In Which Science And Body Art Intersect: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed



Awesome geek tatttoo.

If you’re a frequent visitor to this site, you know we love nerds.  Science nerds, math nerds, computer nerds – all variety of thoughtful humans committed to the study of our world.

If you’re a frequent visitor to this site, you will also know we love freaks, geeks, outliers, imaginators and misfits of all descriptions.

The freaks in society are often denoted by their visible difference to the norm – wearing their individuality proudly for all to see in unique clothing and hairstyle choices and in many cases, the tattoos with which they adorn their bodies.

Well, what happens when two of our favourite kinds of individuals – the science obsessed and the visually obsessed, intersect?

Science inspired tattoos!

Awesome science writer Carl Zimmer [Discover, NY Times, National Geographic, etc.] stumbled upon this phenomenon when he saw a scientist friend at a pool party with a shoulder tattoo of a DNA strand.  Zimmer complimented his friend on the tattoo [as his friend is a neuroscientist, it made perfect sense for him to have a DNA strand tattoo], upon which his friend explained that the DNA strand actually represented his wife – the strand spelled out her initials in its sequence.  A personal, thoughtful and perfectly fitting tattoo for a geek to have.  Zimmer then posted a blog article about science tattoos, asking if other science obsessed had inked themselves.  The response was so overwhelming that Zimmer created a Flickr site for the images [it has since been taken down]. Zimmer found that the stories behind the images were as impressive as the tattoos themselves, and so he created a gorgeous and informative art book Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.


DNA strand tattoo spelling out the initials “EEE”. From the Guardian.


The book is an amazing compendium of visually stunning and intellectually stimulating tattoos and the stories behind them.  Check it out and perhaps you’ll become inspired to have your own science inspired tattoo. :)

images-7 (1)

Tattoo of Darwin’s Finches. From Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.


Side Bar: [If we had known about science tattoos when we were in school, we may have had the foresight to have an important, but difficult to memorize, equation inked on us.  Could have come in handy during pop quizzes…]

Unknown-1 (1) images-8 (1)

In this clip, Carl Zimmer discusses the naissance of his beautiful book Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed with PBS Newshour:


You can order a copy of Science Ink from Amazon: