The terms ‘nerd’ and ‘geek’ represent a derogatory stereotype of people who have a hard time fitting in due to an obsession with intellectual interests, physical awkwardness, or a lack of social skills. These qualities are more pronounced in high school when everyone is trying to find their own unique identities while also trying to belong to a social group. In the past, nerds and geeks were, more often than not, shunned, bullied, or treated with contempt.
The concepts of nerd-hood and geek-hood, however, have evolved over time, and people now perceive them somewhat differently. Nerds are apparently the brainier between the two, get straight A grades effortlessly, and choose to be anti-social, not feeling the need to make friends. They are terrible at sports and may even have unsightly skin problems and poor eyesight. Geeks, on the other hand, are more free-spirited and are skilled in hobbies such as computer games, movie scripts, trivia, and sciences. They don’t necessarily have difficulty socializing simply because they belong to a fan base of some pop culture phenomenon such as Star Trek, Cosplay or ‘Dungeons and Dragons.’
The difference between nerds and geeks may be unclear, yet a distinction does exist and mistaking one for the other may result in ruffled feathers and bruised egos. Throughout generations there have been many famous nerds and geeks, some self-professed while others have been labeled as such.
1)Leonardo da Vinci, Nerd
Leonardo da Vinci is widely recognized as one of the greatest artists of all time. He is also regarded as one of the most multi-talented people who ever lived. Being a self-taught person, he gained recognition in different fields such as painting, sculpture, architecture, music, sciences, mathematics, engineering, invention, anatomy, geology, cartography, botany, and literature.
2)Albert Einstein, Nerd
Everyone considers Albert Einstein to be a genius. But to Albert Einstein, school was the last thing on his mind. He hated the process of having to be seated for hours listening to people whom he considered of mediocre intelligence. He also hated sports as a child and complained that sports made him dizzy and tired. He preferred music and would play Mozart sonatas on the violin. He just didn’t fit in; thus he decided to leave school at the age of 15. Through his own efforts, he was able to get the qualifications that he needed to get into college. He was then able to come up with theories such as Special Relativity, Matter and Energy, and General Relativity which led to new discoveries such as the television, space travel, and atomic energy.
3)Stephen Hawking, Nerd
Stephen Hawking, born in England, obtained a degree in physics at Oxford University followed by a Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics at Cambridge University. Hawking, despite being afflicted with a progressive neurological illness which brought about his confinement to a wheelchair for the past decades, is responsible for numerous publications and theories about mathematics, physics, the universe, and black holes. He has also been appointed the same position held at one time by Sir Isaac Newton at Cambridge which is the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics.
4)Bill Gates, Nerd
Bill Gates is a very successful American businessman who is the co-founder of the world’s largest personal computer software company ‘“ Microsoft. He was ranked as the world’s wealthiest man from 1995 to 2009, and remains one of the wealthiest people at present. At an early age, Bill Gates was an avid learner. He loved to read books and was able to finish the entire World Book Encyclopedia series. His parents supported his love of learning by providing him with all the reading materials that he had an interest in. Still, his lack of social skills, rebellious nature, and a domineering character worried them. These qualities later proved to be the cause of his clash with his mother but also consequently led to his success.
5)Mark Zuckerberg, Nerd
Mark Elliot Zuckerberg is an American computer programmer and Internet entrepreneur who became renowned for co-founding the world-famous social networking site, Facebook. In high school, he appeared to be what many would assume is a typical nerd as he was a member of the fencing team, the debate team, cross country clubs, and was even a representative of his school for a Science Olympiad. In February, 2004, while still in college at the University of Harvard, he invented the Facebook phenomenon in the comfort of his own dorm room.
6)Steve Jobs, Geek
Steve Paul Jobs was born in 1955 to young university students who had to give him up for adoption. He was adopted by Paul Reinhold Jobs who was a machinist and Clara Jobs who was an accountant. His parents played a big role in developing his interest in technology. His mother taught him how to read before even entering school, and his father taught him to work on electronics in their family garage at an early age. Like many, Steve Jobs didn’t enjoy the process of formal schooling and soon dropped out of college after 6 months and spent the next 18 months dropping in on creative classes. Steve Jobs co-founded one of the most successful business ventures of all time, the Apple Company, in 1986.
7)Natalie Portman, Geek
Natalie Portman, who was a straight A student in high school, has been active in the movie industry since the age of 12 as seen in her film Leon aka The Professional. She has been able to balance her career as an actress while studying psychology at Harvard. She has also worked as a research assistant in a psychology lab and speaks five different languages including Hebrew, which is her mother tongue. Natalie Portman has also been published twice in professional science journals.
8)Dolph Lundgren, Geek
Dolph Lundgren is a famous actor and director of Swedish descent. He is also an extremely powerful karate black belt, a fact that has earned him many coveted action roles. He supposedly has an IQ of 160 and speaks five languages which are: English, Italian, French, German, and Swedish. He completed his college degree at Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology and pursued a master’s degree in chemical engineering. His intellectual prowess garnered him a Fulbright Scholarship to MIT.
9)Kate Beckinsale, Geek
Kathrin Romary “Kate” Beckinsale is best known as a beautiful and captivating English actress portraying the sword-wielding nemesis of vampires and werewolves. She is not as well known as a literary prodigy who is fluent in several languages including French, Russian, and German. Her love for the literary arts won her recognition for her original short stories and poems and earned her a slot at the Oxford University.
10)Vin Diesel, Geek
Though Vin Diesel always plays tough guys on screen, he is a certified and proud geek. He is a hardcore gamester who has played ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ for more than 20 years. He is into it so much that he even wrote the foreword of a book about the game.
One thing these people have in common is the dedication and discipline to pursue their ambitions. It does not matter what society labels them to be. What matters is that they know who they are and what they want out of life. These so-called nerds and geeks provide us with inspiration and motivation to pursue our passion to the domains of nerd-dom, geek-dom and beyond.