Springer Nature's artistic approach to science communication

Share this on social media:

Image: John Sturrock

A new outside art project from Springer Nature Group in London's Kings Cross area marks Earth Month, turning the area into one of the largest outdoor galleries in London. Titled ‘What Does A Scientist Look Like?’ the exhibition showcases photography from Nature’s ‘Where I Work’ editorial feature, published since 2019.  

Fifty portraits of scientists are on display from Pancras Qquare to Granary Square until June, each one with a sustainability focus that demonstrates how important science and research is to ensure the future of the planet. From Egyptian scientists creating new flower colours, to surfing scientists exploring coral reefs in Hawaii and the Pope’s astronomer in Rome, the images show scientists at work on varied projects that have a real-life impact.

The free exhibition aims to inspire younger generations into STEM careers, and challenge stereotypical preconceptions of what a scientist looks like and does. 

Over 900 students taking part in Earthfest – the three-day sustainability festival being held at King’s Cross from 18 to 21 April – were invited to engage with the exhibition and consider what a scientist looks like to them. Visitors to the exhibition, or those passing through, can scan a QR code on each of the images to read the full interview with the photographed scientist on their career and research focus, as originally published in Nature. 

Springer Nature Group has a hub office in King’s Cross employing more than 1,500 people. A Saturday school in partnership with Civitas, has provided English and maths tuition to more than 400 students over the past decade, and members of staff have also run a longstanding homework club for local teenagers, and provided mentoring for girls considering careers in STEM subjects. 

Commenting on the exhibition, Springer Nature Group’s Head of Corporate Affairs and location lead for the UK, Joyce Lorigan, said: “We know that science and research are powerful tools for finding solutions to the climate crisis. Since 2015, we have published over 70,000 pieces of climate research. We want to go further, bringing science to life by making it accessible and understandable to everyone.

“With this exhibition, we hope to inspire younger generations so they know that anyone, regardless of background, gender or race can pursue a career in this industry. And it doesn’t just involve lab work. There is so much to discover and learn about our world if you work in science and research.”

Jack Leeming, Nature’s Where I Work editor, said: “Our team works to inform both academic and general audiences through our journalism and beautiful art, and it’s a real privilege to bring Nature’s award-winning photography into our local area. It also feels special to be able to showcase so many brilliant scientists in this exhibition. Scientists are as diverse and interesting and varied as the work they do, and this project will help to demonstrate that to the public.

“This exhibition is especially poignant for the Where I Work team as our colleague Karen Kaplan, who launched the section in 2019 to mark Nature’s 150th anniversary, passed away last year. We’re proud to dedicate this exhibition to her.”