20 Telling Signs You’re a Scientist

According to Bill Nye, “Science rules!” – and I think most of us would agree. We are learning more and more about the world around us each day, as well as about ourselves. But is there a difference between a Science Fan, and a Scientist? Everyone has their own parameters, but below are some that are likely only found with the latter breed.

You Know You’re a Scientist If…

1. You are a walking billboard because most of your wardrobe consists of free t-shirts from vendors.

2. Along those lines, because of your wonky lab hours, most of your shopping actually happens at vendor booths at trade shows and conferences.
i.e. “This tote bag is so ME.”

3. Even in your own home, parts of a whole are referred to as “aliquots”.
i.e. “Hey hon, can you pour me out an aliquot of olive oil, please?”

4. You don’t actually wear a lab coat unless it’s absolutely necessary, since the majority of your clothes have already been stained or ruined from your experiments (thank goodness for #1).

5. Your brain is so full of science that you have no more space for important dates, times, and names.
i.e. “And you are….” “I’m your neighbor. Next door. You’ve been at my house a dozen times?” “Right….say, would you like to hear about the wonders of the immune system?”

6. Most things you think are really basic to any one with a science education are actually quite complicated.
i.e. “What do you mean you don’t know what ATP stands for?”

7. You always point out scientific inaccuracies in movies and TV shows (think: “Outbreak”, “House”, “Grey’s Anatomy”, etc.).
i.e. “There’s absolutely no way that would or could happen in real life! This is outrageous! This is how it would really go down…”

8. If you carry on a one-hour debate over the expected results of a test that actually takes five minutes to run.

9. If your 3-year old son asks why fire is hot and you proceed to go over the principles of thermodynamics and how combustion occurs.

10. You know that “42” is not the answer to life; “p < 0.05” is.

11. You wear closed-toed shoes because duh.

12. You cringe at the headline with “science says…”

13. You can’t stand an argument based on only one example
i.e. “C’mon people! N of at least 3!!!”

14. You’ve wondered why you can’t drink distilled water in the lab – shouldn’t it be clean?

15. You give the lab equipment motivational pep talks
i.e.“ I swear I will throw you out the window if you give me any kind of trouble today. I am NOT in the mood.”

16. You’ve used dry ice to cool beer down.

17. You have developed protocols with incubations to work around your life.
i.e. “72h incubation, undisturbed…I didn’t want to come in over the weekend.”

18. No matter what the timings in the experiment protocol there is always time for lunch in the middle

19. You can no longer spell normal words but have no trouble with spelling things like immunohistochemistry or deoxyribonucleic acid.

20. If you happen to grab a handful of Eppendorf tubes and it turns out to be the exact number you needed, you feel like magic.
Scientists are passionate, driven, and purposeful. We like asking questions and finding the answers, even if it doesn’t always work out. We like knowledge, and like to spread that knowledge around. We are who we are, but man, we are some goofy creatures….in the best way possible.

What’s your favorite “reason” you know you’re a scientist? Comment below.

Image credit: Craig Anderson


  1. Rebecca Gomez on September 7, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    You wear close-toed shoes because duh 🙂

  2. Xenobio on September 5, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    I could argue with a lot of these but since it’s not meant to be serious I’ll keep it to myself.

    Just a comment on #14 one of my mates during my Master’s said we should make coffee with the ultrapure water. My other labmate and I said it was a bad idea but based mostly on intuition, we couldn’t find a solid argument to stop him. So he did it and it was so bad even he wouldn’t finish it!

  3. Mary Odom on September 5, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    These are spot on. One more effect of being a scientist though: it bugs me when people write i.e. when they mean e.g. (or write etc. when they mean et al.)

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