If you picture a scientist as a guy in a white lab coat who spends all day glaring at vials, you can blame popular media. A quick image search of the word scientist brings up dozens of stock photos that fit this stereotype. And when photos do diverge from the norm, things start to get weird. Now real-life scientists are sharing some of these bizarre depictions on Twitter using the hashtag #badstockphotosofmyjob.
Some stock photos contain errors that would go unnoticed by most members of the public. But show a professional a model posing with a beaker of dyed water, or a backwards double-helix, and they might have something to say.
Despite all the lab gear, safety rules are apparently broken all the time in stock photo world. On rare occasions fake scientists ditch the lab coats altogether for lingerie—or nothing at all.
Even more puzzling scientist stock photo trends include injecting plants with mysterious liquid and holding stethoscopes up to inanimate objects.
Fortunately, scientists from the real world are much better at their jobs than scientists in stock photos make them out to be. To get a clearer picture of how a scientist's job differs from the stereotype, check out some behind-the-scenes accounts of their work in the field.