Posted by: thediygeochemist | March 9, 2011


A friend and I were talking today about obsessive compulsive disorder. She claimed she was OC about some things and I said I had definite tendencies towards that in completely unrelated areas.

I’ve been thinking about it since then and I’m wondering if all scientists are a bit obsessive in some fashion or another?

My friend MUST have her desk organized. Absolutely everything must be in its place. Same with her house.

Dr. Hand-Waver’s last student, T, was obsessive in lab–for example, he had to invert all flasks the same number of times to make sure everything was mixed “exactly the same.” (I never understood this–it doesn’t matter whether you invert the thing 10 times or 11. If it’s well mixed, it’s well mixed, right?)

I don’t care much about my desk. I generally don’t count when mixing solutions. But I am absolutely freakish about things like the appearance of my homework–typing would probably be best for me (even for equations), because I have been known to erase, re-write, re-erase, re-re-write, etc. in order to get things looking readable.

Note that I know from doing homework with classmates that my handwriting is more readable than many of theirs. However, when I was in second grade, I frequently got problems marked wrong because of my bad handwriting. At some point I swore it would never happen again.

I wonder if every obsession is rooted in a bad experience, or if some obsessions are completely illogical?



  1. as an OCD sufferer, I would say what your talking about is more OCPD (Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder) tendencies than OCD… OCD is a disorder filled with tormenting thoughts and the inability to not do certain things to counteract the thoughts even if they actions are illogical.. just to let you know 🙂

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