S. Six Signs I’m a Scientist
Scientists are known for having quirky, anti-social behavior. Of course these are general stereotypes and certainly do not describe every scientist. However, I do think that stereotypes can have their roots in common behavior among a group of people.
I consider myself a high-functioning scientist. But I do have some traits that might pinpoint me as a scientist. For example:
1) I am super pale. I have the lab pallor that steals over people who spend too much time hunched over a lab bench and not enough time in the sun. Even though I have been out of the lab for almost a year, I have layers and layers of pale skin to work through before I achieve a healthy glow.
2) I won’t believe something the first time. Scientists are trained to repeat experiments again and again before they will believe the results. As a parent this translates into never learning my lesson. I will try to let my oldest set his own homework schedule multiple times before I admit it is a bad idea.
3) I like to aliquot things. In the lab, stock reagents are “aliquoted” (portioned out into multiple smaller portions) to prevent them from becoming contaminated. At home I buy in bulk and aliquot everything into usable portions, from chicken to crayons.
4) My jeans have a white line across the front. After a couple of years of working in the lab I realized that I am a lab bench leaner. I tend to lean the front of my body against the bench while I work. How did I figure this out? All my pants had a white stripe across the front, right where the bench rested while I worked. Can we say lab coat?
5) I am superstitious. Scientists are rational beings that believe in facts and proof. However I know a lot of scientists (including me) who are very particular about the reagents they use, the tissue culture hood they work in, the pieces of equipment they use, etc., even when they know deep down that it shouldn’t make a difference in the outcome of their experiment.
6) I dislike talking to people one-on-one, unless I am telling you about my research, and then I will never stop talking. I am ok with the casual smile and nod at strangers in the store. I am fine talking to good friends and family. But anything in between, especially situations that require lengthy social interaction such as parties or parent meetings, make me feel really awkward. I will go to great lengths to avoid talking to people. I don’t even like to talk to people on the phone. For take-out, I prefer restaurants that have on-line ordering.
If you ask me about herpes though, I will talk to you freely all night. That’s probably pretty awkward for you!