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May 25th was designated Nerd Pride Day / Geek Pride Day in 2006 in Spain. Since then, it has spread through blogs to the rest of the world. This year there will be physical gatherings, special programs on The Science Channel, and general internet euphoria. We suggest wearing something very nerdy. Every day.

To us, nerdiness means appreciation and understanding of science, mathematics, and technology. We nerds appreciate the beauty of art and nature, but also the elegance of powerful ideas. We think the world becomes more wondrous and more interesting as we understand more of it.

Sometimes nerdiness is expressed professionally, but you don’t have to be a scientist to enjoy science, as shown by the strong popularity of the Discovery Channel, NOVA, and other programs aimed at the interested public. We’re big fans of some areas of science we didn’t study in school.

There is a negative connotation to nerdiness in society, which associates weaknesses to every strength. Attractive people are assumed to be stupid. Strong people are assumed to be clumsy. Intellectuals must be antisocial and weak. These stereotypes are sometimes right, and sometimes wrong. We celebrate the positive aspects of nerdiness, and reject the negative connotations as wishful thinking of the insecure.

In some parts of the English-speaking world, nerd carries the good meanings, and geek carries the bad. In other parts, the reverse is true. To us, a geek is more specialized while a nerd is more general, and both are positive.

We’ve designed a special Nerd Pride shirt featuring the (visible) electromagnetic spectrum. The electromagnetic spectrum is a familiar sight from physics texts from elementary school through graduate school, since light is the most important tool we have for investigating the world. Coincidentally, rainbow flags have been used by numerous movements (indigenous peoples, cooperatives, peace/anti-nuclear, gay/lesbian/bi/transgender, etc.), often to symbolize pride in diversity or hope. As wonderful as we find Weird Al Yankovic’s “White and Nerdy” song, nerds are found in all colors, in all walks of life, and with all educational backgrounds.

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