Nerd. Geek. These two words have been thrown around for years. Usually, these two words are used to mock or flat out insult and bring down those who are just merely passionate about the things that they love. Whether it be cosplay, musical theater, writing, photography, video games, or anything else for that matter.
But, what I’m trying to get at here guys is don’t be ashamed of who you are. Don’t believe me? Well, get ready my friends, because I’m about to take y’all on a ride that will make you proud of those so-called insults.
So here we go!
Several incredibly known actors and actresses are big-time nerds.
Daniel Radcliff mister Harry Potter himself is a big-time Star Wars fan and he did a Boba Fett cosplay. And yes my friends, I said cosplay. Vin Diesel The badass actor we all know and love, he’s a total D&D nerd. And he plays it whenever he has time. Even the beautiful Mila Kunis is a nerd as well!
But it’s not just celebrities who are nerds, great people from history past—who have certifiably changed our world mind you, were nerds as well. Pretty sick eh? You may even know a few courtesies of a quick google search and an awesome pop culture blog called Treat and Retreat.
Marie Curie’s tale is certainly a tragic one. She was a Polish-born physicist and chemist who is perhaps best known for her work on radioactivity, particularly her discovery of the element Radium. Her life’s work won her several Nobel Prizes and contributed significantly to our understanding of radioactive elements–including the fact that they can cause great harm to organic tissue. Marie Curie died in 1934 as a result of a plastic anemia, widely believed to have been caused by her prolonged exposure to radioactive elements. To this day, all of her equipment and even her journals are stored in lead-lined containers and can only be handled with radiation-proof hazmat suits.
Science fiction has long been considered a boys’ club, and for decades was dominated by Caucasians as well. So it’s really quite remarkable that Octavia Butler, a woman of color born in 1947, rose to prominence as one of this generation’s most distinguished science fiction writers. During her lifetime she was the recipient of both the Hugo and Nebula awards–science fiction’s two highest honors. She’s an inspiration to nerds everywhere.
Ban Zhao is widely considered to be the first Chinese female historian. She is famous for finishing her brother’s work, the Book of Han (a history of the Western Han), after his execution. She also had a keen interest in science, particularly mathematics and astronomy. She also wrote a treatise on conduct for women, advising them to be submissive…. but hey, this was almost two thousand years ago, so we can hardly hold her accountable to modern cultural standards. Better to remember her as a righteous nerd who really dug on some history.
Jules Verne is my personal favorite science fiction nerd of all time. Though he died shortly after the turn of the 20th century (in March of 1905, to be precise), his wildly imaginative and well thought-out science fiction novels have proven startlingly prescient in several instances. He is the second most translated author in history–right behind Agatha Christie. One surprising fact about Verne is that he is considered heavily influential in European literary circles as a pioneer of avant-garde/post-modern literature–a fact that might shock many English-speaking readers.
Neil Degrasse Tyson
Neil DeGrasse Tyson might be the internet’s favorite scientist; his sharp wit and deft use of social media have made him a pop cultural icon among the younger generation of science enthusiasts. He is an astrophysicist (quite possibly the coolest kind of scientist) and is currently the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History. He is also famously the host of Nova ScienceNow.
Pretty damn awesome eh? History and the present are full of amazing people who can be called nerds. So the next time someone tries to bring you down, try bringing up one of these awesome people, and just know that your nerdiness is what makes you, you. Plus, everyone ends up working for nerds one day. So keep your head up. Because we nerds run the world.