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Stock photos of scientists reveal that science is mostly about staring

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Sometimes at chickens

Photo by: Michael Blann / Getty Images

Science is mostly about white people staring, usually at colored liquids, but also sometimes at chickens and grass — at least, according to stock photos. So real scientists on Twitter are posting their favorite representation fails with the hashtag #BadStockPhotosOfMyJob.

The whole thing started when Nicole Paulk, a biochemistry and biophysics professor at the University of California, San Francisco, was working on a presentation. “I was trying to find stock images that aren’t too stuffy and more realistic, that don’t show us with tweed jackets and elbow patches,” she says.

Instead, she found a scientist peering deeply at a chunk of dry ice. “No one on the planet, even a dry ice scientist, would ever do this,” she says — so she tweeted it. Turns out, there are a lot more photos where this came from. So science blogger and former chemist Yvette d’Entremont came up with the hashtag, #BadStockPhotosOfMyJob.

And friends, there’s a lot of staring. And also some rock nuzzling. It gets weird.

Cleanup in the biosafety level 4 lab, please.

Don’t blink, or the chicken wins.

Geologists’ secret rock-nuzzling technique, revealed.

If you can’t figure out what the chemical is after touching it with your bare skin — well, you could always sip it. (Don’t. Do not do this.)

The hourglass is state of the art scientific equipment. At least she’s wearing her personal protective equipment to watch grass grow, right?

In science, you have to use all your senses: