Science Ink – Carl Zimmer

Every once in a while (as in, all the time) you could hear me with friends wondering when someone was going to do a tattoo book of all the totally amazing science-based tattoos out there. You see this more and more; tattoos are often inspired by people’s love for a medium or a discipline- Egon Schiele paintings, Edward Gorey illustrations, Audubon birds, quotes from favorite books, beautiful and intricate recreations of moments, obsessions, and inspirations. Little did I know that Carl Zimmer had been slowly but steadily collecting amazing images of science related tattoos on his blog The Loom. I think I might actually have squealed when I saw this book in Sterling’s fall catalog. It’s as if someone came up to me and said “what are your favorite things?” and I said, “science, art, books, and tattoos” and they said “DONE!” and handed me this book.  Let me emphasize this. Carl Zimmer totally won. He did it. He created my perfect book. It’s not just a book of science tattoos, it’s a book of beautiful science tattoos (all the images have been touched up to adjust for bad lighting, then mildly stylized to give a cohesiveness to them not usually seen in a tattoo book), but there are short essays about the science behind each one and the stories of the people who have them. There is even a photographic index in the back of the book to help you quickly find a specific tattoo! The only complaint I have about this book is that tattooers are not identified. It is always a shame to see a wonderful photograph of an expertly executed tattoo with no credits. Nonetheless, it is a fantastic book that I cannot possibly recommend enough to all science and/or tattoo lovers!

Science Ink
Carl Zimmer
Hardcover with color illustrations and text


Janina Larenas is the book buyer for the New Book Department. She is a printmaker and book artist who works with a variety of mediums to create narrative imagery. Her pieces range from stickers and posters to science illustration, embroidery to zines, often merging technical crafts with fine art presentation.