See the world’s worst science photos

Photo: Elnur/123RF

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

So, in the spirit of friendly competition, Dr. Chapman started the unofficial contest for the world’s worst science photos. Contestants included an image of “scientists” in lab coats staring at a chicken, a woman in underwear pouring the contents of a test tube into a beaker, and a man covered in PPE sticking syringes into a raw whole chicken. If these descriptions sound strange, the visuals are even stranger.

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

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

Dr. Keith Chapman launches the world’s worst science photo contest.

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

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

Meanwhile, people on the Twitter thread added their own images to the mix.

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

h/t: [IFLScience!]

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