Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

The Sciences

Is it that obvious?

Cosmic VarianceBy JoAnne HewettOctober 12, 2005 10:54 AM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

I was in Starbucks, minding my own business, earnestly stirring sugar into my latte. When I began the stirring process, I was alone at the condiment counter and was not aware of anyone joining me in the interim. Suddenly a voice boomed, "Can you pass the chocolate when you get a chance?" I grabbed the chocolate and handed it to the guy without thinking, assuming the chocolate incident was now finished. But the guy kept talking, "I find it's better if I add the chocolate *now*." That forced me to look at him - pouring his coffee beverage from one cup into another, stopping halfway to add the chocolate. I felt inclined to reply, "that makes sense, the chocolate will mix better that way." The guy stopped dead in his tracks, mid-pour, looked at me and said "you're a scientist." He then looked me over *very* carefully, seemed to notice I was female, and backed off slightly, "or an engineer." (I mean backed off in the sense that female engineers are not so uncommon in Silicon Valley) I looked straight at him: "Is it that obvious?" He replied, "Yes. You're a scientist/engineer, right?" "I'm a theoretical physicist, working at SLAC. *HOW* did you know?" "Nobody else would have said that (about the chocolate) that way. Only a scientist would talk like that." We then chatted for a bit about SLAC and some piece of equipment a friend of his bought at auction there (we have auctions???), and then I left. Frankly, I don't get it. It's not like I have `Caution: Physicist' tattoed on my forehead! I mean, we spend the better part of our time on this blog convincing you, the public, that us scientists are normal people. **How** did he know???

    2 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 70%

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In