Request for information about left-handed geologists

I’m a cack-handed sinister southpaw and the chances are surprisingly high that you are too.

At University, about 40% of my peers studying Earth Sciences were left-handed. Faculty professors confirmed that this was normal, based on their experience of teaching geologists over the decades. This is of course an unusually high proportion. No, correction, this is an incredibly high proportion. A random selection of people would have around 10% of left-handers.

If Geologists are genuinely four times as likely to be left-handed then this is a remarkably strong pattern and someone should take a look into it. I emailed an academic psychologist of my acquaintance and he agreed that this merited more research. He seemed interested in talking more about how to make it happen.

So the first thing is, I need to improve the quality of my anecdotal evidence. My experience may be a statistical fluke, so I need your help. Are you a left-handed or right-handed geologist? In particular, if you teach geology to students, are they unusually prone to cack-handedness?

I reckon a mere minute of your time (“hands-up if you’re left-handed”) would provide me with some solid data, which I’ll collate and publish here. I’m thinking “x of y students from z were sinistrals”. Assuming a strong pattern holds I’ll then do my best to get some research happening. My current thinking is that this will involve match-making between someone involved in psychology research and others with access to geology students. I have various ideas of how to make this happen but would love to hear more.

I’m very excited about this, it’s the sort of thing that the Internet is for. A small amount of time from a lot of you could be the start of something rather good. Please comment away below. Or go to this simple form.

NB, I’ve collated the results of your replies; with more data, the pattern still holds.

Categories: sinister

Comments (17)

  1. Mika says:

    Geophysics, right-handed.

  2. Southern Geologist says:

    I don’t have access to geology students to help you out (geology student myself, interrupted), but I can say that I’m left handed if this is of any benefit to you.

  3. Gareth says:

    Volcanology/petrology PhD student, right handed

  4. Jessica Ball says:

    Just in case you didn’t catch it on Twitter, I’m a primarily right-handed volcanologist, although I use my left hand for eating and any craft that I learned from my mother (who is left-handed). I suspect the left-handed eating came from sitting next to her at meals and not wanting to bump elbows all the time.

  5. Silver Fox says:

    Dominantly right handed, some left handed tendencies.

  6. mxfg says:

    PhD student, right handed.

  7. Chris Rowan says:

    A quick poll on Twitter seems to support your observations, although the sample size is small (24 people):

    There also seem to be a lot of people who are either ambidextrous or mixed-handed – I wonder if there’s something noteworthy in that, too?

  8. Garry Hayes says:

    I am of the sinistral handers, the left type. It’s kind of funny because I was just talking about sinistral and dextral shear in a faulting lab and asked the class how many were left-handed, and had just 2 out of 30.

  9. kdg says:

    Left-dominant ambidextrous, undergraduate. Of the 35 fully-qualified geologists I’ve encountered, I know 6 to be left-handed, and within classes the proportion varies between one-eighth and one-fifth, depending on the unit.

  10. Sally says:

    Geology undergrad. Right handed.

  11. Right handed structural geologist

  12. Saranne says:

    Sample of two: I am a right handed structural geologist, My husband was a left-handed petroleum geologist.

  13. David Vaz says:

    Geology undergrad, I am right handed as are 10 of my classmates..hope that helps..

  14. aldo says:

    also in italy there is almost one left handed geologist. I am also a geoblogger.

  15. Tim says:

    Geology undergrad. I use both my left and my right, e,g; I write and eat with my left, but throw a ball and swing a hammer with my right.

  16. I was very pleased to find this post.I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you favourited to check out the revolutionary issues you wrote.

  17. unnikrishnan says:

    I write and eat with my right hand and throw a ball and swing hammer with left. But i am doing my PG Programme now

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