#IAmScience: The stories behind scientists

Air-ballooning scientist

If the word "scientist" conjures a near-sighted nerd in a lab coat, you may be spending too many late nights watching the SyFy channel. A recent movement on Twitter using the hashtag #iamscience is enabling scientists from all over the world to share their pictures, tell their stories, and show off their particular science to the world at large.

Inspired by a post by science writer and marine biologist Kevin Zelnio written after he attended the Science Online Conference, the hashtag has been a fascinating way to learn the varied backgrounds of people who now make their careers in the sciences; people who were homeless as teens, became interested in science when a friend got sick and are now working on a cure, or as kids who performed stress-tests with tarantulas on their arachnophobic dads.

In its short existence, the movement has already grown beyond a hashtag: there's now a Storify page, a music video and Tumblr logs of both archived tweets and stories and pictures of cool scientists doing cool things.   

In the often self-serving and solipsistic world of social media, it's refreshing to see real stories being told and real connections being made through sharing experiences. Student neuroscientist and self-described science geek @katiesci tweeted "We are a bunch of misfits who found what we love." As #iamscience demonstrates, sometimes when you whisper into an echo chamber, a thousand voices answer back. 

Image via This is What a Scientist Looks Like

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