Sunday, August 26, 2012

Shortly before the scrum

I wondered if I had been missing something interesting about the scientists I spent so much time with, or if I was just mistaking two tattoos for a trend. So I posted the question on my blog at Discover Magazine, The Loom. I immediately received a comment from a scientist who said that he knew an old geneticist with a DNA tattoo as well. Then a physicist wrote in. "A former student got a tattoo of a cartoon atom on the back of one of his legs," he recalled. "He told me that the first day after he got it, he went to rugby practice, and was showing it to someone when one of the seniors on the team (also a physics major) walked by. The senior looked at it, said 'Oh, please. The Bohr model?' and walked off."

That's from Carl Zimmer's column in the Guardian, which he pointed to in response to a tweeted question:

Here are two of the tats (slides 8 and 9) from the gallery accompanying the column. (There's a whole book of these!)

'I'm an evolutionary biologist who investigates the evolution of sperm form, sperm-female interactions and sperm competition. So... yeah, it's pretty much about sperm,' says Scott Pitnick, an associate professor at Syracuse University.

The tattoo adorning Paula Zelanko, a chemist at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, represents a machine called an isotope ratio mass spectrometer.

Ed. note: I have added periods to the ends of the quoted captions, because obviously the Grauniad's style guide is broken yeah, I'm like that.

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