Category: Science Tattoo Emporium

Radio: Friday 10 am PST (1 pm EST) on KQED

By Carl Zimmer | November 4, 2011 3:46 am

I’m in San Francisco for the Bay Area Science Festival. On Friday at 10 am PST, I’ll be appearing on Forum, a morning show on KQED. Listen here live!

Calling the #scienceink tribe in San Francisco and Los Angeles! I'm headed your way this week.

By Carl Zimmer | November 1, 2011 9:22 am

Today Science Ink is published! Amazon has already run out of copies to sell, but not to worry–the books are spitting out of printers as I blog this. Order your copy, and it will get to you soon. If you’re on the fence, check out this review from Nature (yes, that Nature, the venerable scientific journal): “Beautiful…packed with fascinating stories.” (It’s behind a paywall, alas…)

On Thursday, I’ll be heading off for the first of a bunch of events for the book. As part of the Bay Area Science Festival, I’ll be in San Francisco on Friday.

The first tattoo-themed stop will be Black & Blue Tattoo, on Friday from 7:15 to 8:15 pm. I’ll be showing images from the book and telling some of the stories behind them. If you’re a tattooed Bay Area scientist, please come and share your ink!

The second stop will be Booksmith, at 8:30 pm. It’s part of their Bookswap series.

(I’ll also be at a non-tattoo event as part the festival: Gut Check: The Hidden World of Microbes, on Friday at 12:30 at UC San Francisco. Details here.)

Then it’s on to Los Angeles, where I will be at Comikaze Expo, signing books on Saturday. I’ll post my precise coordinates on Twitter.

Lots more to come…


CATEGORIZED UNDER: Science Tattoo Emporium, Talks

#scienceink on Studio 360 this weekend

By Carl Zimmer | October 21, 2011 12:34 pm

We’re getting close to the publication of Science Ink (official date, November 1), and some very fun things are approaching. The wonderful National Public Radio show Studio 360, hosted by Kurt Anderson, decided to talk to some of the scientists featured in the book–about their science, about their tattoos, and about the nature of openness. It will be on their next episode, which starts airing around the country this weekend. (Here’s the segment page on their web site.)

And you can listen to it right here–


More announcements to come!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Science Tattoo Emporium, Talks

An Infective Arm #scienceink

By Carl Zimmer | October 14, 2011 2:32 pm

Nuria Gonzalez-Montalban, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Maryland, writes:

My name is Núria and I am a biologist working with prions. Since the structure of prions has not been described yet (at least completely), I would not want to tattoo a possibly-wrong prion. Instead, I chose a T4 virus since part of my undergrad and PhD were related to E.coli and T4 bacteriophages.

Given that bacteriophages are the most common living thing on Earth, it’s good that at least one person on Earth has it on his arm.

Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed will be published on November 1, 2011. (“Breathtaking”Publisher’s Weekly)

Click here to view the Science Tattoo Emporium

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Science Tattoo Emporium

Crystallography in High Heels #scienceink

By Carl Zimmer | October 12, 2011 9:52 am

Josephine Schuppang of Technical University in Berlin writes,

I was pointed to your blog when I talked to a friend about my newest tattoo. He told me that you are collecting scientific tattoos. I didn’t even know there were other people who did that sort of thing. You bet my tattoo artist looked strangely at me for my request.

So attached find a picture of my tattoo of Bragg’s Law. It is along the side of my left foot and shows nicely in my favorite pair of heels.

I studied Physics, and although I wanted to go in to Astronomy I got lost a bit and landed in Crystallography, which has a long history here in Berlin.  Last year I wrote my thesis on the transmission electron microscopy of nitride semiconductors. After my defense I wanted to get a tattoo to remember this occasion. But all the formulas I did use were too long and complex to use, and all the images I took wouldn’t have worked.

So I decided on a fundamental formula, Bragg’s Law. It is important for electron diffraction, so that fits. And I have always liked the Bragg story, the father-son tag team of physics and the fact that William Lawrence Bragg was only 25 when they got their Nobel Prize.


Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed will be published on November 1, 2011. (“Breathtaking”Publisher’s Weekly)

Click here to view the Science Tattoo Emporium


CATEGORIZED UNDER: Science Tattoo Emporium

Starred review for #ScienceInk in Publisher's Weekly: "Breathtaking"

By Carl Zimmer | October 10, 2011 10:36 am

I appreciated this start to the week: a starred review of Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed in Publisher’s Weekly:

Noting a colleague’s DNA-inspired tattoo at a pool party, science writer Zimmer (A Planet of Viruses) wondered how widespread the phenomenon of the inked scientist was. He solicited pictures for his blog, “The Loom,” and, inundated with photos and stories from scientists and laypeople alike, quickly became a curator of science-inspired body art. Mary Roach’s foreword lays out why, given the passion with which so many approach their fields, it should be no surprise to encounter this worldwide tribe whose obsessed love for every far-flung corner of science’s domain was marked permanently on their bodies. Divided into 13 sections, the book is filled with breathtaking color photos accompanied by grounding texts: Portuguese geneticist Dônovan Fereira Rodrigues, who got Isaac Newton’s “shoulders of giants” quote inked on his back, tells the story behind the phrase; August Kekule’s “discovery” of benzene’s structure inspired Virginia pharmacology PhD. Jeffrey Ikeda; a tattoo of Nikola Tesla’s visions of a wireless future lies on the arm of Abraham Orozco, the science director of a children’s community center in L.A. Genetics, neuroscience, and evolution (Darwin gets his own section) form the book’s modern cornerstones and the tattoos range from full back pieces and sleeves to little—often concealable—personal reminders. Encyclopedic in essence, Zimmer’s coffee-table art book presents a wealth of material.

The book is officially published on November 1, but one reader told me she had received hers in the mail already. I’ll post updates here on reviews and talks about Science Ink. And I’m going to finally start posting some images from the backlog of tattoos that people have sent me since I finished work on the book.

[PS–Just one correction: I wrote the historical explanation of the “shoulders of giants” quote, not Rodrigues. That’s true for most of the other stuff in the caption-essays.]

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Science Tattoo Emporium

Science Ink: Spreading the Word

By Carl Zimmer | June 15, 2011 1:22 am

Here’s the final version of the cover of Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed. It now includes Mary Roach, who kindly provided a lovely foreword for the book.

Science Ink will be hitting book stores on November 1. Here are a couple blurbs…

“How apt: the most enduring ideas in science translated into that most enduring personal art—the tattoo. Science Ink marries mind and body, and Zimmer reveals the beauty that motivates so many scientists.”–Sam Kean, author of The Disappearing Spoon

“After spending long hours at the computer, in the lab or field, science has a way of getting under your skin. Science Ink reveals the great ideas and deep passion for science revealed in some of the most creative body art on the planet today. This is a book to revel on the best ideas and discoveries in science and of the passion scientists have for their life’s work.”–Neil Shubin, University of Chicago, author of Your Inner Fish

“Here is to be found the evidence that scores of intelligent and intellectually perceptive young people recognise that equations, symbols and structures are the key constituents of the elegant language through which the Universe reveals its deeply buried and wondrous secrets. It is a great pleasure to see this compendium of truly moving personal statements about the sciences, collected in this superb book.”–Sir Harry Kroto, winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize for Chemistry

I’m giving lots of thought about how to spread the word about the book this fall. If you have any suggestions, please get in touch. It’s a bit off the grid, so creativity is called for. Can you think of a venue where you live where there’d be an enthusiastic audience for a talk about the passion of scientists translated into ink? Is there a magazine, blog, or other publication that should know about Science Ink? Let me know!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Science Tattoo Emporium

Dr. Kiki's Science Hour video is up. Jackalopes, zombie ants, evolution's odometer, and more!

By Carl Zimmer | April 1, 2011 3:51 pm

Brian Malow and I talked yesterday about some of my favorite things on the latest episode of Dr. Kiki’s Science Hour–including the evolution odometer. You can watch it on Youtube, or you can head over to Dr. Kiki’s Science Hour site to download the video or audio. (The Skype goes berserk briefly, but we get back on track.)

Tattooed scientists are taking over!

By Carl Zimmer | March 29, 2011 5:36 pm

Christof Koch is one of the world’s leading experts on consciousness. A longtime professor at Caltech, he’s just become the chief scientific officer at the Allen Brain Institute, an innovative research center that was funded with $100 million from Microsoft’s Paul Allen. The institute has spent the past eight years building remarkably detailed, three-dimensional atlases of mouse brains. Now, as Koch explains to Nature, he will use those atlases to launch an ambitious new project:

The idea is to focus on one or two behaviours — how we see, for instance, or smell, or remember — and ask how the relevant information is encoded, represented and transformed to give rise to behaviour.

The challenge is a bit like creating the Thirty Meter Telescope, which is going to be built on top of Mauna Kea, Hawaii, in the next decade, at a cost of roughly $1 billion. There you have a couple of hundred people who are all working toward a common goal.

Neuroscience hasn’t had something like that, but the time is right to bring all these resources to bear onto a single question, not 20 questions in 10 different animals, each behaving differently. You essentially build a brain observatory where you try to study one behaviour exhaustively across the brain, and you make the data available to other people.

I spoke to Koch a few months back when I was writing about consciousness for the New York Times. Afterwards, he sent me an email.

Do tattoos of your favorite tools also count, Carl, for your collection? This is mine.

I do have plenty of engineering tattoos in the Science Tattoo Emporium, but I paused at Koch’s. Tools, yes. Brands?

So I asked Koch what this tattoo meant to him.

The original Apple Macintosh, together with the Boeing B-747 Jumbo Jet and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, are the three most beautiful and elegant artifacts of the 20-th century. A perfect marriage of form and function.

Koch’s new job seems like the perfect opportunity to post his picture. Who knows how many other tattooed scientists are taking over the reins of power?

(Click here to go to the full Science Tattoo Emporium. And keep an eye out for Science Ink: Tattoos of the Scientifically Obsessed this fall.]

Science Ink: Here's the cover!

By Carl Zimmer | March 26, 2011 11:52 am

There’s now a page in Sterling’s fall catalog for my book of science tattoos. Here’s the cover. You won’t be able to appreciate its full die-cut splendor, however, till you hold it in your hands when it comes out in October 2011. More details to come!


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The Loom

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

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