WHEN Carl Zimmer asked on his blog whether tattoos were common among scientists, he unwittingly became the curator of a set of incredible images, and of intimate stories that reveal a love affair with science. We are familiar with the idea that people tattoo themselves with a name or symbol representing the great love in their life. Those who love science are no different. Zimmer was inundated with responses.
Many are literal representations of a scientist's obsession with their profession: a tree of life covering a zoology graduate's back (see right), or a cross section through a mountain chain for a geology student (above). Others tell more personal stories, such as the neuroscientist with a tattoo of the type of nerve cell that is damaged in Lou Gehrig's disease, which killed her father. This book gathers up the marvels of science that have touched people so deeply they wanted to embody them. Zimmer's explanations of these concepts turns what could have been a gimmicky coffee-table picture book into an informative guide to some of the most captivating ideas in science.
Science Ink: Tattoos of the science obsessed by Carl Zimmer