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I'm a scientist with tattoos and I love my tattooed skin!

I'm a scientist with tattoos and I love my tattooed skin!

If you haven’t checked out the hashtag #ScientistsWithTattoos on Twitter – I highly recommend checking it out!

One of the reasons why I love this hashtag is that it demonstrates one of the many ways that scientists are also people with personalities outside of their work. Granted – all my tattoos are of plants, animals, or atoms – I really like being able to express myself with tattoos. I feel comfortable in my tattooed skin. Here is the story of each of my tattoos:

I remember being 16 years old in my high school chemistry class and learning about the early models of atoms, and I loved the Bohr’s model representation. The classic “atom” image was always so cool to me. I decided that I wanted that as my first tattoo. Six years later – it happened! I got this tattoo while living in Montana. Here I am pictured with Miss Bill.

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Later, while still living in Montana, I visited my brother for a week in San Francisco. On the 4th of July 2011, my brother, his now husband, and I decided to get tattoos! We each got separate tattoos but it was really fun sharing that experience with my brother! I got hops (Humulus lupulus) because I had been really into brewing beer at that time and I think the hops plant is beautiful. BONUS! We got a discount if we wore mustaches to the tattoo shop so my brother-in-law made us clay mustaches on a stick. Pictured: fresh hops, me and one of the tattoo artists with our mustaches, and me and my brother on Bernal Heights Park. P.S. the tattoo is on my chest.

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In 2013, after more than 2 years without a new tattoo, I decided it was time for a new one. I had just started my PhD program and I really wanted my own version of a skull and crossbones tattoo. For some reason, I’ve always loved Great Blue Herons, so I got a tattoo of a Great Blue Heron skeleton.

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Alright – after this point I decided to get serious. I started planning a half sleeve. I found an artist I liked – Mark Heggie – and decided on a giant squid. But I wanted it to be a little feminine, so I got a giant squid with flowers. This tattoo took 5 sessions over the course of five months.

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Not soon after finishing this tattoo, I had the itch for another. When I was young, I was obsessed with this book called “Rosie’s Walk” by Pat Hutchins. I was especially fascinated by the fox and the color scheme of the book. Here is the fox* from the book that follows a hen around, trying to eat her.

I went to Mark Heggie again for this one. He also loved the fox and did a perfect job recreating it:

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Those are my current tattoos. I’m thinking of getting another one after I graduate with my PhD!

I also convinced my mom to get a tattoo for her 67th birthday! She came with me a couple of times to the shop while I was getting my giant squid. She had never been in a tattoo parlor before and wanted to see what it was like. She had a blast hanging out there with me, and after that she decided she wanted her very first tattoo! So for her birthday, her kids and family chipped in to pay for it. She of course went to Mark Heggie. Look at how sassy my mom is at 67. She’s 68 now and still super sassy.

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And then of course my aunt, my mom’s sister, wanted a tattoo as well. And of course she went to Mark!

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So I’m pretty much just part of one big, happy, tattooed family! And this includes my science family! Please share your awesome tattoos by using the hashtag #ScientistsWithTattoos on Twitter or by tweeting at me @anna_boeg – I’d love to see them! Non-scientists welcome to share as well!

*Editor’s note: Head over to the blog post on Dr. Boegehold's blog to view this image.


Dr. Anna Boegehold (@anna_boeg) is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. This story was published on March 30, 2018, on Dr. Boegehold's blog (available here), and has been republished here with her permission. 

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Your Research. Your Life. Your Story.

A magnetic community of researchers bound by their stories