Tuesday, October 16, 2007

6 badass scientists

When most people imagine a scientist, they see a skinny, pasty white nerd, with thick glasses, no sense of fashion and an absent-minded, self-effacing personality. But many scientist are just the opposite. This is a list of the 6 most badass scientists that clash with this stereotype.

1- Craig Venter: Craig Venter kicks ass. Born in a military family, he was more known for his unruly behavior and his propensity to get in trouble than for his smarts. Yet he still boasted a 142 IQ. At 18 he dropped out of high school to become a surfer and a beach bum. He then served in Vietnam, where he performed the triage of wounded soldiers. It is probably there that he became Darth Venter, hatching his plan for world domination. It is said that he fought 300 Vietcongs with his abs alone. When he returned to America he got a BA and a PhD in 5 years. He set his sights on sequencing genomes, and decided to fly solo. Not only did he manage to sequence the first entire genome of an organism (Haemophilus influenzae), but he didn't stop there and decided to tackle the human genome head-on with a company, for which he raised $1B in a single day on wall street. The man has a gigantic ego, collects boats, and hangs out with celebrities. He is also a gigantic pompous prick. So having sequenced his own genome, he spends his time sailing around the world collecting microbial DNA, and dominating the field of synthetic biology where he plans to build the first trillion dollar organism that can pump oil and print money. But you gotta give it to him, he is pretty badass.

2- Feynman: Half-genius half-buffoon, Feynman is in a league of is own. He helped build the first atomic bomb, laid the foundations of quantum mechanics and received a nobel prize for quantum electrodynamics theory. But Feynman was a free spirit, trying marijuana, ketamine, lsd, sensory deprivation. He was also a notorious womanizer, who famously would convince girls at bars to buy his drinks. On his spare time, he liked to break safes, decode Mayan hieroglyphics, and party in the streets of Rio.

3- Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov : Somehow this scientist is not as well known has he should be. Sakharov was a thermonuclear physicist, and the father of the Russian Hydrogen bomb. After giving the H bomb to Stalin he realized that giving that much power to politicians was foolish, because they would be crazy enough to actually use it. He became a loud opponent of the regime and strongly criticized the way political prisoners were being treated. Not only was he a brilliant scientist but he also had the balls to oppose the regime at a time when even the suspicion of being an activist would get you killed. He didn't stop there either, he continued to oppose Nikita Khrushchev despite being offered brides, being threatened and denied food. He was basically under house arrest, constantly guarded by KGB agents, and wasn't able to go out to receive his Nobel peace prize. Gorbachev finally freed him in 1986, and he would die 3 years later.

4- Dr. Duncan Steel: His name is Dr. Steel. That would be enough right there. But he also has an asteroid and a robot (in an Arthur C. Clarke novel) named after him. He even introduced the Sex Pistols to their first gig! Not only is he a very successful scientist who has worked for NASA and ESA, but he was also part of the Near-Earth Object Interception and Deflection committee. That's right, next to him, Bruce Willis would probably grow ovaries.

5- MC Hawking: He is a badass cyborg, who rules the streets with an iron fist and does occasional drive-by's in his wheelchair. Honestly the man is only able to wink, yet has been collecting trophy wives. I should really practice my winking.




6- Meredith Charles Gourdine: He was a blind rocket scientist, with 70 patents and a silver medal at the olympics. Not bad I guess...


8 comments:

kamel said...

What did he win the silver medal for?

Anonymous Coward said...

"Gourdine finished second in the broad jump event, settling for a silver medal with a leap of 24 feet, 8 1/4 inches. He lost by an inch and a half. In the same article at www.princeton.edu, Gourdine said "I would have rather lost by a foot. I still have nightmares about it.'"

kamel said...

You forgot the baddest-ass scientist of them all: He speaks 5 languages, won the European karate championships in 1980 and 1981 and was part of an elite marine unit in the Swedish military. On top of that, he battled the forces of Skeletor as He-Man, dealt out lethal justice as The Punisher, and beat Apollo Creed to death in the ring as Ivan Drago in Rocky IV.

That's right, I'm talking about Dolph Lundgren who has a master's degree in chemical engineering and was awarded a Fullbright scholarship to MIT where he left after 2 years to pursue his (brilliant) acting career.

Anonymous said...

According to the sequence data Craig Venter is homozygous for the badass gene( Ba+/Ba+ ). However all of the other mentionables have not been genotyped and therefore you can't say for sure their badass status.

Anonymous said...

Ah, but is the BadAss gene dominant or recessive? One would surmise it's dominant.... :-)

Bayman said...

You guys have it all wrong. Bad-assness is a multigenic haplotype. Venter's genome is the standard, 100% bad-ass identity. All other genomes should be aligned to his to evaluate their degree of bad-ass homology.

Mr. Gunn said...

Jim Watson would say badassedness is genetic.

Bayman said...

And Venter says he wrong. So to prove it, he's going to have to prove that his own genome has no "special" bad-ass gene.