“May I see your T-shirt? (Pause.) Oh, what´s that? (Shock/disbelief/disgust.) NO, this definitely isn´t normal!” And there I am, a smiling geek with a normal distribution formula (explanation here) on my chest. I love these responses – they are so frank when people find out that there actually are people (“people”?) out there who enjoy mathematics, statistics and/or science. To be more precise, I love being “special”.
Believe it or not, the geek world is one of the most fantastic parts of this universe. The process of discovering and learning feels so rewarding, especially if you are surrounded by people who a) admire you or b) support you.
Let me share a couple of recent examples when I had a good laugh or two and my “normal” classmates could not enjoy the professor´s joke/slip simply because they never listen and/or never bother to think about the subject matter. To them, lectures are a necessary evil. But we, geeks who see those little puns, love them.
- Prof. Norde: “Suppose a limit is not having a function…” [see here]
- Prof. Dalton: “Let´s see the invisible hand…”
- Prof. Uras: “All you need is love – and then, economics.” [here]
The other fun aspect of being a nerd is that you actually enjoy reading textbooks – I know, scary (provided that these offer you those little puns as well). Here is an example:
- “The infinitive in English has the form to + verb, as in ‘to go’, and can be used with an adverb, such as ‘boldly’. So, at the beginning of each Star Strek episode, Captain Kirk used the expresion ‘To boldly go …’ This is an example of a split infinitive. Captain Kirk’s English teacher should have taught him to say ‘To go boldly’ or ‘Boldly to go’. If Captain Kirk had been a Roman space traveler, speaking Latin, (…) in saying ‘Ire audacter’, Captain Kirkus would not even have the opportunity to split his infinitive.” (George Yule: The Study of Language)
However, being a “smartass” from time to time means much more than pure studying. Geeks from all around the globe develop their own culture – ranging from T-shirts, books and music to quips and mottos. Some examples:
- Schrödinger´s Cat is DEAD!
- The Geek´s Guide to World Domination
- 2+2=5 (for extremely large values of 2)
- GeNiUS (simple explanation – google the periodic table of elements and look for germanium, nickel, uranium and sulfur)
- Bell curve jokes – see here and here (video – 2:35)
- Love letters in the form of equations (here)
Putting all these things together, being at little bit of a nerd can not only help you with your studies but also bring a lot of extra joy to your life. If you are studying something you are truly passionate about, you learn faster and have incentives to “go deeper”. There is no reason to feel ashamed for being called a geek (do not confuse with “Greek” or “Greeks“), because in the 21st century geek is the new “sexy“.