Argha Manna is a journalist, feature writer, comics artist, and a Ph.D. dropout. He had been researching Cancer at Bose Institute, India. He was a participant in several projects related to cancer cell migration, metastasis, and cancer stem cell. He had published several papers, in prestigious journals.
That is when things at the lab went down south. The overall culture was stifling. He had to drop out. The choice was forced. It was not easy to cope. He knew no other life. He had to invent one. Writing and comics offered some breathing space. They soon became a refuge. Finally, they found him a job and another life.
A vernacular newspaper, which hired him as a science reporter, offered a platform. There he thrived. It let him write, and draw, what he always knew he loved science research.
The excommunication from the experimental research was hard to live with. A total parting was impossible. The resolution, in his work, to explore the history and philosophy of Science, shows how he decided to cope.
For the past two years, he has been writing regular columns on the history of Cell Biology. They are published in Anandabazar Patrika (school edition). But those columns were read with interest by college and university students too.
Now, he wishes to translate them in English. The ambition is higher. He has been working on converting those essays into a graphic non-fiction book in English. The ambition is to offer a well researched graphic non-fiction monograph on histories of cell biology. He believes that it will appeal to specialists and non-specialists alike.
Moreover, he has been publishing, for a while now, a weekly comic strip in The Telegraph (In school). Called Welcome to Hook’s Lab, it explores the development of modern European science. In particular, it focuses on the development of science in 17 century Britain, the pioneering initiatives of the Royal Society and the unique career of Robert Hooke.
Right now, Argha is devoted to writing an illustrated history of Cancer research and other scientific developments in colonial India. He has created the blog towards this purpose. There he has been publishing it in episodes. It charts the career of cancer research in colonial India and Europe, with regard to the development and testing of various ideas on how to manage cancer. Along with this, his blog has been featuring several stories about the history of science from India and global.
Argha is clear that the story cannot be contained in words alone. There will be plenty of visuals in the story, in order possibly to interest the competent lay reader. His philosophy of storytelling is simple and clear. It has to be a blend of text, images, and comics. Argha’s view on the storytelling of the history of science through art and comics has been featured in Nature India.
There are four layers to Argha’s interest in the History of Science. It is an interesting development of various scientific fields along with how visual culture aided in the development of a given field and in its knowledge sharing. He is also keen to study how visual artists in the course of history documented such documented or responded to a given development, for instance, in cell biology, through their artworks. Finally, he wishes to engage the readers with his own graphic narratives, or eloquent illustrations, on all the three above. (Please see the interests section for detail).
Argha lives in Howrah, a small town in the eastern Indian province of West Bengal, with his wife.
Here is the updated CV of Argha including academic and other credentials.
You can reach Argha through mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
My venture at the interphase of history, science, and art has got featured in Nature India, 29 June 2019.
I have been shortlisted as STEMPeers Fellow 2019. Under the fellowship, I will create Science-History comics for various platforms of STEMPeers. In parallel, the grant will be utilized partly to develop a project named “Science in the City: Science in colonial Calcutta, a visual story”.