A generation ago, a profusion of tattoos often indicated a dangerous person. But today, University of California, Santa Cruz, chemistry lecturer Randa E. Roland says her abundant ink makes her approachable. “I’m kind of the chemistry ambassador around town,” Roland says. Her prolific ink “opens up a lot of conversations about chemistry.”
It started a little more than five years ago, when Roland, now 44, realized that she could spell her name in element symbols. “So I started small, with my name spelled out on my lower back in boxes like those on a periodic table,” she says. “I would mention that in class, and the students would start looking at the periodic table. I’d get e-mails saying, ‘I can spell my name, too!’
“Then I waited a little bit and thought, ‘Y’know, I have other ideas …’ ”
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