Geek tattoos

Jul 12 2010 Published by under Uncategorized

For a long while I have been thinking about getting another tattoo. I've been waffling on what to get for the past two years or so, based mainly on the fact that I have juggled three ideas without one completely grabbing me. It took me quite a while to decision on my first one, but I ended up happy with it, probably because I really thought it through. If something doesn't grab me I'm not going to get it stuck into my skin.

But based on some recent thinking, I may have a new idea. I am strongly considering one of Ernst Haeckel's radiolarian drawings from his book on the group.

This is appealing to me, not only because Haeckel was an incredible artist and an important player in the history of biology*, but because radiolarians are a really interesting group that very little is known about. Exploring the odd-balls of the world has always had more draw for me than studying the effect of one amino acid in one protein in humice. They also actively engage in dozens of different symbioses, which I find particularly interesting.

This brings up some questions for my readers, however, because I'm curious. Perhaps I'll get inspired from someone else's vison for themselves.

1) If you were forced to get a tattoo tomorrow, what would it be and why?

2) Where would you get it and why?

*Yes, I also know that he was a proponent of scientific racism and had some political views that would raise eyebrows in today's context. However, the good he did in promoting science has lasted far longer than his pseudo-Lamarckian ideas of human evolution.

23 responses so far

  • The Eternal Postdoc says:

    Hey there... I happen to have two tattoos, and I got them 7 years apart for exactly the reasons you stated, I wasn't sure what exactly I wanted, or where I wanted to put it.My first was a ying yang on my back, because I have always had struggles finding balance in my life (typical scientist)The second I got after my first year of attempting and succeeding to compete in triathlons. My motivation was to get back to being active after being so inactive writing my PhD thesis. The tattoo is kanji characters for swim, bike and run on my right foot. It means that when I set my mind to it, I can do anything, and it also serves as motivation to get up off my butt when I do not feel like being particularly active.

  • Prof-like Substance says:

    But what would you get tomorrow if you had to?

  • Dr Becca, PhD says:

    Those drawings are really beautiful! I totally approve, and I usually don't care for most tattoos. I did consider getting one after college, but couldn't think of anything I loved enough to put on me forever. If I HAD to get one tomorrow though, I'd get it on whatever body part is least likely to be saggy later on--maybe my neck, just back and down from the ear? That's a nice spot. Still though, I have no idea what I'd get; I feel like there's so little that hasn't already been done.

  • Prof-like Substance says:

    Dr. Becca - Neck tattoo. Bold :)GMP - Looks fine on my screen. The footnote is in small type, but the rest should be fine.

  • Genomic Repairman says:

    HIGH ROLA on my knuckles. Its so thug but think of the instant street cred.

  • tideliar says:

    If I had to get one tomorrow, I would get my latest one again (even though it fucking hurrrrrt). It is the Hindu goddess Kali down my right ribcage. You can see her here.She is one of six I have at various locations n my body. I don't usually explain my tattoos but basically she is a reminder that there is a destructive darkness inside me that needs to be kept in check.I wouldn't mind a nice TEM image of a Drosophila too. They were my PhD babies.

  • gnuma says:

    Mine is in the socially acceptable bicep zone, and is a unique image that a family member was drawing before passing away. I don't have plans on getting another anytime soon.

  • gnuma says:

    ps I would personally steer clear of plates 7 & 8, they look a little too phallic...but you knows, whateva.

  • Blogato says:

    I had a vision of black matter flowing around an orb that contained the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle. About two years later. I got the bands, sans the science but people still ask what they are flowing around. The location is definitely visible with a short sleeve shirt and through a white button up, not that it bothers me. My decision was to mark my body with my objects created within me and I want others to see. Also, tattoos hurt and are forever. Mine took 4.5 hours plus drawing time.I feel that you should decide want you want then think about it to make sure you want to keep it. The tattoo after the next will surround the second by a microscopic view of a sweet crystal in lots of shaded color but I am still thinking.Do you think you are prepared with the increase of sexual advances by students brought on by the ideal of young hipster tattooed professor will bring?

  • chall says:

    I'm a fan of the biohazard symbol... and it'd look good on the underarm... (Although, to be fair, I'd never put a tatto on the underarm since I can't cover that part up as much and I like to be able to cover my tattos up.)Other option would be a chain of growing bacteria, like Staph, or a double helix/DNA strand. Both of them I thought about before but decided that it might be just bit too geeky 😉 (still like the bacterial idea though, if it can be done so it is clear what it is).

  • Anonymous says:

    Blogato. Does that mean you might get a tattoo of Schrödinger's cat?I've always thought that a nautilus shell would make a good geek tattoo since I can't pull off a full facial moko.-antipodean

  • Alyssa says:

    I honestly don't know what I'd get if I had to get one tomorrow. I have four, and each one has taken me progressively longer to decide on. Two are science-y: one is a band around my ankle that has the symbols of the planets, and the most recent one is a comet on my foot (pictured here).For a location, probably on my other upper arm or something.

  • Dr.Girlfriend says:

    1) If you were forced to get a tattoo tomorrow, what would it be and why?I have a star bracelet design that sounds lame when I try to describe, but I carry a picture around with me just in case someone forces me to get a tattoo tomorrow :)2) Where would you get it and why?Left wrist or ankle.---I have a couple of others in mind that are derived from my own ancient-egyptian-inspired art- but they will take more time to think and play with before I would commit to having versions of them on my body. That, and I would have to find an artist I trust to do a good job.

  • Eugenie says:

    1.) I would get a green sea turtle. I would it get it below my ankle on my right foot (because less likely to stretch and its visible when I wear sandals... which i practically live in). Why? I've had several very unique encounters with them (from hatchling on the beach, underwater, and laying eggs). Locking eye contact with a sea turtle underwater left quite an impression on me. sort of off-topic: i have a friend with a sweet shark tat on her foot and another friend has the earth split into 2 hemispheres on the inside of both ankles (western on the left, eastern on the right).

  • Gerty-Z says:

    I have also been thinking of getting a new tattoo--and I think I have decided but I don't want to jinx it. Like your radiolarians, I am thinking of an old cell bio staple that is also connected to one of my great mentors. Just thinking about it, I've gotten even more excited. I need to find me a good artist! Maybe a reward for submitting the next grant?

  • Natalie says:

    I have a file folder on my home computer with design inspirations, and they all seem to be either filigree graphics or nature-inspired pieces like feathers & vines. Since I have a tattoo placed symmetrically on the back of my spine, my new theoretical tattoo would continue along my scapula and over my shoulder. I like the idea of a delicate design being visible from the front when I'm wearing a tank top (ie not at work).Do you think you are prepared with the increase of sexual advances by students brought on by the ideal of young hipster tattooed professor will bring?Two words: Pleated. Pants.

  • Bashir says:

    I'm in a similar position. Though a lot about tattoo #1. When something finally grabbed me I went out and got it, haven't regretted it.If I had to get another I'd probably go with something math related, though not the typical pi/e type stuff. Maybe on the arm, though that would be very visible. The first one is on my back, so even I sometimes forget it's there.

  • Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    1) If you were forced to get a tattoo tomorrow, what would it be and why?My first instinct would be "another Celtic one", but that's too boring. So maybe some Egyptian hieroglyphics, or some West Coast First Nations art.2) Where would you get it and why?Vancouver, because I live there(sorry, couldn't resist. Real answer = somewhere that won't get fat. Ankle or foot, maybe - it would depend on the design and the size).The radiolarian drawings look great - but oh so intricate. What size are you thinking? You're going to need a really, really good artist!

  • Micro Dr. O says:

    I'm so scared of needles that I've never taken the leap. But if I did, I'd probably get something nature-related - maybe a sunflower or bluebonnet (although I've seen that one done very badly). And I'd probably opt for the ankle...

  • tideliar says:

    If I had to get another I'd probably go with something math related, though not the typical pi/e type stuff. Maybe on the arm, though that would be very visible.I'm super tempted to get the uncertainty principle, or original formulations of quantum mechanics done somewhere in a nice font. They are such beautiful equations...Fuck E=MC^2 though...that's the equivalent of the brotard celtic band on the bicep

  • Prof-like Substance says:

    You're going to need a really, really good artist! That's generally the idea 🙂 I would do my homework before getting another tattoo and make sure that I end up as happy with the new one as the previous.

  • irongrrl says:

    If I had to get one tomorrow, I think it would be the Cheshire Cat, because "we're all mad here" 🙂 That one has been floating around in my head for a while anyway, it just does not feel right yet. I would probably get it low on my shoulder. Cheshire Cat would probably be my least geeky tattoo, compared to the other three.

  • Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    On second thoughts, there'd be something quite special about having the number 42 tattooed on my arse...

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