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Great, Big, Giant Nerds

March 30, 2010

Only at the University of Chicago would there be library graffiti professing a love for Milton Friedman. I would have gone for “Fermi is my homey,” but what can you do?

Fermi

My nerd graffiti

The Chicago Tribune did a story last week on a new book, Crescat Graffiti, Vita Excolatur, about the nerdy graffiti at the University of Chicago Regenstein library. While this is not a science story per se, it does speak to the kind of culture I am trapped in.  Plus it’s funny. When it’s not scary. My personal favorite is the graffiti in dead languages (including a randy little number in hieroglyphics).

The book’s author, Quinn Dombrowski, even studied the graffiti, doing statistical analysis of the most common words and drawing conclusions on the mindset of the student body from her research. This is because she is, in her words, a great, big, giant nerd.

In case you’re wondering and don’t speak Latin, the book’s title is a play on the school’s motto, Crescat scientia; vita excolatur. Roughly translated as “Let knowledge grow from more to more; and so be human life enriched.” While UChicago is not the only school to have a motto in Latin, I believe it is the only one pretentious enough to have a motto containing a semicolon.

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