Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

How Nerdy Are You?

I am nerdier than 98% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!I displayed this quiz result on my original blog for quite a long time, until I decided it was having a negative impact on my social life, whereupon, I removed it. However, because I no longer have a social life, not any sort of life whatsoever, I realize it probably wouldn’t hurt to put this quiz result back, especially because I can ask all of you to tell me how nerdy you are!

Did you know the identities of the two men whose pictures were shown in the quiz? Why do you suppose they didn’t show a picture of Darwin and ask you to identify him, instead? I guess it is because he is probably more recognizable than the Queen of England, so it would be too easy.

How many misspelled words did you find?* Which science (and medical and math) magazines do you subscribe to? And seriously, you must tell me; do you take lecture notes in more than one ink color?

* Beryllium nearly drove me to distraction.



  1. #1 Caio de Gaia
    July 30, 2006

    Bow to me (99%):

    “All hail the monstrous nerd. You are by far the SUPREME NERD GOD!!!”

    The pictures were easy. Who wouldn’t know those guys?

  2. #2 Rob Knop
    July 30, 2006

    I’m only 91% nerdy. I suck.

    The second guy pictured was Newton, wasn’t he? Who was the first guy? I ruled it down to two, and guessed.

    I don’t subscribe to many magazines. My University has all the journal subscriptions I need, and the only one I get personally as “Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.” I do get a couple of popular magazines — “Sky & Telescope” being the most nerdy. (Would “Smithsonian” count? That’s not really science/medical.)

    I though they were all real programming languages. But I voted for assembly, because perhaps you could argue that that is just a “direct” translation of machine code. But in what was does it not make it a programming language?

    I only take notes in one color, becuase I generally don’t want to have to mess around with keeping track of multiple pens. However, my preferred way to take notes is on my laptop.

    I don’t have any cracked software on my computer because I use all free software. Then again, I probably could have voted “yes” on that question on a technicality. I have watched DVDs on my Linux laptop, which according to the MPAA and the copyright nuts in the federal government makes me a pirate and software cracker. (Well, if not that, then the act of downloading the free software that let me watch the DVDs makes me a criminal under the DMCA.)


  3. #3 Caio de Gaia
    July 30, 2006

    Oh, by the way, I subscribe 6 journals, and I used more than one color for taking notes (4 in fact).

  4. #4 Jason
    July 30, 2006

    I totally know who those guys are, and I came out to be 92% nerd. I think I know where the nerdness fell, but still: pretty nerdy.

  5. #5 Dendroica
    July 31, 2006

    97% nerdy. I think I lost points for using Windows.

  6. #6 Bob O'H
    July 31, 2006

    I don’t subscribe to many magazines. My University has all the journal subscriptions I need,…

    I think we’ve found a serious deficiency in the quiz.

    Does your university get AIR? That’s the only magazine I have to subscribe to. Otherwise, the Finnish taxpayer generously pays for my subscriptions.

    Bob (only 97%. Damn, I’ll have to start building my own computers)

  7. #7 gengar
    July 31, 2006

    And I was starting to think 77% was a little too nerdy for my taste… I see I had nothing to fear. That said, I suspect not having a GPA was good for making it look like I have a life.

    I was fairly sure the first picture was Maxwell.

  8. #8 The Ridger
    July 31, 2006

    68% … about what I expected. Some of the questions didn’t give me a good answer – Friday night? SciFi Channel – especially when Dr Who is on!

  9. #9 Tabor
    July 31, 2006

    59% dear. You should always have blog friends that are slightly less than half nerdy to keep you in balance.

  10. #10 Michael Wells
    July 31, 2006

    7% – “Definitely not nerdy, you are probably cool.”

    So inaccurate. I object strongly to the narrow definition of nerdiness in use on this quiz. They mean, basically, science/tech nerds, which is like when Christians use “religious” to mean “Christian.” I’m a books/arts nerd.

  11. #11 Craig Pennington
    July 31, 2006

    98%, but I thought I’d score lower. Maybe it’s my fondness for RPN calculators.

  12. #12 Andy Wi
    July 31, 2006

    Some of the sets of answers had more than one good choice. (Friday nights vary, for example.) The strange thing is, when I chose what I thought were the nerdier alternatives I got 97%, but when I chose what I thought were the less nerdy choices, I got 99%. (And I was sure I would lose some for choosing Mac/Safari, too.)

  13. #13 Greco
    July 31, 2006

    I got 92%: Supreme Nerd. Apply for a professorship at MIT now!!!

    Sure, if they will take me if with my less-than-impressive grades after I slacked off at college.

    Shame on all of you who didn’t know who the first guy was!

  14. #14 Alon Levy
    July 31, 2006

    I got 77%, Mid-Rank Nerd. It’ll improve later on, as I start subscribing to mathematical journals, and increase the highest level of math I’ve taken from Abstract Algebra/Real Analysis to Graduate Disseration.

    I should add that I resent the implication that nerds use calculators. Real nerds use professional software like Mathematica (I have Maple on the other computer)… There’s only so much you can do with a TI graphing calculator’s tiny display.

  15. #15 Jerry D. Harris
    August 1, 2006

    Wow, only 74…guess I’m not a TRUE scientist. 8-P But yeah, I did/do take notes in multiple colors — as an undergrad and grad student, those 4-color pens were absolutely critical to my note-taking system: lecture notes began in black (blue for lab notes when in the same spiral); any comments that added on to something already written (e.g., prof refers back to something already said or draws something new on a figure) were in red, then green, then blue (or black for lab notes), with (of course!) lots of arrows as needed. This way, I always knew in which order of discussion/logic things progressed. This was especially helpful in classes like statistics where I could list discussions of different variables, etc. together. The only class this didn’t work for was microeconomics, for which I’m not certain a 64-color box of crayons would have been enough colors for a prof who insisted on drawing zillions of lines on graphs to represent all sorts of different conditions and outcomes. I note that they didn’t ask if people still have their old class notes — surely that counts for something!

  16. #16 Phila
    September 9, 2006

    I got a 67. I suck.

    I knew the pictures and elements, but I think having a social life and a clean bedroom did me in…

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