Shi-Hsia Hwa writes,
I’m a virologist in a biotech company in Singapore. Here’s my story: I’ve been interested in infectious diseases since I was a kid, because my father almost died of TB when he was an infant. I must have been the only kid who looked forward to mass vaccination days in school. For a field trip to the Philippines after my bachelor’s and my first job shortly thereafter, I had to be immunized against a lot of other things that the average person doesn’t.
The choice of motif was inspired by a verse from the Biblical book of Revelation (a k a Apocalypse): “On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.” The “tree of life” motif in Western folk art is a tree bearing various different fruits on its branches.
I was stupid and didn’t check the stencil after the tattooist smudged one part, which is why there are two “PV”s; one should have been “HAV” for Hepatitis A. Like everybody else in this part of the world, I’ve had the BCG but will not add a “TB” fruit until a truly effective tuberculosis vaccine is invented.
As I announced last month, I’m turning the Science Tattoo Emporium into a book called Science Ink. The ultimate purpose of the book, like the Emporium, will be to illustrate the passion that science can inspire. To that end, I also plan to donate a portion of the proceeds from the book to DonorsChoose, a great organization that funds science projects in the classroom.
In just a few weeks, I’ve been inundated with lots of book-ready images–not just bigger versions of the ones I’ve put on the blog, but many new ones as well. I originally set a deadline of October 1 (tomorrow), so that I and my designers could put the book together in time for its fall 2011 publication date. A day before the deadline, we’ve got many more images than we set as our target number, which is gratifying. But we keep getting last-minute emails from people like Shi-Hsia Hwa with more ink to offer. Who are we to turn our noses to this stuff?