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I only wear goggles when swimming May 21, 2013

Posted by mareserinitatis in career, engineering, physics, research, science, societal commentary, Uncategorized.
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I was recently chatting with an acquaintance when they mentioned they had seen me in the local paper a while back.

You were wearing goggles, right?

No.

Well, you did have a lab coat…

No, I was actually wearing a sweater.

I have had articles on my work run in the paper a couple times in the past few months. However, only one had a picture, and I cringe every time I think about it. I learned the hard way that it is important to wear solid colors on such occasions.

The picture involved me standing in front of several racks of computers wearing a rather ugly ombré sweater. I find it interesting that this acquaintance knows I’m a scientist and equates that with the goggles and lab coat schtick so heavily that they remember me wearing one even when I was not.

I remember reading about a project where kids drew pictures of scientists, visited some at Fermilab, and then drew pictures after their visit. The contrast was striking.

Having talked with this person on and off during the years, never once while wearing a lab coat (probably because I haven’t worn a lab coat since freshman chem and certainly wouldn’t out in public), I’m very surprised that they still imagine me that way. I guess it goes to show how powerful those stereotypes are.

I think I need to have a “Visit Cherish At Work” day where people can watch me sit at my computer, lab coat free.

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Comments»

1. Moose - May 21, 2013

We are now required to wear lab coats in lab all the time (computational offices do not count as lab space for the purpose of the lab coat requirement) at GradSchool U. But they are not required to be white! I have stenciled some rather geeky designs on mine and a few people in my lab have embroidered stuff on theirs.
My computational collaborator is the most fashionable person I know and loves that she can wear heels to work.

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2. Cop Car - May 22, 2013

The only time I ever wore a lab coat was when the PR department of the aerospace company at which I worked came around to take photos of engineers at work. There were two of us in the photo – I, the engineer, and a guy who was a structural test technician. I could not convince the photographer that the tech was the one who was the more likely to be standing about in a lab coat with clipboard and pen at the ready. They just absolutely switched our roles for the photo. Gahh!

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