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Using Campbell in Scientific Storytelling

Credit: Tutatama/Alamy

Oxford PhD student, Josh Ettinger cites Joseph Campbell and his book, The Hero With a Thousand Faces, as powerful resources for storytelling within the sciences. In an article for, Ettinger states, “When scientists describe their research to audiences outside their specialism, they often avoid discussing personal trials and tribulations. Instead, they focus only on positive, published results. No one wants to look like a failure, even if such experiences can be immensely valuable. But hiding the hardships might cut out some of your best story material. Consider Joseph Campbell’s ‘hero’s journey’ motif, described in his seminal book The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949), which deeply inspired director George Lucas, television producer and writer Dan Harmon, and countless others. The hero’s journey — in which an individual embarks on a challenging, transformational experience — appears in myths and stories from cultures around the world, underscoring how audiences connect in profound ways with characters who struggle, learn and grow.”

To read more about Ettinger’s employment of Campbell and storytelling in science, click here.