By Carl Zimmer | June 30, 2008 6:38 am

Vincent, “a fledgling mathematician,” writes:

This tattoo is of a microscope. 90% of the time when I show it to people they say ‘Oh! a telescope!’ I generally don’t correct them, I just get a little uncomfortable and put my shirt back on. Most of the images are copies of SEMs, the background figures include, a fish parasite, anthrax, a scoop of iced cream that has fallen off the cone, flea eggs, bone marrow, and a virus attacking a sun dried tomato! yum!

Click here to go to the full Science Tattoo Emporium.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Science Tattoo Emporium
MORE ABOUT: biology tattoos

Comments (10)

  1. aparajita sarma

    It is the most colorful tattoo that I have ever seen. How come anybody can call it a telescope?
    come out to a more educated world Vincent, where atleast 10 pecent will identify it wrong

  2. Karl Jones

    Extraordinarily beautiful tattoo. Awesome!

    I posted the image, with link and write-up, to the Tower of Babel blog:

    Thanks for publishing the Science Tattoo Emporium, I enjoy it immensely.

    Karl Jones

  3. The girl with the HIV phylogeny tattoo

    I am so happy to see that phage!

    For many years I thought about getting a T4 but never came up with a design I liked. I’m glad to see the virions getting their proper due elsewhere.

  4. Megan

    holy crap! that is dedication.

  5. Diego

    Great tattoo, one of the most original I’ve seen, who did it?

  6. Holy crap indeed . Reminds of the cover of an old paper back of Ray Bradbury sci fi short storys “The Illustrated Man” .
    I worked for ten years in the ever teasing world of mariculture, trying to create a successful hatchery on a tidal river on Long Island Sound – the peaceful part of my work day was working with a microscope on the six or seven single cell algol cultures we grew and checking on the viability of Mercenaria mercenaria fertilized eggs & doing mortality counts of viligers.
    I still have my early 1980s Bausch & Lomb – given the brass fittings, what is its age of your scope? Seeing your tattoo brought back fond memories of looking deep into inner space.

  7. Theda

    Here is a story about that telescope/microscope confusion. I made a “Robin the Boy Wonder” costume for my daughter when she was about six. It was authentic and very cool. We went out trick-or-treating. Every grown-up who opened the door said excitedly, “Oh, Batman!” The human brain is a funny instrument.

  8. Heath

    Why is there a phage injecting its genome into a red blood cell?

  9. Scott

    I would definitely love to know who the artist was. Nice work.

  10. this tattoo was done by Carlos Ransom at BDC tattoo in Lawrence, kansas.
    his website is here:


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The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.


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