About half a year ago the wonderful Creative Reactions team got in touch to see if I fancied creating some artwork based on scientific research, as part of the upcoming Pint of Science Festival, and of course my answer was a resounding YES. I am a typical ‘right brained’ individual however I love science and all it’s amazing discoveries, especially anything to do with the brain! There is especially a beauty in marrying together those 2 hemispheres, right and left, to produce a little bit of magic, and that’s just what myself and Dr. Martha Skinner did.  

Taste, Papillae and the Brain.jpg

A research fellow in Sensory Science, Dr. Skinners research looks into taste; how we perceive it, how strongly others can experience it compared to others, and also how it can be affected with heat. 

Why do our food worlds differ? Have you ever wondered why others do not share your love of a favourite food? We know food preferences vary greatly across the population. Could you be a Supertaster? Or maybe you’re part of the 20-50% of the population who are termed ‘thermal tasters’ as they perceive phantom taste sensations when their tongue is warmed or cooled, in absence of any true chemical tastes in the mouth.

— Dr. Martha Skinner

Martha’s talk, which was held at the Angel microbrewery, discussed novel approaches used to understand individual variation in taste perception using sensory science and neuroimaging techniques to measure both perceived and brain response to taste. 

I was quite sad I didn’t get to see Martha’s talk, or others that were held across the city (and the world!) but I was really pleased with the piece I created for her that represented her research.

And who knew the brain and tongue papillae could be so beautiful to draw?  


Pint of Science is an annual science festival that takes place every May and brings researchers to your local pub to present their scientific discoveries.

Creative Reactions is a collaboration between artists and Pint of Science scientists to produce artworks related to the science presented during Pint of Science. It was started in Cambridge during Pint of Science 2015 and proved a major success, and subsequently in 2016  and 2017.

In 2018 Creative Reactions events were held in Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Kent, Manchester, Nottingham Portsmouth and York. Each event has a different format – some following a traditional Pint of Science evening and others full art exhibitions with the artwork for sale.