Graduate student illustrates chemistry book for children

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Nako Nakatsuka, a graduate student in the groups of Professors Anne Andrews and Paul Weiss, has illustrated a children’s chemistry book.

Nako Book IllustrationThe book is titled A is for Atom: ABCs for Aspiring Chemists, and was written by Heidi McMahon, a former member of the Weiss group who is now teaching at College of the Canyons, where she is also a department chair, and her husband John McMahon.

Nakatsuka, a dissertation year fellow, received a competitive travel award earlier this year for her presentation at the “Brain in Flux: Genetic, Physiological, and Therapeutic Perspectives on Transporters in the Nervous System” meeting in France.  She also starred in a video produced by BuzzFeed for Pfizer, “Kids Teach Science.” More information about her activities can be found here. Pictured at right is Nakatsuka’s illustration from the cover of the book.

The children’s book by the McMahons and Nakatsuka is available via, and is already getting excellent reviews. McMahon said, “I was so excited about this project because it gave us the opportunity to make chemistry fun and accessible to kids of all ages.” Nakatsuka added, “This was the perfect way to combine my two passions – art and chemistry.”

The book introduces children to both the alphabet and scientific concepts via rhymed text and Nakatsuka’s illustrations of a dog named Dr. Linus Pawling.

Written by Laura Strom, UCLA Department of Chemistry and BIochemistry.