Paleontologist Jon Tennant was trying to figure out how climate change, plate tectonics and other factors influenced the diversity of dinosaur species in the Mesozoic Era when he got some results so thrilling he felt compelled to celebrate with a tweet:
I love the smell of null hypothesis rejection in the morning— Jon Tennant (@Protohedgehog) August 27, 2015
“Apparently the first thing you do in research these days is tweet about it when that happens,” explained Tennant, a graduate student at Imperial College London with an apparent fondness for “Apocalypse Now.” “The quote just popped into my head, and I figured a few other people might find it amusing, so onto Twitter it went!”
One minute later, Helena Ledmyr, a development officer at the International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility in Stockholm, copied the tweet and added the hashtag #scienceamoviequote.
And they sure did.
In the past couple of days, hundreds of scientists (and science sympathizers) have taken to Twitter to convert famous lines from film into phrases suitable for academia. Among them:
Of all the poster sessions in all the conference halls in all the professional meetings, he walks into mine. #scienceamoviequote— Hope Jahren (@HopeJahren) August 27, 2015
"I sequence dead people." #scienceamoviequote— Rebekah Rogers (@evolscientist) August 27, 2015
“It’s fun to see how creative people are,” Ledmyr said.
After the hashtag blew up, she did a little digging and realized #scienceamoviequote may have been kicking around in her subconscious since November, when a neuroscientist she follows – Benjamin Saunders – used it to solicit entertaining tweets while he waited for his plane to take off.
“It didn't get much traction,” said Saunders, a postdoctoral researcher at Johns Hopkins University. But its resurgence this week has been worth the wait.
“Twitter has provided an excellent place for people to express their fondness for puns and in-group references,” he said.
Among his favorites:
"We're going to need to write a grant for a bigger boat" #scienceamoviequote— David Shiffman (@WhySharksMatter) August 27, 2015
The #scienceamoviequote craze reveals that scientists have eclectic taste in movies. There are plenty of references to sci-fi standards, including "Star Wars," "Back to the Future" and "The Matrix." Ditto for classics like "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," "Gone With the Wind" and "On the Waterfront."
Judging by the tweets, plenty of scientists have a soft spot for rom-coms …
I'm also just a girl standing in front of a rat asking him to press a lever #scienceamoviequote— Meg Fox (@NotThatMeganFox) August 27, 2015
#scienceamoviequote You had me at "notice of grant award".— Drug Monkey (@drugmonkeyblog) August 27, 2015
… as well as dramas.
"You want answers?" "I want the data" "You can't handle the data" #scienceamoviequote— Neil Hall (@neilhall_uk) August 27, 2015
"Say hello to my little trend." #scienceamoviequote— Robinson Lab (@RobinsonLab) August 28, 2015
And Tennant wasn’t kidding about the puns. Consider:
"Here's looking at Euclid" #scienceamoviequote— Elizabeth Gibney (@LizzieGibney) August 27, 2015
"The name is bond. Covalent bond." #scienceamoviequote— Matt Shipman (@ShipLives) August 27, 2015
The hashtag campaign “gives a bit of insight into the, er, less-mechanical side of research,” Tennant said. “It also shows that scientists watch way too many movies, and will jump on almost any opportunity to procrastinate.”
Perhaps that’s not such a bad thing. As Ferris Bueller might say:
"Science moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." #scienceamoviequote— Dr24hours (@Dr24hours) August 27, 2015
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