Published: May 23, 2023

Students from the Radical Science Writing 3030 classes installed their final projects on the 3rd floor corridor on the west side of Norlin Library. The final assignment requires five-person teams to design and present their research as a series of posters about the sciences at the time of Shakespeare. The series was initially developed with support from the Libraries Rare and Distinctive Collections in 2016.

Students using level to install panel

“The Shakespearean Science assignment, perhaps more than any other I give my science writers, demands an awareness of the rhetorical situation,” said Writing & Rhetoric Program (WRTG) instructor Danny Long. “Once the posters are hung up on the wall, people will be zipping by them in a hurry. My students must capture their attention and hold it.”

One example from this year’s project is titled “Vignette of Color” Presenting four primary ingredients prominent in a painting by Giovanni Battista Salvi, the posters inform the reader about where painting materials were sourced and how they were mixed to create pigments used in paintings in the 15th century.

Vignette of Color panel

“We had to think about our audience and how to make it visually appealing, both of which are not things you typically do for research papers,” said Shreya Sharma, a graduating senior studying biochemistry.

WRTG 3030 is a science writing class designed for engineering majors. The final assignment introduces an additional element. 

Students working to install panels

“In the past working on research papers, I often would just follow the formula of finding sources with useful quotes and adding them to my paper as I went,” Jack McKinstry, a junior studying computer science related. “The difference with the creative freedom allowed with this assignment not only made it more fun to complete, but also forced me to actually understand the topic from the research we conducted.”

John Fournet, a junior in economics, said of the assignment, “often we were doing research or learning new techniques, but it never felt like most learning where you are bored or frustrated, instead we were having fun.

Humors for the Seasons panel

Long recalled the inspiration for the Shakespearean Science project began in 2016 when the CU Boulder Libraries were one of 50 institutions to host the traveling exhibit, First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare. He got the idea to combine research and writing about the sciences of Shakespeare’s time into a public-facing format using images and layout. Current 3030 classes can view the work of the previous semester for critical review, ideas and inspiration from which to make their own presentations.

Large group of students viewing the installed works