On a school field trip, Alice runs after a white rabbit – and falls into a hole, sliding down the ventilation shaft of a climate research institute’s supercomputer.
This sums up the opening of a new 278-page publication by the prestigious Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
Instead of the institute’s regular climate change research, this book chronicles a fictional journey through the virtual world of computer models, from tropical rainforests to the ice of Antarctica, in a very free adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s children’s classic Alice in Wonderland.
More than 50 scientists provided their expertise for this work by Margret Boysen, who grew up in Berlin and is a geologist by training.
“This lovely book, which should have the widest possible reach, tells the epic climate-change story in terms of a ‘fairytale about the truth’,” said British cosmologist and astrophysicist Lord Martin Rees.
The publication comes as Alice in Wonderland is set to get extra media attention this year with Disney’s Alice Through The Looking Glass (Alice in Wonderland 2) movie set to hit the theatres at the end of May, starring the likes of Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway and Mia Wasikowska.
Epic Climate Change Story
Boysen leads PIK’s Artist in Residence programme which regularly brings writers or artists to Potsdam for a few months’ exchange between the arts and science. PIK is a Climate-KIC partner.
“It has been a pleasure to turn the already absurd tale of Alice in Wonderland upside down, and to build a bridge from there to some of the most exciting scientific insights of our times,” Boysen says about her book.
“We humans will only choose the right paths if we can empathise with the fate of others – this is what my protagonist does,” she said.
The book was presented at this year’s Leipzig Book Fair, and is now available in German. An English version is being planned. We’re keeping our fingers crossed at the Daily Planet for a Disney movie adaptation!
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