From the founding fathers in the 18th century to Star Wars and Rick & Morty, understand how this tribe of brilliant and unusual people have reached the pinnacle of pop culture
Nerd, geek, otaku, dork, poindexter. None of these terms existed a hundred years ago. However, individuals who share these characteristics–high IQ, bad social skills, acute obsessions with particular topics, an affinity for math or science–have lived among us since long before their creation.
The biographer and writer Tom Schachtman, in Gentlemen Scientists and Revolutionaries: The Founding Fathers in the Age of Enlightenment, gathers data that illustrate how some of the so-called 'founding fathers' in the United States in the 18th century, such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, were geeks of the technological world, polymaths obsessed with research and inventions who had little time for things like family or "normal" friends.
Today, nerds come in all shapes and sizes, from the classic computer geek to the anime obsessed otaku, and the school nerd boffin. While they were ridiculed when they were younger, many are now leaders of industry, superstars, and billionaires associated with entrepreneurship, discipline, and professional success.
This Geek Pride Day, a celebration that began in Spain and has now spread across the world, we look at ten key moments in geek culture, from its prehistory in the 18th century to today.
1. The Founding Fathers