About Frontiers

The dates which appear under each pull are the publication dates for each Frontiers of Science strip in the Sydney Morning Herald.

The keywords used were provided by Professor Peter Harrowell, School of Chemistry, University of Sydney.

The site currently holds the first 200 weekly strips and the rest will be loaded over the next 2 years.

History of Frontiers

The Frontiers of Science was a unique innovation. This illustrated comic strip of 'science fact' was conceived and published in Sydney and was syndicated worldwide through over 600 newspapers.

The original Frontiers of Science strips ran from 1961 to 1982. The series was co-written and produced by Professor Stuart Butler from the School of Physics and journalist and film-maker Bob Raymond. The early art work in the series was by Andrea Bresciani, continued later by David Emersen.

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Frontiers of Science was significant as a means of communicating and popularising science in a way that ensured the widest audience of the day was informed about, and understood, scientific concepts, theories, processes, discoveries and developments. It was also significant because it was successful internationally, it was Australian, it was developed from the University of Sydney, and it forms part of that tradition of outreach and public education that has characterised the School of Physics and the Faculty of Science to the present day.

In total 939 weekly episodes or "pulls" were created, each around a particular topic. Each pull had five strips, one for each weekday. The strips were initially published in the Sydney Morning Herald, and were then syndicated to each of the capital city major dailies (except Adelaide). Within a few years the series was syndicated internationally - to the LA Times for syndication throughout the USA and Canada, and to Editors Press in New York for syndication and translation for Europe, South America and Asia. The Press Feature Service handled syndication in the UK. Writing and artwork was managed by Stuart Butler and Bob Raymond, and the strips were published in Sydney.

The production of Frontiers came to an end in 1982 with Stuart Butler's death, but there was such a backlog of un-published cartoons it continued to run in many parts of the world for years. Bob Raymond and Miriam Butler sifted through all 939 strips and updated them with colour and an environmental theme (initiated by illustrator David Emerson) to create a new strip, Frontiers of Science: Earthcare which ran until 1993.

Publisher pulls and some of the original art work is located and archived in the Rare Books and Special Collections Library in Fisher Library at the University of Sydney. Digitisation and web site developed in association with Sydney eScholarship at the University Library. Indexing of the strips by Professor Peter Harrowell, Professor of Theoretical Chemistry at the University of Sydney. Digitisation funded by the Science Foundation for Physics at the University of Sydney.

The Creators

The Frontiers of Science strip was created in 1961 by Andrea Bresciani and David Emerson (artists), Robert Raymond (author), Professor Stuart Butler (scientific consultant) and produced and distributed by Press Feature Service, Sydney, Australia. See The Creators page for more information.

The Frontiers of Science website was developed with a range of technologies together which create the browsing experience.