New internet meme: google suggestions for scientists

By Grant Jacobs 19/03/2010

I’m sure this will become a new internet or blog meme.

Bioemphemera (aka Jessica Palmer) has a post describing the top google suggestions for ‘are scientists’ and ‘do scientists’, shown using a lovely infographic. Do check it out.

When you type in a phrase, google offers the most frequent completions for the phrase. I get slightly different results to Jessica. Atheism ranks higher in ‘are’, but like her, global warming tops evolution in ‘do’. Being lazy, I’m just going to just use cut’npaste from my screen (shame on me…):



As Jessica pointed out on her blog, cures for sexual transmitted diseases must be an eternal question!

Maybe it’s just me, but I find most of the suggested phrases negative, or at least seem strange given that most have obvious answers. It’s bit sad, really. (Quickly, for ‘do scientists’: most don’t, no, yes, yes, no, no, yes, all but a very few don’t and those that get caught get punished, yes, geologists do.) Maybe the largest group of internet users are young kids? It would be appalling to think this reflects most adults’ understanding of scientists.

That said, the question ‘are scientists creative’ is a good one, I think. (Short answer: yes.)

‘Will scientists’ offers one forlorn–and crazy–question:


It reminds me that I must see the movie, which Jennifer Rohn rates as representing science in a good light, despite the nutty premise of the movie: ’[…] Instead, this time, science gets to be the good guy overall […]’.

Getting more specific helps a little:


The fourth one (‘how much to biologists make’) strikes a chord… If you try different branches of science (physicists, zoologists, etc.) you’ll find how much they earn is a common query.

Maybe it’s the recent large earthquakes, but geology comes to the fore in queries starting with ‘how scientists’.

Try out some yourself and let us know what you find. That should keep you busy for a bit!

I don’t know if the different results reflect some time having past, or that I’m using Google New Zealand or perhaps both; Jessica Palmer used the American site.

Other lighter–hey, it’s Friday!–articles on Code for life:

Undiluted humour: If Homeopathy Beats Science

Happy (Geeky) Valentine’s Day

Preconceptual science, the dismissal-ness of it all

Craziest research paper titles, awards and authors

The inheritance of face recognition, or should you blame your parents if you can’t recognise faces?

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