Two pen and ink drawings of tattoos – one a disembodied arm (belonging to a thief who was exiled from France) and the other the torso of a deserter from the French navy. This year I am hosting an event at the British Science Festival called “ Tattoos for Time Travellers ”. It’s a thought experiment, which poses the following scenario: Imagine that we’re about to send you back in time. You can’t take anything with you (not even your clothes!), but we do have an amazing tattooist, and she’ll write or draw anything you want on your body before you go. What information do you need to survive, to thrive, to change the future? Will you be hailed as a genius or burnt as a witch? Use your ink wisely! The festival is hosted this year by the University of Birmingham, and if you’re around on 6 Saturday you can drop in to the festival pub, the Flask and Bunsen, between 6 and 8pm to chat or debate about your tattoo scheme. Even if you’re not lucky enough to be coming to the festival, you can still take part by commenting here, or by tweeting your ideas with the hashtag #BSFtattoos.
Some tweeters have already come up with some great ideas, and some hints and tips for would-be time travellers. It would depend how far back you go and I think a diagram that would be tough to remember would better than an equation. #BSFTattoos — Erik M. Gregersen (@erikgregersen) August 27, 2014 @ScienceShowoff @BritishSciFest Ah, now I’ve thought about this one a lot over the last 30 years. It would have to be "NOW WASH YOUR HANDS". — Sarah Castell (@sarahcastell) August 27, 2014 Going back in time I would have the words "design a tiny weaving machine for coloured rubber bands" tattooed on me. #bsftattoos — Science Showoff (@ScienceShowoff) August 27, 2014 …although some people have been sceptical about the safety of […]