Science is Mostly About Staring

Looking for a generic image of a scientist at work is like stepping into fantasy land. Stock images show the stereotype, which is a white person in a lab coat starring at something, most often a test tube containing blue liquid. Scientists on Twitter are having a laugh poking fun at not only the stereotype, but the inaccuracies within the unlikely scenes.  

The whole thing started when Nicole Paulk, a biochemistry and biophysics professor at the University of California, San Francisco, was working on a presentation. “I was trying to find stock images that aren’t too stuffy and more realistic, that don’t show us with tweed jackets and elbow patches,” she says.

Instead, she found a scientist peering deeply at a chunk of dry ice. “No one on the planet, even a dry ice scientist, would ever do this,” she says — so she tweeted it. Turns out, there are a lot more photos where this came from. So science blogger and former chemist Yvette d’Entremont came up with the hashtag, #BadStockPhotosOfMyJob.

Check out the hashtag #BadStockPhotosOfMyJob. So far, it is still mostly scientists, but other people are contributing examples from their professions, too. -via Metafilter


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I am old enough to remember a day when color changes and contrasts were the heart and soul of chemistry and biochemistry. We also did quite a bit of staring, looking for precipitates and slight color variations. Indeed, my pool chemistry test kit still uses such things.

As for labeling? Bottles, yes. Flasks, frequently. Test tubes, rarely.
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