Where are all my coloured liquids?! Unfortunately, science is usually colourless and very rarely calls for dramatic staring. Also, I usually like to label my tubes... #BadStockPhotosOfMyJob pic.twitter.com/aofNoQk9si— Michelle Clark (@biomedmichelle) May 4, 2018
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.