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When Art Meets Biology

Alina Konnikova and Keith Solvang
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Every year Eukaryon accepts artwork from enthusiastic and talented Lake Forest students for the cover page of its annual journal publication. Over the years, the cover has evolved greatly. The first issue did not have a theme and instead illustrated a photograph of a chick embryo taken during a developmental biology lab. As the journal matured, the following year had a theme. The theme was biology students in action” and it was demonstrated in the form of a collage of pictures of the various activities biology majors are involved in.  The 3rd edition highlighted the undergraduate research at our college by showcasing artistically integrated experimental data and the organisms from the issue’s primary articles and senior thesis.  The 4th edition of the journal coincided with an important anniversary for the college–it was a tribute to 150 years of science teaching at LFC.  The subsequent year was followed by another important date: 150th anniversary of Darwin’s book “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.” The cover page of the 5th edition of the journal was a tribute to Darwin’s book due to its enormous impact on the course of the development of biology. The theme of the 6th edition was “evolving connections” and the cover highlighted one of the important additions to the science department, the neuroscience major and the biochemistry and molecular biology major.

Illustrated above are the cover pages from the past six editions.

You might wonder what led to the creation of the beautiful heart puzzle on the cover of the 7th edition. The theme of this year’s journal is “parts of the whole.” The student body was asked to create a cover page based on the following description: “Eukaryon is a student run journal of life sciences that highlights the academic accomplishments of students achieved within the research-rich classrooms and student-centered research labs of our college. We are composed of individual components, which make Eukaryon its own entity.  For example, you can think of Eukaryon as a biological cell and of organelles of the cell as numerous components.  The components of Eukaryon include: reviewing articles, editing, publication, actively supporting freshman, maintaining relationships with alumni, staff, and students, organizing programs, representing all life sciences, communication, writing, leadership, and self- analysis. The cover can be abstract, hand drawn, or digitally designed.”

Eukaryon experienced a terrific year in terms of art submissions. Every submission was a masterpiece in its self. The submissions mirrored the diverse interests of our students since every submission was from an Art and Biology double major; thus, it reflects the true value of a liberal arts education.   After serious contemplation and discussion during full board meetings, the decision was made. However, just mentioning the artwork does not do it justice. This year, we wanted to highlight the stunning artwork by both showcasing it in the journal and allowing the authors to describe what inspired them to create their work of art.    

Here is what the authors have to say:

Lauren Leeber ‘13:

“The thought behind my design came from the theme of “parts of a whole.” When, without all of the pieces, you do not have a functioning machine; you must have every part to get the gears in motion. In Eukaryon we are all inter-dependent and it allows for a productive and highly efficient piece of work. It does not matter how small your role in Eukaryon is. Without the smallest participants, a machine cannot run and a heart cannot function. I personally think that Eukaryon is at the heart of the science department and that we are just one part of the all-encompassing body of Lake Forest College. We are all merely parts of the whole.”

Artwork by Lauren Leeber ’13.

Samantha Pinto ‘13:

“As I thought about the theme “Parts of a Whole,” I came up with various ways to represent it in words. However, putting it into a form of art was a little more challenging because of the things you need to take into consideration when designing a journal or magazine cover. A cover needs to be simple, yet beautiful – with all the right colors and forms that show off the theme in the form of a picture. The first idea that popped into my mind was puzzles. A puzzle is made up entirely of puzzle pieces – parts of a whole. The tougher part was coming up with an image to make the puzzle. In biology, all life begins with a beating heart. Without this piece of the puzzle, there would be no life – no ‘whole.’ And this is how I formulated my picture!”

Artwork by Samantha Pinto ’13.

Natalia Wilkins ‘12:

“The inspiration for my art work come from nature and how humans are just one part of a bigger picture. It is not often thought of how reliant living beings are on the small seemingly insignificant mechanisms that run the world. One small thing combines to create something larger and more impressive. The artwork shows that there is interconnectivity between every aspect of life. Without cells there cannot be life, without life there cannot be plants, without plants there wouldn’t be food and without food there would be no wonders of the world.  Everything people tend to take for granted or forget about is crucial to their survival and prosperity.  My artwork hopes to remind the viewers of this complex web that sustains us.”

Artwork by Natalia Wilkins ’12.


Eukaryon is published by students at Lake Forest College, who are solely responsible for its content. The views expressed in Eukaryon do not necessarily reflect those of the College.

Articles published within Eukaryon should not be cited in bibliographies. Material contained herein should be treated as personal communication and should be cited as such only with the consent of the author.