06 December, 2006

Spotting geologists in the wild

Here is a good place to start for pointers (although the socks+sandals thing is a lie perpetuated by people jealous of the ease with which we get other people to pay us to go on holiday):

Geologists are 'scientists' with an unnatural obsession with rocks and alcohol. Often too smart to do boring monotonous sciences like chemistry or physics, geologists devote their time to mud-worrying, volcano spotting and high-risk colouring in.

One of the main difficulties in communicating with geologists is their belief that a million years is a short amount of time. Consequently, such abstract concepts as "Tuesday Morning" and Lunchtime are completely beyond their comprehension.

To spot a geologist in the wild, look for:
  • Socks worn with sandals, unless the wearer is German.
  • Hand-lens, compass, pen-knife, handcuffs etc. tied round neck with string.
  • Ownership of a pet rock (in the case of palaeontologists, this will be their closest friend).
  • Overenthusiasm on the subject of dinosaurs.
  • Someone explaining to airport security that a rock hammer isn't really a weapon.
  • Takes photos, includes people only for scale, and has more pictures of rock hammer and lens cap than of his family.
  • Someone with collection of beer cans/bottles rivals the size of his rock collection.
  • Someone who brings beer instead of water when hiking.
  • Someone with unnatural amounts of facial hair and wears lots of polar fleece.
  • Someone whose lunch consists of rocks, instead of ordinary bread.
  • Someone who consumes tonsil-killing chili for dinner every night of the week, and warms it up in a can on the drill rig engine block.
  • Often has hair in a pony-tail (this applies to male or female geologists).
  • Someone who considers a "recent event" to be anything that has happened in the last hundred thousand years.
  • Someone who licks and/or scratches & sniffs rocks.
  • Someone who eats dirt and claims to be "getting an estimate of grain size"
Follow the link to the Uncyclopedia, Wikipedia's "very special" cousin, for more. It seems that they recognise the importance of us Geologists in the scientific ecosystem, because as yet only the Physicists have had similar treatment (well, Geographers have too, but we all know that they're wannabes).

4 comments:

postblogger said...

That's really funny, although everybody knows that mathematicians are the sandals people. Out of interest, isn't the UK a bit of a crap place to do geology when you could be in, I don't know, Australia or somewhere? Is the UK particularly interesting geologically? That's a question from pure ignorance, rather than a snide dismissal, by the way!

CJR said...

The UK is not without intrinsic interest - due to some quirks in structure and geological history, you have surface exposure of a fairly sizable geological section, from Precambrian in Scotland all the way through to the Cretaceous in Kent (the Mesozoic is particularly fine). It's not so good for active tectonics stuff, obviously, which is why I did my PhD fieldwork in New Zealand.

Basically, you can find interesting geological problems anywhere. Solving them often comes down to how good your lab equipment is, and the UK has some world-class facilities. The real problem at the moment is the funding situation - getting NERC to fund research which isn't linked to climate change is quite difficult right now.

Mel said...

Overenthusiasm on the subject of dinosaurs.

Or excessive vitriol, from the mammalian paleontologists (and sometimes paleobotanists and -entomologists). Interpaleo squabbling is hilarious!

I've always felt so left out because I don't like beer. But I can usually figure out a paleontologist's research focus by his/her subspecies-specific markings.

Jeffrey said...

My lovely wife got her BS in Geology at BYU and had a good laugh at the list.

You had her dead to rights on "wears tools on strings around neck" and "Explaining to Security that a rock hammer is not a weapon"

She did her work with conodonts so the she laughs at this: "Old conodonts don't go extinct. They just lose thier apatite"