The Twitter hash tag #BadStockPhotosOfMyJob has me in stitches at the moment. These stock photos are trying to transmit visually what we as scientists do all day. It is boring seeing people think or write, so they try to come up with some ideas - and of course, this gives the general public a rather strange view on the world.

I surfed over to Shutterstock to have a look. "female computer scientist" gave me lots of men in lab coats with colored water in beakers next to computers, so I tried "computer scientist" next just to see. Oh my, still a lot of lab coats around, but some mighty strange stuff.

And some of them are cartoons of this state:

An old white guy staring at a screen looking over his reading glasses. Uh ha. Lots of glasses, by the way:

One might think that computer scientists are camera shy. But oh, no, here they are with neural nets projected onto a bluish screen next to a map. This is machine learning, and the bosses all wear ties!
This one does, indeed, convey a bit of the frustration one feels at times:
and I just love the caption: "Angry man businessman male scientist hipster smashes laptop furiously in office with board for copy space on white background." He has pens and pencils, an ancient book, two newer ones, a microscope, some paper, a laptop and a white board with nothing written on it. Hands up, who has ever seen a whiteboard in a scientist's office with no writing on it or things held on by magnets? I thought so.

Men in suits staring at blackboards are quite a thing:

It hurts my back just to think how I would have to get down on my hands and knees to write on the bottom of this blackboard. Okay, it might be one of those movable thingys, but it's already about 4 meters wide, so it must weigh a ton.

Oh, I see, it's the same guy, it's just the graphic designers going wild with Photoshop:

I'm impressed - even though there are few women (and they are kind of silly, wearing lots of makeup or postits with their short skirts), there are a number of persons of color and even a few hijab-wearing women (although one woman has a hijab in one photo and a sari in the next while they are using the same red book)


This guy looks real tired from typing with just one hand while holding his laptop in the air.

This is getting closer:

but I've never really had the ones and zeros fly off my screen at me:

But I think this guy is the winner:

His battery just caught fire while he is still balancing the laptop on his right hand, and afterwards, his brain is fried:

Now, here's a picture of my real home office (many years ago, it's gotten worse):

CC-BY-NC, WiseWoman

And here are some real computer science students in a real classroom:

HTW Berlin, Nina Zimmermann

and this is what is on their screens:

HTW Berlin, Nina Zimmermann
and sometimes we even don't work with computers!

HTW Berlin, Nina Zimmermann

Okay, enough fun. Back to work.