What is The Sciku Project?

The Sciku Project is a collaborative platform designed to share the latest scientific and mathematical discoveries, thoughts and ideas through the medium of sciku – scientific haiku. Anyone is welcome to contribute and share haiku based on their favourite discovery, their latest research paper or a beloved theory. Visitors to The Sciku Project can Explore the world through the medium of sciku or trust in the temperament of chance and treat themselves to Random sciku. You can also follow The Sciku Project on Facebook and Twitter (@thescikuproject).

Can I get involved?

Yes, visit the Contribute page for more details. You can find advice and tips on writing sciku here.

Why haiku?

Science and mathematics can be beautiful but this is frequently lost amongst the dry details of research papers. Haiku are brief, evocative poems of intrigue and feeling designed to perfectly capture a moment of wonder or emotion. As a result they are a perfect medium for exploring the elegance of research and rediscovering the joys of science and mathematics. You can find out more about haiku and sciku here.

Research also suggests that the use of haiku to explain scientific ideas can actually help learning:

The haiku writing process and explanations created a context for deconstructing complex concepts into simple terms and then reconstructing them to produce descriptions that reflected deep meaning. The haiku assignments fostered logical thinking skills, guiding students to understand that claims need to be supported by evidence that is, in turn, synthesized by the student’s reasoning.” (Pollack & Korol, 2013).

Isn’t trying to condense scientific research into 17 syllables a bit reductionist and risks over simplification?
Scientific endeavour is a subtle and frequently complex business and, of course, the details of a scientific finding can’t be adequately explained in a mere 17 syllables. The Sciku Project aims to provide science tasters: elegant nuggets of intrigue that prompt thought and stimulate curiosity. To aid with further exploration and understanding, each haiku is followed by a couple of sentences explaining its context and providing links to the original research.
Who founded The Sciku Project?

My name is Andrew Holmes and I am a zoologist interested in animal behaviour, evolution, welfare and conservation. My current research involves the use of scent cues to monitor and manipulate rodent behaviour with a view to improving the efficacy and humaneness of rodent pest control. In previous projects I have investigated the welfare of captive housed African clawed frogs; the evolution and contexts of kin recognition mechanisms in wild house mice; orientation behaviour in populations of sticklebacks from different habitats; and the conservation genetics of the fen raft spider.

I am not a haiku expert and certainly I do not think of myself as being particularly good at haiku composition. For me haiku are an elegant way of illuminating moments of science that might otherwise be lost in the day-to-day business of research.