and Unlimited Power. (1987).I Try to Take One Day at a Time, But Sometimes Several Days Attack Me at Once. (1999). I’m Just Moving Clouds Today, Tomorrow I’ll Try Mountains. Santa Barbara, CA: Woodbridge Press. Compilations of “brilliant pot shots” or short witty, thought & smile provoking sayings with accompanying cartoon-like b/w sketches -- most do not deal directly with science, but all deal with the human condition. Great teacher resource.

Bacall, Aaron. (2003). The Lighter Side of Teaching. Corwin Press. 96pp of education cartoons. See also by same author & publisher: (2002). The Lighter Side of Educational Leadership. 96pp.

Bucheri, Carol & Way, Sheila. (ed). 1996). My Homework Ate My Dog: Great Cartoons from the Phi Delta Kappan, 1991-1996. Bloomington, IN: Phi Delta Kappa International.

Burne, David. (1999). Get a Grip on Evolution. East-Sussex, England: Ivy Press/Time-Life Books. Similar to Cartoon Guide to ___ and ___ For Beginners type books; covers history & basic concepts.

Canfeld, Jack, Hansen, Mark V., & McPherson, John. (2004). Chicken Soup for the Soul: Cartoons for Teachers. Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications. ~200, one-page Close to Home cartoons by McPherson; a large # focused on science teaching.

Cerf, Christopher & Navasky, Victor. (1984/1998). The Experts Speak: The Definitive Compendium of Authoritative Misinformation. Villard. 480pp systematically catalogues, footnotes, and sets straight a couple of thousand examples of expert misunderstanding, miscalculation, egregious prognostication, boo-boos, and just plain lies on science, politics, education,.... See also books by Wayne Coffey (below) and Youngson (history section of this bibliography).

Coffey, Dan (“Dr. Science”) & Kessler, Merle (“Rodney”). The Official Dr. Science Big Book of Science (Simplified). Chicago: Contemporary Books. 206pp of offbeat science humor from the radio broadcasts of the Duck’s Breath Mystery Theater.

Coffey, Wayne. (1983). 303 of the World’s Worst Predictions. NY: Tribeca Communications. Short quotes from “leaders” in politics/government, transportation, sociology, business/economics, war/military, sci-tech, sports, arts, errotica, & futurists. In the same vein: See also: Youngson.

Croall, Stephen & Rankin, William. (1982). Ecology for Beginners. NY: Pantheon Documentary Comic Book series/Random House. 175pp, combines amusing B/W drawings, photos & text to tell the story of ecology. See also books by Gonick & Get a Grip series.

Deamer, Dr. David & McLaughlin, Riley. (1983). DNA Suite.(arranger & synthesizer performer). Science and the Arts, Box 791, Davis CA 95617. Side two explains side one instrumental music which was created by decoding specific DNA sequences and translating them into music.

Devine, Betsy & Cohen, Joel E. (1992). Absolute Zero Gravity. NY: Fireside Book/Simon & Schuster. A collection of jokes, anecdotes, limericks and riddles (humor) revealing the funny side of physics, biology, mathematics and other branches of science. 162pp.

Downes, Nick. (1994). Whatever Happened to Eureka: Cartoons on Science. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Univ. Press. (1992). Big Science. Washington, DC: AAAS Press. Great collections of science cartoons. Gr.7-adult. See also books by Eales, Harris and Larson.

Eales, Stan. (1991). Earthtoon: The First Book of Eco-humor. NY: Warner Books. Environmental cartoons (some color and some B/W; some a little “off-color”). See also eco-cartoons by Harris.

Gonick, Larry & Wheelis, Mark. The Cartoon Guide to Genetics. Barnes & Noble Books. 214pp; principles of genetics illustrated, simplified & humor coated. Other similar books by Gonick: The Cartoon Guide to Physics, ...Computer, ...Statistics, ... History of the Universe. See also Get a Grip...

Gribben, John. (1999). Get a Grip on Physics. NY: Barnes & Noble. ~ Cartoon Guides

Harris, Sidney. (2003). There Goes the Neighborhood: Cartoons on the Environment.

(1999). 49 Dogs, 36 Cats, & a Platypus: Animal Cartoons. (1997). Freudian Slips: Cartoons on Psychology. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. (1994). Stress Test: Cartoons on Medicine. (1992). Chalk Up Another One: The Best of Sidney Harris. Washington, DC: AAAS Press. (AAAS, 1333 H St., NW, Washington, DC 20005). 12th collection of scientific, medical & academic cartoons; contains more than 135 of his best. Previous books include: (1991). Can’t You Guys Read?: Cartoons (140) on Academia and (1989) Einstein Simplified: Cartoons on Science. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. (1990). You Want Proof? I’ll Give You Proof! NY: W.H. Freeman & Co. (1980). All Ends Up and (1977). What’s So Funny about Science (out-of-print). Los Altos, CA: William Kaufmann.

Kerrod, R. (1999). Get a Grip on Astronomy. East-Sussex, England: Ivy Press/Time-Life Books. Similar to Cartoon Guide type books; covers history & basic concepts.

Larson, Gary. (1984). The Far Side Gallery. Kansas City: Andrews & McMeel. (1986). The Far Side Gallery 2, (1988) ...3 and (1993) ...4. Science (esp. biology) cartoons with strange twists.

Laskey, Dr. Ron. (1991). Songs for Cynical Scientists. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

1-800-843-4388. 12 humorous songs that poke fun at molecular biology & professional scientists (including the songwriter). Songs include: The Cloning Sequence, Cells & Gels, Committee-Commitment-Committed, Next Slide Please, etc.

Miller, Jonathan & Van Loon, B. (illust.). (1982). Darwin for Beginners. London, UK: A Writers & Readers Documentary Comic Book/Unwin Paperbacks. Traces the history of the theory of evolution in light-hearted vein [~ Cartoon Guide series].

Peers, John (compiler), Bennett, Gordon (ed.). 1001 Logical Laws, Accurate Axioms, Profound Principles...For All Walks of Life. (1978). NY: Ballatine Books/Random House. 227pp paperback of humorous “scientific” sayings. See also books by Bloch.

Reagan, Michael. (ed.). 1999). The hand of God: Thoughts and images reflecting the spirit of the universe. Philadelphia, PA: Templeton Foundation Press. 160pp juxtapositions awesome, full-color photos of the cosmos next to illuminating words of historic & modern day scientists (both agnostic & theistic), poets and theologians.

Scheer, Dr. George H. (ed.). (1983). The Best of The Journal of Irreproducible Results. NY: Workman Publishing. Compilation off the best articles from 1955-1983 issues of the parody magazine written by eminent members of the scientific and medical community. 195pp of science humor written like serious scientific journal articles.

Weller, Tom. (1985). Science Made Stupid. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Offbeat, humorous interpretation of science including chapters on evolution and the descent of man.

Last Updated: 3/28/16