by Brandy D. Anderson
It’s not surprising that Twitter houses over 255 million users across the globe. While it used to be primarily known as a platform for celebrity schmoozing, nowadays, it seems pretty much anyone and everyone uses the blue bird (named after basketball legend Larry Bird, by the way). With such an impressive amount of users, there’s certainly no shortage of pages and personalities to discover in Twitterland.
One of the most prolific, but often forgotten, group of Tweeters are those lovable science scamps who were often ignored in high school. Luckily for them, the tables usually turn in adulthood, so these oft neglected geeks now hold the prestige and the power in the ‘real world’. While some of these geniuses can be bland and really do fit-in with that stuffy stereotype perpetuated by some of those obnoxious high school jocks (another stereotype), many of them are witty, charming, and downright entertaining while they talk nerdy to you. Here’s a small compilation of some of the best:
This astrophysicist tweets about everything from astronomical phenomena, pictures of him sitting in a crescent moon with Seth MacFarlane, to close-up pictures of the potato chips he just bought at the market. His commentary is snappy and usually pretty funny. Regarding today’s ominous date (Friday the 13), Tyson quips, “Never knew why phobias are given long complicated names. Afraid of today? Friday the 13th? You are Friggatriskadekaphobic”. He follows this with: “Generally in the universe we name things in ways that minimize confusion. e.g. Spots on the Sun are called ‘Sun Spots’ and “Jupiter’s big red spot is called ‘Jupiter’s Red Spot’, “The mile-wide crater in Arizona, made by a meteor, is called ‘Meteor Crater’”, and he observes that “No other scientific field rivals astrophysics in the transparency of its lexicon”. He ends it all with a tweet that’s sure to have Pink Floyd playing in my house for the next week (which isn’t a bad thing): “Want More? The far side of the Moon is called ‘The Far Side of the Moon’” (so close to ‘dark’).
Can you really have a list of awesome scientists without including this ever enthusiastic bow-tied dude? He even has his own super cool, annoyingly catchy, theme song. He participates in ‘Throwback Thursdays’, he takes fun selfies (at charity events, at the White House, everywhere), and he even bicycles through New York City, of course he’s still donned in that wacky suit (with Instagram pics to prove it). When he makes an appearance on ‘The Late Show,’ he admits, “What can I say? I enjoy free food and the didgeridoo. You mean you don’t?” He had me at didgeridoo.
Koerth-Baker is the science editor for “Boing Boing” magazine as well as a columnist for that little rag known as ‘The New York Times’. Yesterday, she tweeted “I’m having a going away party in Minneapolis on Saturday afternoon. If Bill Murray wants to crash it, he’d be welcome.” With tweets about science, workers’ rights, and pictures of Kids In The Hall crushing skulls, serious feminism critique, and funny comics, Koerth-Baker’s twitter feed always has something interesting or entertaining to say.
If you’re into super nerdy science jokes that are keenly groan worthy, this is your page. Here are just a few of the offerings: “A Physicist and a Biologist had a relationship. But there was no chemistry”, and “A photon walks into a hotel and the bellhop asks if he has any luggage. The photon responds with “No, I’m traveling light.” Here’s one with a Twitter specific spin to it: “This tweet existed in all possible states until you observed it. I hope you’re happy.” Fair warning: there are also a fair amount of mildly sexist “Hey girl” jokes, so I’m assuming this page is run by a man. However, there doesn’t seem to be anything overtly offensive to them, they’re more like the teenage-hopefully-he’ll-grow-out-it-soon vibe.
Okay, so really, no Twitter science list would be complete without including NASA. This page is constantly updated, numerous times a day, and, surprisingly, everything they post is pretty neat. NASA also finds clever ways to tie nearly anything to space. For example, this morning they posted: “Friggatriskaidekaphobic? Friday the 13th=100 days until Mars Rover arrives at the Red Planet”. They keep up with contemporary culture, as seen by their many, oh so many, World Cup photos and tweets that only slightly connect with the actual football/soccer event. The best thing about this page are the photos. Stunning and breathtaking celestial photos adorn the page and it’s difficult to beat that metaphysical beauty.
But this isn’t a person, you may be saying to yourself. Ah, but all of the Curiosity Rover’s tweets are written in first person, so maybe we have a Short Circuit kind of thing going on here. Regardless of who is actually behind the “I”, CR’s tweets are funny, educational, and neat just the same. There is a plethora of groovy Mars photos along with the occasional invitation to visit: “You guys are going to come visit me on Mars someday, right?” Curiosity Rover even plays laser tag as he/she/it explains: “Laser tag! I drilled sandstone, zapped it w/ChemCam & imaged it at night.” This is a fun page that any science lovin’ Tweeter should definitely check out.
Two chemists are ordering drinks. The first orders ‘H2O’ and the other says I’ll have ‘H2O too.’ The second chemist dies.” – From Science Jokes