Are you a NERD? I know that I am, and I have my suspicions about some of your moosies! However, as an empiricist, I realize that nerdiness, like many other human qualities, is often a matter of degrees. Not the sort of degrees one gets in college, mind you, but something that can be measured, allowing us to compare ourselves on a continuum.
With this in mind, I have resurrected the Nerd Quotient Test from my files. I cannot claim authorship of this document, but remain profoundly grateful that a fellow geologist shared it with me many years ago. You may notice that some of the questions are a bit dated. Please feel free to adapt them to your circumstances and prevailing technologies.
Test scoring: Each question is in two parts. If you answer “yes” to the first part, give yourself one point. If you answer “yes” to the second part, give yourself an extra two points. The total number of points determines your percentage of nerdiness, up to 100%. You already have a head start of one point just for reading this far. If you stop now without taking the test, add 99 points.
1. Has anyone ever called you a nerd? Did you take it as a compliment?
2. Have you ever taken a course in statistics or calculus? As an elective?
3. Do people ask you for definitions or synonyms for difficult words? Even when they have a dictionary or thesaurus within reach?
4. Do you (or did you) sit in the front row at school most of the time? And arrive early to get the best seat?
5. Have you ever used a “system” for taking class notes? Did you create that system yourself?
6. Were you tormented in high school (stuffed into a toilet, made to wear “kick me” signs, etc.) by the jocks? By other nerds?
7. Do you know Avogadro’s number? Did you ever put it on the back of an athletic shirt thinking it would be funny?
8. Do you use a computer for four hours or more every day? Including weekends?
9. Do you prefer computers to humans? Including the person with whom you are having an intimate relationship?
10. Did the phrase “intimate relationship” make you blush? Or did you wonder what qualifies as an intimate relationship?
11. Have you ever owned a Star Trek gizmo (tricorder, fake ears, ship model, etc.)? And a uniform?
12. Can you outline the plot of six or more Star Trek episodes? Do you ever come up with script alternatives because “Spock would never say that?
13. Have you ever taken Latin? Do you enjoy using it in everyday conversation?
14. Have you ever told a joke about chemistry or physics? Did most or all of your friends get it?
15. Do you attend parties where most of the guests have advanced science degrees? Do you host them?
16. Have you ever analyzed a fake food (Twinkies, Cheez Whiz, etc.) for chemical content? And then eaten it?
17. Do you have a pet ferret, iguana, alligator, tarantula, or snake? Did you name your pet after a Nobel laureate?
18. Have you played Dungeons & Dragons in the last year? With the same people you’ve played with for two years or more?
19. Can you convert Fahrenheit to Centigrade in your head? Do you find yourself doing so unconsciously?
20. Is your SAT math score 600 or more? Is it higher than your SAT verbal score?
21. Do you own a T-shirt with a picture of Einstein on it? Do you wear it with a suit?
22. Do you wear button-down shirts with the tails out? Over shorts?
23. Do you wear glasses? Do they change colors outdoors?
24. Do you have a slide rule? And know how to use it?
25. Do you know what a font is? Do you know what font you’re reading now?
26. Have you ever owned a chemistry set? Since the age of 12?
27. Have you ever browsed through Radio Shack?
On a date?
28. Do you wear a digital watch? With built-in calculator?
29. Have you ever read the dictionary or encyclopedia for fun? Cover to cover?
30. Do you play chess? Do you read books about chess?
31. Do you own a pocket protector? Are you wearing it now?
32. Do you have friends on the Internet? Are they your best friends?
33. Is your IQ a) greater than your weight, or b) constant to your weight in the same ratio as your eyeglass prescription over pi? Did you actually try, even for just a moment, to calculate the answer to that question?
There are no unacceptable outcomes on this test, nor is it an accurate predictor of your success in any nerd-related endeavors. It’s simply intended for your own amazement, so feel free to post your Nerd Quotient in the comments, annotated with footnotes, supplemented with supporting documentation, and peer reviewed.