CLOSE
GeekyTattoos.com
GeekyTattoos.com

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.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
science
What Pop Culture Gets Wrong About Dissociative Identity Disorder
iStock
iStock

From the characters in Fight Club to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, popular culture is filled with "split" personalities. These dramatic figures might be entertaining, but they're rarely (if ever) scientifically accurate, SciShow Psych's Hank Green explains in the channel's latest video. Most representations contribute to a collective misunderstanding of dissociative identity disorder, or DID, which was once known as multiple personality disorder.

Experts often disagree about DID's diagnostic criteria, what causes it, and in some cases, whether it exists at all. Many, however, agree that people with DID don't have multiple figures living inside their heads, all clamoring to take over their body at a moment's notice. Those with DID do have fragmented personalities, which can cause lapses of memory, psychological distress, and impaired daily function, among other side effects.

Learn more about DID (and what the media gets wrong about mental illness) by watching the video below.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
History
Scientists Reveal Long-Hidden Text in Alexander Hamilton Letter
iStock
iStock

Age, deterioration, and water damage are just a few of the reasons historians can be short on information that was once readily available on paper. Sometimes, it’s simply a case of missing pages. Other times, researchers can see “lost” text right under their noses.

One example: a letter written by Alexander Hamilton to his future wife, Elizabeth Schuyler, on September 6, 1780. On the surface, it looked very much like a rant about a Revolutionary War skirmish in Camden, South Carolina. But Hamilton scholars were excited by the 14 lines of writing in the first paragraph that had been crossed out. If they could be read, they might reveal some new dimension to one of the better-known Founding Fathers.

Using the practice of multispectral imaging—sometimes called hyperspectral imaging—conservationists at the Library of Congress were recently able to shine a new light on what someone had attempted to scrub out. In multispectral imaging, different wavelengths of light are “bounced” off the paper to reveal (or hide) different ink pigments. By examining a document through these different wavelengths, investigators can tune in to faded or obscured handwriting and make it visible to the naked eye.

A hyperspectral image of Alexander Hamilton's handwriting
Hyperspectral imaging of Hamilton's handwriting, from being obscured (top) to isolated and revealed (bottom).
Library of Congress

The text revealed a more emotional and romantic side to Hamilton, who had used the lines to woo Elizabeth. Technicians uncovered most of what he had written, with words in brackets still obscured and inferred:

Do you know my sensations when I see the
sweet characters from your hand? Yes you do,
by comparing [them] with your [own]
for my Betsey [loves] me and is [acquainted]
with all the joys of fondness. [Would] you
[exchange] them my dear for any other worthy
blessings? Is there any thing you would put
in competition[,] with one glowing [kiss] of
[unreadable], anticipate the delights we [unreadable]
in the unrestrained intercourses of wedded love,
and bet your heart joins mine in [fervent]
[wishes] to heaven that [all obstacles] and [interruptions]
May [be] speedily [removed].

Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler married on December 14, 1780. So why did Hamilton try and hide such romantic words during or after their courtship? He probably didn’t. Historians believe that his son, John Church Hamilton, crossed them out before publishing the letter as a part of a book of his father’s correspondence. He may have considered the passage a little too sexy for mass consumption.

[h/t Library of Congress]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER