Sketchnoters' Stories - "Sketchnoting and Scientific Topics": Rob Dimeo

Today we are happy to feature our friend, scientist and physicist Rob Dimeo.


Sketchnoting and Scientific Topics

I started sketchnoting about two years ago. My original reason to do it was to better understand current research topics in differentscientific areas, mainly physics and materials science. I work at a multidisciplinary research facility and it’s important to me that I understand research areas beyond my own expertise. I’m a physicist by training but in my job I need a broad view of the research carried out at our facility.

Perhaps the biggest opportunity for learning about the latest science is through the many scientific seminars we host. In the past, I took notes during these seminars, but I rarely looked at them. No that’s not accurate. I NEVER looked at them. So I specifically looked for a way to improve my notes to improve my understanding and to better retain information. When I searched the web I quickly found that visual notetaking and sketchnotes “were a thing.” What appealed to me the most about seeing the wonderful sketchnotes that had been published on the web was that these were documents that engaged me very quickly and were very informative. Each one was a billboard for learning. Quick. Appealing. Informative.

I read Mike Rohde’s Sketchnote Handbook, learned the method, and was inspired. I tried it and loved the practice. It wasn’t easy to do and I spent a great deal of time developing a workflow that worked for me. You can read about my workflow for making sketchnotes for science talks in much more detail here.

I’ve also made sketchnotes for things beyond scientific seminars. I’ve created numerous sketchnotes during live meetings (management, safety, leadership, etc.). I’ve made one-page sketchnotes on policy matters. I’ve even used sketchnotes to prepare myself for oral presentations. In every single case, sketchnotes have helped me to better grasp information and better retain it. The verbal-visual connection is extremely powerful and it is one that I unfortunately neglected until just two years ago.

As I built up my confidence, I shared my sketchnotes on social media (LinkedIn, Flickr, Twitter, and Instagram). I enjoyed receiving feedback and encouragement from the community and the other sketchnoters. There were very few people sketchnoting physical science topics but this has started to change. I’m really happy about that!

Making sketchnotes has had an impact far beyond what I originally intended. Though sketchnoting has certainly helped me to understand a more diverse set of technical topics, it has also had an effect on some of the people whose talks I’ve made sketchnotes. For example, I made a sketchnote of a paper that was published in Nature Communications and shared it with the main author of the paper. The paper was the culmination of her Ph.D. dissertation in Physics.Not long after I sent her the sketchnote, her husband contacted me via email and asked for permission to enlarge the digital sketchnote, print it and frame it and give it to her as a memory of her thesis work. This is perhaps the best compliment that I have ever received about any of my sketchnotes.

I sketchnote every day at work and it is now a natural part of my workflow in my job. I am not overstating it when I say that it has been transformational.

I really enjoy connecting with other sketchnoters so please feel free to contact me via:

Twitter: @Rob_Dimeo
Instagram: @Rob_Dimeo
LinkedIn: Robert Dimeo


Can't refrain myself to underline the term "transformational". 

...The induced or spontaneous change of one element into another by a nuclear process...

Oxford Dictionaries

In my words: Sketchnote is a powerful Game Changer!

Thank you Rob!

- Mauro

Sql Server in a Sketchnote: Matt Penny

Happy National Handwriting Day!