It’s called Observations of a Nerd. But if the profile photo and entertaining commentary are any judge, blogger Christie Wilcox gives charm to the epithet.
Wilcox is a University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa graduate student of cell and molecular biology and author of a blog acquired by Seed Media Group’s ScienceBlogs.com after being nominated Best Biology Blog of 2009 on ResearchBlogging.org.
Describing herself as a science writer who moonlights as a graduate student, Wilcox “blogs about whatever she feels like, usually relating to scientific news, interesting biological phenomena and adorable creatures.”
Recognized for making scientific knowledge accessible to lay audiences, her posts range from a description of real zombies (read parasites) and a discussion of dog breeding as proof of Darwin’s theory of evolution to book reviews (thumbs up for Vanessa Woods’ memoir Bonobo Handshake) and comments on Hawaiʻi’s ban on possession, sale or distribution of shark fins.
“I’ve often been referred to as a nerd, dork, geek, etc., so I thought I ought to own up to it right away. I wouldn’t want to give the impression that this blog is going to be written by someone with immaculate fashion sense and a keen eye for shoes,” she wrote in her inaugural blog of September 2008.
“A ‘nerd’ is a person who ‘passionately pursues intellectual activities, esoteric knowledge or other obscure interests… rather than engaging in more social or popular activities.’ That pretty much sums up, oh I don’t know, my entire life. Let’s see—I stay at home on Friday nights to watch Planet Earth or some other Discovery Channel special. I read Science News daily, if not hourly.”
She also tweets as @nerdychristie.
Drawn to animals, Wilcox became interested in how cells and genes work. At Mānoa, she is working on the phylogeography of reef fishes and would like to study the biochemistry and evolution of lionfish toxins.
Why? Perhaps the answer lies in her post quoting Marie Curie:
“We must not forget that when radium was discovered no one knew that it would prove useful in hospitals. The work was one of pure science. And this is a proof that scientific work must not be considered from the point of view of the direct usefulness of it. It must be done for itself, for the beauty of science, and then there is always the chance that a scientific discovery may become—like the radium—a benefit for humanity.”