Janet has challenged all of us to a nerd-off. I’d love to participate, but before I can I’m going to need to figure out if I’m qualified. It’s not easy. Identifying nerds and geeks isn’t something that you can do just based on looks, or a superficial knowledge of habits and personality. Determining whether one is a nerd is a complex procedure, requiring the analysis of a large number of interacting variables. To aid in the self-identification of nerds, I’ve devised the following checklist:
You might be a science nerd if…
- The ratio of journals to magazines on your coffee table and/or in your bathroom is greater than one
- attempting to convert that ratio to a proportion would result in a divide by zero error
- you just debated whether something is a magazine or a journal.
- you get upset at the Mythbusters because they never give the p-value
- you know what a p-value is
- you are more likely to associate the word “significant” with “result” or “digits” than “other”
- you are more likely to associate the word “bench” with “lab” than “park”
- you associate “beaker” with both the glassware and the Muppet
- you know who Beaker worked for
- the first person you think of when you hear “Huxley” is one of the scientists, not the author
- you know which Huxley is which
- you are more likely to wear a lab coat than a dress coat.
- you have problems deciding which t-shirt to wear to work today
- more than one of the t-shirts has scientific information on it.
- you just wondered whether a sweatshirt counts for the last question
- you can instantly recognize the portrait of at least one pre-20th Century scientist from your field
- you have a portrait of a pre-20th Century scientist on your wall or a shirt
- when presented with “Wagner” and “Wegener,” you immediately know which is the opera dude and which was the continental drift guy.
- you know what was wrong with the continental drift model
- you know what a Newton measures
- you have ever used parafilm at home
- you think of culture as something in a petri dish
- it takes you a while to figure out what “model” and “swimsuit” have to do with each other
- you instantly associate the word “expression” with “gene”
- you understood all or almost all of these questions
If you answered “yes” to more than a third of those questions, you are certainly a science nerd. If that is the case, feel free to participate freely in Janet’s nerdfest.