30 Day Challenge: Day 25

25. The nerdiest book you’ve ever read.

Err, nerdy?

Actually it’s funny you ask – I have a long running understanding with my brother in which we agree that he (a computer scientist) is a nerd whereas I (a proper scientist) am a geek. This means that I am cool and he is not. A familiar theme in discussions with my brother. I live in London, he does not; I blog, he does not both of which mean I am cool and he is not. In fact I am three years older than he is ergo I was cool before he even existed.

Anyway, back to the question in hand. The OED defines nerdy as:

  • a foolish or contemptible person who lacks social skills or is boringly studious
  • a single-minded expert in a particular technical field

which doesn’t really help if I’m honest.

Although being a scientist I have read some pretty single minded and boringly studious tomes so I’m going to focus on that rather than the foolish/contemptible thing. One called Biochemistry (Jeremy Berg) and another called Genes (Benjamin Lewin) could probably contest for this prize but since they’re textbooks and enforced reading maybe they don’t really count here.

But being a bit of a single-minded character I’m probably going to have to chose a science-related book for this title (thus answering tomorrow’s question as well) and so the winner is….

Bad Science by Ben GoldacreBad Science. Arising from his popular Guardian column, Dr Goldacre’s book searches out the truth behind scientific myths such as the MMR vaccine – autism hoax, misleading adverts and the homeopathy world. Using a mixture of humour and expertly explained science and statistics Goldacre patiently explains why you shouldn’t believe everything you hear.

Out of interest, the OED defines ‘geek’ as:

  • an unfashionable or socially inept person.

So I think that actually I lost the argument with my brother. Keep that to yourself though 😉


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