Posts Tagged ‘science communication’

The grand finale.

March 22, 2010

After many long hours of work stitching and labelling. Here it is. The finished piece.

We’re very proud but very tired. I read somewhere (I think the Times) that two hours of knitting burns a bowl of porridge of calories, so I think we’re owed a lot of porridge…Anyway, like proud parents. It’s hopefully going to be exhibited at Imperial (College) soon so we’ll keep you updated. If you click on the photo you can zoom in and read all the tags.


Flavr Savr

February 25, 2010

The Flavr Savr tomato was the first commercially grown genetically engineered food to be granted a license for human consumption.

This is my attempt to recreate this landmark vegetable out of yarn. My knitted version might not be perfect, but neither was the actual GM tomato, first sold in 1994, it was only available for a couple of years before production ceased.

Cast-on Clarissa finally CASTS ON!

February 17, 2010

Yesterday I produced my first piece of actual knitting!

I have a bit of catching up to do to be able to create masterpieces like those of Needle-fingered Sue and Drop-stitch Dorothy…better get moving….I’m starting with genomics – in red.

The influence of Industry…it’s pink and fluffy??

February 17, 2010

I found a new tool to aid my one handed knitting attempts!  Her names is Knitting Nancy.  She was found lurking in my parents’ house.  Using the four staples that protrude from her head (no wonder she looks fed up) you can create a long piece of what’s called French Knitting.  It looks a bit like a long worm – I can’t think how else to describe it!

We decided to use this pink fluffy ‘wool’ to represent Industry.  The ‘wool’ is synthetic, which we thought apt, and somewhat alien in appearance.  Our Industrial worm will weave its way into the various fields of genetics that emerged after the genetic code had been cracked, and DNA sequencing had been made possible.

Pure Nobel Prize Gold

February 17, 2010

Thank you to the highly organised team who coordinated the search for this beautiful yellow and gold Nobel prize winning yarn. As we read about the history of genetics, we noticed a cluster of Nobel prizes in the field between the late 1950’s and the mid 1960’s, when the genetic code was understood. Here they are:

1957 – Alexander Robertus Todd received the Nobel Prize for chemistry for synthesising chemicals leading to the discovery of the structure of DNA.

1958 – Beadle and Tatum received the Nobel Prize for medicine and physiology for demonstrating that one gene controls the production of one enzyme.

1959 – Arthur Kornberg received the Nobel Prize for medicine and physiology for demonstrating that DNA can copy itself.

1962 – Watson and Crick received the Nobel Prize for medicine and physiology for their discovery of the structure of DNA.

1965 – Jacob and Monod received the Nobel Prize for medicine and physiology for demonstrating how genes are switched on and off.

5 gold pom-poms coming up…

The Genetiknits maps.

February 10, 2010

In case this all seems a little abstract, here are a few maps of what is going to happen.

Turning a chronological timeline of historical events into a knitting plan hasn’t been easy and each of us has had a fair shot at it. It’s still a work in progress and develops as we discover what we can and can’t achieve with our knitting needles, but also as we begin to better understand the science of genetics and how the important events link together.

We’re not claiming to represent every single event in every stitch. We want to show our interpretation of it.

In the beginning there was Darwin

February 4, 2010

Just finished my first piece! The corner of Darwin’s theory of natural selection with the loose thread of how heredity actually worked…

Only another 150 years to go now.

Translating the history of genetic engineering into a knitting pattern? Blue yarn. Definitely.

February 4, 2010

A few stitches later

The first attempt at purl stitch resulted in a large red knot and needles in a twist. This second attempt might not yet be Dolly the sheep, or even the Flavr Savr tomato but it’s getting there, building on human error, stitch by stitch.

The first few tentative stitches…

February 3, 2010

Drop-stitch Dorothy takes the first step

But we’re not going to let broken bones get in the way of scientific progress. On Tuesday we headed down to Somerset House on Tuesday to join SOCK (Society of Courtauld Knitters) who’ve very kindly taken us in and offered to teach us all they know. Armed with genetics books, a charity-shop haul of needles straight from someone’s nan’s roof, and wool scraps scrounged from friends and relatives, it was time to get our needles dirty.

And so after two weeks of being told ‘the bunny goes up the hill, round the tree, and down the hole’ by patronising youtube knitting tutorials, endlessly trawling wikipedia and trying to get to grips with imperial to metric needle sizes, Drop-stitch Dorothy cast ON. We’re well and truly off…though only in about 1860 so far.

I’m getting stuck into Darwin’s theory of evolution and Mendel’s pea is also coming soon…

If anyone knows of any knitting techniques which only require one hand or has any ends of wool balls which would like to get involved in a creative science project please let us know!

The aim of the game

January 26, 2010

Our aim, bizarre though it may seem, is to knit a piece that explores the link between the craft of knitting and science.

We see knitting and science as similar. They are both based on structure, both man-made and involve certain tools. Luckily for us too, both inevitably involve human error which can be visible, or masked by repair. We are all novice knitters, but what we lack in skills, we make up for in ambition.

We are basing our creation on a rough plan (which we’ll put up when it’s a bit less rough), but like science, its evolution will depend on its progress: what is created will depend on what has been created beforehand.

Different colours, materials, stitches and techniques will be used to represent different scientists, theories and fields throughout the history of genetics. We see our creation as beginning with a few single, tentative strands, then broadening gradually, more and more noticeably after each key event. Rediscovered theories such as Mendel’s will feed back into the knit after a period of absence.  The discovery of the structure of DNA by Watson and Crick, and the later ‘cracking’ of the genetic code, are seen to be explosive events (we’re thinking bright coloured pom-poms)

Our final piece is going to be photographed and exhibited as a large poster, with annotations explaining its various features.

But first, we need to learn to knit…