The Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists

The Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists is, as the name implies, a club for scientists who have luxuriant flowing hair. LFHCfS, as it is known unpronouncably to its members and their admirers, was founded in early 2001. Anyone can join, provided only that she or he is a scientist and has luxuriant flowing hair, and is proud of it.

The “proud” part is important. The club is not for the morbidly shy, people-averse scientist of stereotype and legend. Every LFHCfS member’s hair is on display on the Improbable Research web site.

LFHCfS was founded by admirers of the famously curly mane of psychologist Steven Pinker. Dr Pinker, then a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and now head of the psychology department at Harvard University, became the first member. He proudly lists the club on his academic web page.

The ranks now include mathematicians, astronomers, linguistics professors, organic chemists, computer researchers, immunologists, geneticists, physicists, neuroscientists, three sisters, a married couple, and other men and women of science, of both sexes, all hair colors, and many hair styles.

Dr. Piero Paravidino, 2002/3 LFHCfS Man of the Year, is a research chemist at Isagro Ricerca Srl, Novara, Italy, and a guitarist in the heavy metal band Mesmerize.

There is even a real rock star.* Italian chemist Dr Piero Paravidino plays guitar for the heavy metal band Mesmerize, and co-authored the paper “Synthesis of Medium-Sized N-Heterocycles Through RCM of Fischer-Type Hydrazino Carbene Complexes.”

Here are photographs of a few of the members. To see more, visit the club’s web site.

Ilana Harrus, 2002/3 LFHCfS Woman of the Year, is an X-ray astronomer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland.

Brent H. Breithaupt, LFHCfS, is Director of the Geology Museum, University of Wyoming in Laramie.

rc="" alt="" width="180" height="341" />Tom Vogl, LFHCfS, (above) is Research Professor Emeritus at Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, George Mason University.

Stephanie Dloniak, LFHCfS, (above) is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Zoology at Michigan State University, in East Lansing.

The three Bobrow sisters, all members of LFHCfS, collectively have more than 7 feet of hair. Johanna Bobrow, LFHCfS, is a staff scientist at Bio Defense Systems, and a former (undergraduate) student of club member Steven Pinker. Laurel Bobrow, LFHCfS, is a Brain & Cognitive Sciences student at MIT, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Elisabeth Bobrow, LFHCfS, is an Electrical Engineering student at the University of Massachusetts, in Amherst.

Diane DiMassa, LFHCfS, is a professor of Marine Engineering at Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

More on the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists

Earliest members (joined prior to 2006): gallery 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Men and Women of the Year
Historical Honorary Members
Clubs history
Public admiration

*[Ed. note: Dr. Paravidino is not the only rock star member. Brian May, guitarist for Queen, joined the club even before he was awarded his PhD in astrophysics in 2008. He is listed in gallery #1.]


The article above is from the January-February 2004 issue of the Annals of Improbable Research. You can download or purchase back issues of the magazine, or subscribe to receive future issues. Or get a subscription for someone as a gift!

Visit their website for more research that makes people LAUGH and then THINK.

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So I always knew that high academic achievement is not the equivalent of seeing through the frailty of the egotistically-gratifying prejudicial club mentality that aflicts all of humanity. No doubt some of these people are sociologists who examine the affects of in-group/out-group behaviors. Which reminds me of the central problem I have with soft sciences, they tend to look at how people are, and give justification, instead of look at how people could be and avoid justifying any behavior. "Well, I'm evolutionarily predetermined to conform to some kind of a group that highlights an aspect of myself which I enjoy taking pride in. Therefor, let's start a club for 'people who enjoy taking pride in some aspect of themselves and sharing that pride with others of a similar attitude and trait'. It'll be cool, because we are evolutionarily determined to be that way." "I'm not that way myself. What does evolution say about that?" "You are a dying breed!"

My breed is human, I belong to a club called "Animal" and "living organism". Though, they are merely for descriptive purposes, sometimes I'll ascent to white, male and "30 something" for descriptive purposes. But none of these are what I'd call a club I subscribe to. They are just descriptive categories, because as Kant implies we can't do much without them. If my hair grew long, because I wasn't bald, and didn't cut it, is that something I've personally accomplished worthy of pride? Or am I just taking pride in whatever I can, whether or not I had any control in determining the matter. Ought I to be proud to be a Animal-Human-Male-30-something-caucasian-high-IQ-long-haired-ectomorphic-philosophical-type? Who's with me? We can have all kinds of egotistically gratifying praise-fests, we all feel good like we just took part in a circle-jerk. Sorry, sorry, I'll stop.
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All I see when I look at these photos is a bunch of people who spend so much time in the lab that they neglect to get their hair cut. Judging from most of the people I work with (I'm also a scientist), I'll bet they all put about as much effort into their clothing too.
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