These are the world’s worst science photos


Photo: Elnur/123RF

At best, stock photos can add to a story or help explain an abstract concept. At worst, they can look like the bad photos used to sell picture frames in the 1980s. Recently, Dr Kit Chapman, a lecturer at Falmouth University, noted that many science stock images fall into the latter category. In fact, it seems that many stock photographers have a hard time conceptualizing what scientists actually do.

So, in the spirit of friendly competition, Dr. Chapman started the unofficial World’s Worst Science Photo Contest. Competitors included an image of “scientists” in lab coats staring at a chicken, a woman in lingerie pouring the contents of a test tube into a beaker, and a man covered in PPE sticking syringes into a raw whole chicken. If those descriptions sound weird, the visuals are even weirder.

After several heated ballots, the field was narrowed down to the four worst archival science photos. The grand prize winner, meaning the worst of the bunch, was a photograph of a woman in a lab holding a soldering iron over some electrical components. Nearly 500,000 votes were cast in the first four rounds of the contest, with many people adding their own terrible photo finds to the thread.

So if you need a laugh and want to know what scientists absolutely don’t do in real life, the thread is well worth a scroll.

Dr Kit Chapman has launched the world’s worst science photo contest.

Nearly 500,000 votes were cast in four knockout rounds.

Some particularly notable images included scientists looking at a chicken and a woman in lingerie pouring the contents of a test tube into a beaker.

In the meantime, people in the Twitter feed have added their own images to the mix.

After a final round of voting, a photo of a woman holding a soldering iron won first place.

h/t: [IFLScience!]

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