"My tattoo is of an atom, and technically, if those stars are supposed to represent electrons (which they are) then its a helium atom because there are 2 of them. This makes it all the more excellent because really, who doesn't love helium?
Why did I choose to get an atom tattooed on me in the first place though? I had been working hard for 4 years to get my PhD and I had promised myself that I would commemorate that by getting a science based tattoo if I ever passed the viva and finally got ushered into doctordom. But then, I slogged at writing that thesis and when I submitted it I decided it didn't MATTER if I passed or not. Yes, it would certainly be helpful in the grand scheme of things, but for me the tattoo was to celebrate surviving the process of writing the thesis, of getting through those 4 years and working really hard at something that was just for me, that I had done on my own. When I started my PhD I was nervous and unsure of myself, I had very little confidence and I knew even less. By the time I had submitted my thesis I still knew very little and I still don't think I'm as good as all the proper scientists but I felt ok about it! I felt confident about my complete lack of confidence, so whether I got to be a Dr at the end of it or not, I had certainly succeeded at something. I was definitely more of a scientist then I was before, so I deserved my science tattoo.
I looked at lots of designs. I thought about something much more literally related to my project, but I just couldn't find anything beautiful. I looked at DNA helices, but it just wasn't me. At that point I had 3 other tattoos, all of which had a star in them somewhere. Then I saw a design of an atom and I thought about changing the protons and electrons to stars, and it just seemed right. Once I had chosen my design I took it to a lovely man named Jay who owns a tattoo shop called Cardiff Ink that I walked past everyday on my way to university, which seemed appropriate.
This was the first tattoo that I had in a very visible place and that was a bit scary but I love it and have no regrets. And in the end I DID get my PhD and I am, at the moment, the only tattooed Dr in the department!"