The evolution of the geek (infographic)

6 Jul 2013

The cast of the TV comedy The Big Bang Theory portrays the lives of geeks (from left) Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg), Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki), non-geek Penny (Kaley Cuoco), Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) and Rajesh Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar)

Geeks have gone from one end of the cool spectrum to the other in the past few decades and a new infographic explores just how geeks have gone from fool to cool.

The infographic published by Flowtown on begins by explaining that in the 1500s, the term ‘geek’ referred to someone considered a fool. It wasn’t until several centuries later, in the 1950s, that the word became associated with the stereotype of an intellectual obsessed with maths, science or technology, who wore glasses and always had a couple of pens in his shirt pocket.

That 1950s geek gave rise to a geekdom that encompasses all kinds of geeks – computer geeks, internet geeks, food geeks, and comic book geeks, for example.

And those glasses and shirts with pockets full of pens? Nowadays, the style has been tweaked a little and become popular with hipsters, according to the infographic.

The Big Bang Theory cast photo via Wikimedia Commons


Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic