As 2015 draws to a close, it's a time to answer the question burning in everyone's mind: Who won Twitter this year? Undeniably, it was scientists.
Throughout the year, scientists rallied together on social media using hashtags in solidarity of a number of issues and even just to do some good old-fashioned outreach about the topics they study and love so dearly.
Here are the top 7 hashtags led by scientists during 2015:
An 8-year-old girl in England went shoe shopping this year and found the kicks of her dreams, only to discover that the dinosaur shoes she wanted were only made for boys and wouldn't fit her feet. The letter she wrote to the shoe store went viral and female scientists began rallying behind her, encouraging her interest in paleontology. They started taking pictures of the shoes they wear to work and tagging them with #InMyShoes to highlight how girls need all kinds of shoes to follow their dreams.
Many scientists have been working hard to overcome the boys club that has notoriously plagued many scientific fields. The stark reality of the situation was made clear when Tim Hunt, a Nobel Laureate known for his biochemistry work in cell regulation, told a Korean journalist that men and women shouldn't work in the same lab. His reasoning? "Let me tell you about my trouble with girls … three things happen when they are in the lab … You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you and when you criticize them, they cry."
Female scientists responded to Hunt's incredible comments in the cheekiest way possible, by taking pictures of themselves at work and remarking how #DistractinglySexy women doing science really are.
When an engineering firm posted a billboard featuring photos of its employees, it didn't take long for some to comment that one particular individual didn't look like she fit in, with some speculating that she didn't even work there. Instead of conforming to the stereotype that engineers are either male or ugly, this woman looked like a model. She took to social media to stand up for her abilities by posting a picture of herself tagged with #ILookLikeAnEngineer and it didn't take long for other brainy beauties to follow.
This particular hashtag may not have had the sense of social justice that the others did, but it was one of the most memorable moments of science outreach of the year. Scientists need to know a lot about the reproductive organs of the animals they study, as mating is a fundamental part of every animal's life. Additionally, knowing a lot about mating is beneficial to conserving species when they are threatened. Scientists on Twitter started a #JunkOff, trying to see which animal had the most impressive hardware.
Shortly after #JunkOff, scientists switched gears and started the hunt for the most adorable animal, proving the internet is really just about genitals and cute animal pictures. The #CuteOff was the first competition ever in which everyone who entered, and everyone who viewed the pictures, were all winners.
While scientists are normally revered as being suave, careful, and brilliant, #FieldWorkFail was an important reminder that even the most intelligent members of our species are people who are capable of having a bad day now and again. These tales from collecting data out in the field were hilarious.
Scientists who discover a species previously unknown to science have the honor of naming their new creature, which will be how they are officially referred to in scientific literature for the rest of time. However, common names are different. They're colloquial terms for an animal that can vary by region, and are sometimes wildly inaccurate
Which was your favorite hashtag of the year? Let us know in the comments!