Science tattoo ideas…

I’ve been pondering the whole scientific tattoos thing. Because let’s face it, it’s just a really cool idea. Astronomy, Chemistry and Physics contain some pretty damn amazing concepts and visuals, but obviously I wouldn’t want a tattoo of something I’m going to find trivial and rubbish in a few years time. So I’ve been… mulling.

I have a shortlist of a few which I think would be pretty sweet. As with anything permanent, I figure it’s got to be a dumb idea to rush out on a whim. So these are a few ponderings of mine. Any and all feedback is more than welcome!

Radiation pressure is, in my opinion, one of the coolest concepts in physics. Pressure exerted by light itself. In massive stars, radiation pressure on condensing dust grains is the driving force for a stellar wind of around 2000 kilometres per second. I think this one might make a good upper back tattoo.

Dopamine is a phenylethylamine derived neurotransmitter. It plays a lot of roles in the brain, from learning and memory to pleasure and excitement. I’m not quite sure where would be best for this.

The Pleiades. My favourite star cluster, and probably one of the most widely known in human cultures, from Norse to Maori. A shoulder tattoo, perhaps?

Corona Borealis. A cool little constellation, which is home to a number of interesting objects, including a few variable stars, at least one solar twin, some exoplanets, a couple of circumstellar disks… And the small red star marks the location of R Coronae Borealis, a particularly interesting variable star with some interesting chemistry. I’ve written something about it before. This might look good as an outer shin tattoo.

So these are all still just ideas. One day, if I can find a good enough tattooist and don’t mind spending the money, maybe…

About Invader Xan

Molecular astrophysicist, usually found writing frenziedly, staring at the sky, or drinking mojitos.
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13 Responses to Science tattoo ideas…

  1. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, no kidding. With the right trajectory, it could easily be the most hazardous toolbag in human history!

  2. invaderxan says:

    Hell, maybe you should even if you’re not. As long as you can tell people about it when they ask, I figure why not? :)

  3. madsophia says:

    I love science tattoos! if I ever become a scientist, I will get one!

  4. invaderxan says:

    I’m sure I’ve heard that as part of a cheesy Physics pick-up line before… :P

  5. A surface integral of your body.

  6. invaderxan says:

    Totally! Besides… It would be stupid to tattoo something I didn’t have much to say about. :P

  7. That would be a nice conversation piece, then. :)

  8. invaderxan says:

    Oh, they’re not mutually exclusive. I may yet get more than one of the above… And yeah, checking and double checking the right form and symbols to use is kind of an issue. Part of the reason I’m still contemplating these things.
    M101? The spiral galaxy?
    And uh… I fear this might be a whole can of worms but… how does one have a bad moment with radiation pressure…? :)

  9. We don’t want to get me talking about radiation pressure (had a bad moment with it a few weeks ago), so I say the neatness of a constellation. Friends and I were talking and we think it’d be cool to get one done in the colors of the individual stars, too. I’m a fan of the Corona Borealis.
    Damn, now you’ve got me thinking. When I graduated undergrad, I contemplated getting the Friedmann Equation as a tramp stamp because I thought I’d be hilarious, but I had a hard time deciding if I wanted Rs or as and if I wanted Hs or Adots, and then I contemplated omegas and just gave up realizing that hey, it might change should we figure out the dark energy or matter crap.
    Now I’m thinking I might get M101 if I do wind up doing my thesis on it. Then it’s just an image that means something and if the math (or equations) change to reflect new understanding, I’m not hosed, so I say constellation/cluster.

  10. invaderxan says:

    I rather like radiation pressure. It’s a nice equation, a cool concept, and I could probably ramble about it for hours…

  11. invaderxan says:


  12. Personally, I’m partial to the equation for radiation pressure and the Corona Borealis, but really, to see any of these nicely done on someone would be pretty darn cool. :D

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