Cornelia Hesse-Honegger

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Cornelia Hesse-Honegger is a Zürich-based artist and scientific illustrator. In 1986, she decided to document the bugs in Europe affected by the radioactive cloud released by the Chernobyl Disaster. Scientific data had not yet been released on the cloud’s effects on local wildlife, so Hesse-Honegger took samples of organisms with the highest rate of reproduction (insects) and detailed her findings with watercolor studies. In 1990, when she traveled to the exclusion zone of Chernobyl itself, she found that out of 55 bugs she collected, 12 had noticeable mutations. Against the backlash her series created in the nuclear science community at that time, she continued to conduct similar studies in other places of radioactivity, such as nuclear power plants in Germany and the site of the Three Mile Island disaster in the United States. All had abnormalities.

You can see more of her illustrations and findings on her website.

*All images from wissenkunst.ch

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