Positive Thinking: Casper’s new book celebrates science pioneers

Positive Thinking: Casper's new book celebrates science pioneers

“We dreamed about doing something else,” said Pullen, “like directors or explorers.”

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“We talked about how cool it would be to do a big entry way painting the big thinkers and scientists,” he said.

A few years later, Pullen was contacted by the Science Zone to possibly conceive art for their new location.

Story Highlights

  • CASPER, Wyo. – After Casper artist Zachary Pullen and author Brad Herzog finished their book “The Presidents” in 2015, Pullen knew he’d like to do something similar again.

  • “The Presidents” book was based on Pullen’s large painting featuring every president up to Obama sitting together in the same space. The book fleshed out each individual portrait with their stories written by Herzog.

They brainstormed and came up with about 30 individuals who contributed to scientific breakthroughs through the centuries. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit last year, Pullen used his extra time to add on more portraits, eventually landing on 69 people.

The final list didn’t come easy. After Pullen sent his original 30 nominees to Herzog, the author nixed about ten of them. Then the back-and-forth started.

“I ended up doing over 120 drawings,” said Pullen, “and that was narrowed down to the 69 we have.” “I did a lot of research as far as who’s who, and what they’re known for,” he said.

A crop of “The Thinkers” shows some of the 69 science pioneers represented in the painting by Zachary Pullen. (Courtesy) The final painting measures 4 by 8 feet and features scientists and thinkers through the ages doing what they’re known for, all in Pullen’s trademark whimsical style. A roughly 28-foot-wide wallpaper print of the painting will greet visitors to the new Science Zone in their new location at 222 East Collins Drive.

The range of thinkers in the painting were also carefully chosen to represent people from all over the world. “No matter who you are, you’ll find someone who looks like you and that you can relate to,” said the Science Zone’s executive director Steven Schnell. “It’s been a really exciting process.”

The team attracted the attention of public radio’s “Science Friday” host Ira Flatow, who agreed to write a forward for the book. A crop of the new book “The Thinkers” shows a quote from radio host and journalist Ira Flatow. (Courtesy)

Pullen said the book version is intended to entice children to learn more about the scientists and hopefully science as a whole. “Then you go to the library and do your own research and go down the rabbit hole,” he said. The new location’s exhibits and interior are still under construction, but Schnell says they hope to have at least a third of the building open by next month. The book and painting project ultimately will help raise money for the Science Zone and new exhibits, he said.