Cartoon physics

| Michaela Nesvarova

'Who will teach in the future? To those who will not: my condolences! What are you going to do with your life? Teaching is wonderful, it´s a way of life!' Paul Hewitt began his cartoon workshop, during which he coached the participants on how to explain abstract, complicated topics by simple drawings.

Photo by: Gijs van Ouwerkerk

Paul Hewitt is a famous American physicist and, most of all, a teacher. He is the author of a well-known textbook 'Conceptual Physics', which is used by more than 37% of the U.S high school students. As a former cartoonist and sign painter, Hewitt has dedicated a large part of his professional career to teaching science by drawing simple cartoons and creating short video tutorials that demonstrate different scientific principles.

Hewitt Drew it!

Today, the man behind 'Hewitt Drew it!' visited the University of Twente to hold a cartoon workshop and a lecture on 'Conceptual Physics'. The event was initiated by Studievereniging Onwijs, a UT student association. Paul Hewitt was coming to the Netherlands to appear at a big event in Nijmegen, and so the UT organizers didn´t hesitate to invite him to Twente, so he could share some details about his unique teaching technique.

During the workshop, Hewitt showed that drawing even the simplest objects can make you think about the world and the physics behind it: 'Draw a circle,' Hewitt instructed all the participants. 'Now make it into a sun. To do that, you draw some rays. Why? To symbolize radiation. Because everything above the temperature of absolute zero radiates.'

The simpler, the better

Afterwards Hewitt moved onto more complex drawings, explaining each picture in detail to demonstrate how easy it can be to make cartoons in front of a class. 'The simpler your art is, the better. Make it simple and quick,' he says. 'Every physics teacher that can do something else besides physics, is amazing in the eyes of the students.'

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