11 Brilliant Scientist Tattoos

GeekyTattoos.com
GeekyTattoos.com

We’ve brought you literary tattoos, math tattoos and librarian tattoos, but now it’s time to take a look at the tattoos of scientists. From astronomers to biologists and from physicists to geographers, these tattooees do a great job at representing the wide array of scientific pursuits.

Special thanks to Carl Zimmer and his fantastic book Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed, which is where many of these great pieces came from.

1. Paleontology

Trevor has many geeky tattoos, including three directly related to his paleontologist position at the Page Museum, where scientists excavate, clean, study, and mount fossil samples found at the La Brea Tar Pits in LA. He has a frontal view of a Sabertooth Cat skull on display at his museum, the logo of the museum he works for (at top) and the logo of the of the Page Museum's parent museum The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Now that’s some paleontology pride!

2. Schrödinger’s Cat

Fergus is a medical physicist who works with Ionising radiation. He’s also particularly fascinated by the Philosophy of Physics, which is why he got this Schrödinger’s’ cat tattoo, which he believes “shows the concept of uncertainty extremely well.” As if a mere Schrödinger’s cat tattoo wasn’t cool enough on its own, notice that he also included a radiation warning symbol and that the box is, fittingly, one of the impossible variety, as designed by M.C. Escher.

3. Strebe Projection

Geographer Marina Islas has a map of the world on her back, which is very appropriate, given her profession. “It is a Strebe equal-area projection, polyconic," she says. "It took me a year to figure out which projection I wanted to live with for the rest of my life and I stumbled upon the Strebe projection. It’s very organic in shape and I appreciate that it is Afro-centric and not Euro- or Amer-centric.”

4. Equations

Adam Simpson works at the National Center for Computational Sciences and while Newton's second law of Motion and Einstein’s mass-energy equivalence might not directly relate to computers, they’re certainly some of the most famous scientific equations ever devised.

5. Neurons

Brazilian biologist Pato Gabriel got a network of neurons tattooed over his shoulder in order to represent the circuitry of the human brain.

6. Dopamine

Heather got the chemical compound of dopamine tattooed on her side after she started working in a behavioral neuroscience lab. If only getting a tattoo of dopamine actually helped feed it into your system, a whole lot of people would stop hitting the pharmacy and start hitting the tattoo shop.

7. Italian Wall Lizard

Russell Burke is a biologist at Hofstra University, where he studies, among other things, Italian Wall Lizards like the one he has tattooed here.

8. A Jellyfish

Dave Wolfenden is a lecturer at Reaseheath College in England, where he teaches about animal science. As a big fan of the jellyfish, it was only fitting he get a tattoo of the fascinating creature.

9. A Passionflower

While Sherrie Emerine studies invasive plants, she was inspired to get the vines of the passionflower tattooed on her leg because “the plant is really lovely and the flowers are botanically unique, and because it fulfills many of the requirements for ornamental plants, but has the benefits of native species.”

10. Halley's Comet

Kate Devitt is a memory researcher at Queensland University of Technology and her husband, Morgan Jaffit, is a game designer. The two have matching tattoos of Halley’s Comet based on the Bayeux Tapestry depiction of the comet just before the 1066 Norman Conquest.

11. A Spaceship

Bobby Magee, aka Flickr user Spacemanbobby, got this great tattoo of a spaceship traveling through the galaxy as his second tattoo. Fittingly, Bobby is an astronomer and ex-rocket scientist, although he is currently working on computer networks. In case you’re wondering, his first tattoo shows a twist in the fabric of time.

Now it’s your turn to share any great geeky ink you have with the world, whether you’re a scientist with tattoos or anyone with a science-related tattoo. Post a picture or a link to your picture in the comments.

Why Is Pee Yellow?

Chloe Effron
Chloe Effron

WHY? is our attempt to answer all the questions every little kid asks. Do you have a question? Send it to why@mentalfloss.com.

Your body is kind of like a house. You bring things into your body by eating, drinking, and breathing. But just like the things we bring home to real houses, we don’t need every part of what we take in. So there are leftovers, or garbage. And if you let garbage sit around in your house or your body for too long, it gets gross and can make you sick. Your body takes out the garbage by peeing and pooping. These two things are part of your body’s excretory system (ECKS-krih-tore-eee SISS-tem), which is just a fancy way of saying “trash removal.” If your body is healthy, when you look in the toilet you should see brown poop and yellow pee.

Clear, light yellow pee is a sign that your excretory system and the rest of your body are working right. If your pee, or urine (YER-inn), is not see-through, that might mean you are sick. Dark yellow urine usually means that you aren’t drinking enough water. On the other hand, really pale or colorless pee can mean you might be drinking too much water! 

Your blood is filtered through two small organs called kidneys (KID-knees). Remember the garbage we talked about earlier? The chemicals called toxins (TOCK-sins) are like garbage in your blood. Your kidneys act like a net, catching the toxins and other leftovers and turning them into pee.

One part of your blood is called hemoglobin (HEE-moh-gloh-bin). This is what makes your blood red. Hemoglobin goes through a lot of changes as it passes through your body. When it reaches your kidneys, it turns yellow thanks to a chemical called urobilin (yer-ah-BY-lin). Urobilin is kind of like food coloring. The more water you add, the lighter it will be. That's why, if you see dark yellow pee in the toilet, it's time to ask your mom or dad for a cup of water. 

To learn more about pee, check out this article from Kids Health. 

Why Do Grown-Ups Have Wrinkles?

Chloe Effron / iStock
Chloe Effron / iStock

WHY? is our attempt to answer all the questions every little kid asks. Do you have a question? Send it to why@mentalfloss.com.

Our skin is supposed to stretch. We do it every day when we squint in the sunlight, make a silly face, smile, laugh, pout, or furrow our eyebrows. Each time our skin stretches, tiny lines and grooves start to form below the surface. Over time, the outside skin gets thinner and dryer, and it falls deeper into those little grooves. As we get older, we also lose some of the stuff in our skin that helps it to stretch and then return to its normal place. 

First, let’s talk about our three layers of skin. The outside part is called the epidermis (eh-pih-DER-mis). That’s the part you can see. Under that is our dermis, where we have stretchy fibers called elastin that let our skin stretch and then go back to its normal position, just like an elastic hair band. The dermis layer also has collagen (KAHL-uh-jen), a protein that helps it stay sturdy and grow new skin cells. Under the dermis is the deep subcutaneous (sub-kyoo-TAY-nee-us) layer, which stores fat. As we get older, we start to lose collagen, elastin, fat, and oils made by our skin that keep it moisturized, or less dry.

There are lots of reasons. Our bodies make less of these things as we age, so our skin gets thinner, drier, and less stretchy. The Sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light also breaks down collagen and elastin fibers. This causes more lines and wrinkles. But wrinkles are just a part of life. One day, you’ll have them too. Take good care of your skin by wearing sunscreen and drinking plenty of water to help your skin stay moisturized.

For further reading, visit Kids Health.


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