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Pop Culture

A contest for the 'worst science stock photo' has taken the internet by storm

“Talk to Us, Dr. Chicken," is a must-see.

science stock photo

They've blinded us with science.

Stock photos of any job are usually delightful cringey. Sure, sometimes they sort of get the essence of a job, but a lot of the time the interpretation is downright cartoonish. One glance and it becomes abundantly clear that for some careers, we have no freakin’ clue what it is that people do.

Dr. Kit Chapman, an award-winning science journalist and academic at Falmouth University in the U.K., recently held an impromptu contest on Twitter where viewers could vote on which photos were the best of the worst when it came to jobs in scientific fields.

According to Chapman’s entries, a day in the life of a scientist includes poking syringes into chickens, wearing a lab coat (unless you’re a “sexy” scientist, then you wear lingerie) and holding vials of colored liquid. Lots and lots of vials.

Of course, where each image is 100% inaccurate, they are 100% giggle inducing. Take a look below at some of the contenders.


Chapman’s unofficial photo competition received nearly 500,000 votes cast throughout four rounds. The grand prize winner was a photo of a female scientist holding a soldering iron (very much not in the right way) as she is “working” on some kind of electrical board.

It’s titled, “Hold My Soldering Iron.”

“I mean there’s the obvious thing that she'll burn her hand, but nobody ever talks about how she's ‘soldering’ the wrong side of the board," one person quipped.

Of course, “Talk to Us, Dr. Chicken” was also popular.

Clearly using the scientific method to figure out why exactly Dr. Chicken crossed the road.

But not as popular as “Syringe Chicken,” where, for some reason, a scientist covered in a mask and safety goggles inspects a raw, syringe-filled chicken with his teeny tiny magnifying glass. For science!

This one was the winner of the second-to-last batch.

Ever wonder where space is? Don’t worry, leave it to the professionals to point the way.

“To space!” Chapman captioned.

Speaking of professionals, everyone dresses for research this way, right?

Chapman titled this “Science: It's a Girl Thing."

People were quick to chime in with their own contributions, including:

“Woman Brain Surgeon”

Otherwise known as a jello mechanic.

And some kind of … corn scientist? From the future?

Why does this seem like it belongs in an Annie Lennox music video?

As well as a group of scientists that belong in a Marvel movie for their ability to manipulate atoms.

While these are certainly not an accurate depiction of the vast and wondrous world of scientific research, it did cause many a scientist to share a giggle. So no harm, no foul. Not even to chickens.


This article originally appeared on 10.27.22

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