An anonymous reader writes:
D-lysergic acid diethlyamide…what a strange, wonderous, and downright amazing molecule. Having a background in biology, biochemistry, and molecular biology, I have long been fascinated by this enigmatic chemical. I initially planned on getting the regular simple stick molecular structure, and sat on that idea for close to 7 years. One night, fairly recently, a tattoo artist friend mentioned to me over lunch that the “ball and stick” model would look much better…what a simple, yet absolutely brilliant idea of which I have no earthly clue why I didn’t think of first. I had to let him tattoo me! It’s better than I ever could have imagined. The picture was taken within a few hours of completion, and there is tattoo ointment over it, making it glisten and giving the appearance of “spots” on certain atoms.
Carl: Takes the LSD theme up a notch, I’d say.
MLR writes: “The Tree of Life—carbon, glucose, light, DNA, and the golden rectangle. A tattoo by Kevin Riley. On the chest of a PhD student in molecular biology.”
“I am an immunologist, and a second-generation biologist; my mother was a cell biologist (she passed away from brain cancer, which influenced my choice of career). I find DNA to be elegant; the code is so simple, and yet capable of enormous complexity. So I had my artist make a stylized DNA double-helix for me. The two double-stranded breaks don’t bother me; adaptive immune cells have those as part of normal development. 😉 “
Troy writes that he got his tattoo “as a post-doctoral fellow studying protein folding. The tattoo is sort of a telescoping view of the contents in a cell (many contents omitted, obviously). This came about from a very vague idea of something I wanted, and the artist (Chris Adamek, Immortal Ink, Clinton, NJ) really ran with it. He has no scientific training but came up with some really amazing artwork. He was so enthusiastic and wanted to know all about what it all meant and how it works. I enjoyed the experience of sitting with him for three days as much as I enjoy the result. The DNA doesn’t code for anything (at least not intentionally).”
Jaana writes, “I am a chemist and work on the legislative side of science. I also have a bit of a temper, so when choosing this tattoo, the choice was obvious. Its a modified version of the chemical hazard sign for ‘explosive’ and while hidden under a lab coat most of the time, depicts my personality quite well.”
Mike writes, “I know that I’m supposed to provide some sort of explanation, but I feel like everyone can probably tell that this is DNA. Every once in awhile someone will ask what’s on my arm, in which case I respond that it’s a futuristic staircase. Then they stare quizzically and I laugh.”
“My first year of college, I wanted to be an English major, and I took Intro Chemistry to fill the science requirement. The brief unit on thermodynamics made me fall totally in love. Entropy made sense to me – scientifically, philosophically. I became a Chemistry major and love every second of it. I got the tattoo to mark my rite of passage – Entropy going both ways, with its symble delta-S in the middle, all supported in the roots of Yggdrasil, the world-tree of Norse mythology (harking back to my English-lit days).”
A biochemist writes:
“Here is a picture of my science tattoo, which is a stylized structure of glycolipid A, the preformed glycolipid membrane anchor precursor I discovered as a graduate student some 20 years ago. At that time, membrane proteins that were anchored via glycolipids, rather than transmembrane protein domains, had just been found and this was the first precursor to be reported. The structure is simplified but basically correct, although considerable artistic license has been taken with bond lengths and angles.”