Recording available! Illustrating Science: a conversation with Julia Kuo and Steven Haddock

Researchers and communicators alike can benefit from new ways to explain complex scientific concepts.

Watch this session to learn about how Julia Kuo brought bioluminescence to the pages of a children’s book. Inspired by her adventures around the world, she wrote and illustrated Luminous: Living Things That Light Up the Night. Julia worked with marine biologist Steven Haddock, who provided fact-checking and a glimpse into the mindset of bioluminescence researchers. In this conversation, we’ll hear about how artists and scientists collaborate to depict the beauty and awe of science.

Julia Kuo is the author and illustrator of Let’s Do Everything and Nothing and the illustrator of several picture and specialty books including the NYT bestselling book RISE. She has created editorial illustrations for publications such as the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and the New York Times. Julia has taught illustration courses at Columbia College Chicago and at her alma mater, Washington University in St. Louis. She has been an artist-in-residence twice at the Banff Centre for the Arts and was a 2019-2021 fellow with the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry at the University of Chicago. She currently lives in Seattle, WA.

Steven Haddock has been participating in deep-sea research for more than 30 years. He studies marine diversity, molecular biology, and bioluminescence at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and UC Santa Cruz. He specializes in fragile gelatinous drifters that are abundant in the deep-sea and open ocean. In addition to conducting research expeditions, he has documented many luminous species for the first time. He uses genetic methods to reveal the relationships between organisms and to understand the proteins and chemicals that they use to make bioluminescent light. He also runs the Bioluminescence Web Page (, the citizen-science project, and teaches computing to scientists at