Innovative Forms of Science Communication

Picture it! The Potential of Halophytes in Bioenergy Production

The AGYA Science Jinn sets out to explain scientific revelations to young and forever young readers. His first mission is pictured in the graphic novel 'The Rise of the Incredible Salty Salicornia Power Plant' about the next botanic superhero of our times – the powerful Halophyte.

Halophyte plants are able to survive and flourish in environments with high salinity levels. They grow in many regions of the Arab World and Germany, but they are rarely utilized. AGYA members Ahmed Debez, Carsten Montzka, Skander Elleuche, and Jan Friesen investigated on an interdisciplinary level, how halophytes could play a role in the field of sustainable energy production in their paper 'Facing the challenge of sustainable bioenergy production: Could halophytes be part of the solution?'. Now, they have turned their scientific paper into a science comic.

’With the comic, we want to make our research results available to a broad audience, thereby making a complex topic accessible in an informative and vivid way,’ explains initiator of the 1st AGYA Science Comic, Jan Friesen. Together with his AGYA colleague Skander Elleuche, he developed the figure of the so called Science Jinn, an ancient, magical being. ‘The Science Jinn is there to explain one's own subject and expertise to someone who is not specialized in it or who comes from a different research discipline’, says Friesen.

The 1st AGYA Science Comic was launched on 26 January 2018.  The event reached an international audience of scholars, artists, communication experts as well as representatives of Arab embassies.

Programm 'Picture it! The Potential of Halophytes in Bioenergy Production'

17h00 Welcome Address
Dr. Henda Mahmoudi, International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), Dubai, member of the AGYA Steering Committee

17h15 Keynotes
Halophytes in Classical Arabic Botany
Prof. Dr. Thomas Bauer, Arabic and Islamic Studies, University of Münster

The Challenges and Opportunities of Launching a Science Comic Series in the Arab World: Experiences from Egypt
Ashraf Amin, Head of the Science & Health Department, Al-Ahram Newspaper, Cairo

Picturing the Observer: Framing Telescopes and Microscopes in 19th Century Cartoons and Early Comics
Dr. Christian A. Bachmann, literary scholar and publisher, Berlin

18h30 The Making-of: From Scientific Paper to Science Comic
Dr. Jan Friesen, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Department Catchment Hydrology, Leipzig, AGYA Co-President

19h00 Meet and Match Dinner
Buffet with Salicornia-treats & light refreshments

Moderator of the event:
Anna Gabai, comic scholar, curator, author and educationist, Berlin

Members in Charge

Ahmed Debez

Laboratoire des Plantes Extrêmophiles, Centre de Biotechnologie de Borj Cedria (CBBC)

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Skander Elleuche


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Jan Friesen

Environmental Studies
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Department Catchment Hydrology

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Carsten Montzka

Computer Sciences, Environmental Studies
Research Center Jülich Institute of Bio- & Geosphere: Agrosphere (IBG 3)

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AGYA Salicornuts

The AGYA Salicornuts are nuts or seeds caramelized with muscovado sugar and glasswort. Download the recipe for the AGYA Salicornuts invented by chef Manuel Kuske here.

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AGYA Science Comic Vol. 1

Find the digital version of „The Rise of the Incredible Salty Salicornia Power Plant“ here. If you would like to order a copy for free please write to

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