What's the difference between a geek and a nerd? I've had this conversation many times and have never gotten a satisfactory answer. 'Geek' and 'nerd' are often used to describe those interested in math, science, and engineering. I recently came across this video from the 2009 Freshman Convocation event in which Professor Jim Kakalios from the College of Science and Engineering's physics and astronomy department discusses the difference.
Professor Kakalios actually encourages every incoming U of M freshman to become both a geek and a nerd during their time in college. He defines the terms, saying that geeks and nerds exist in every discipline.
A geek, according to Professor Kakalios, is a person who is incredibly passionate and interested in one subject. All of our new students should become geeks. You should be excited to learn and do research in your field!
A nerd is someone who is very smart. We want to cultivate our students' minds so you are on the leading edge of your field when you graduate.
The combination of these, a geek and a nerd, is what all of our students should aspire to be, whether you are going to be an aerospace engineer or a professional dancer.
Freshman Convocation is a component of a week-long orientation we have for incoming freshman called Welcome Week. This year's convocation will be on Thursday, September 2. At convocation, our freshman class is officially welcomed to the U of M by President Bruininks and faculty members, staff, and current students.