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LOS ANGELES – JANUARY 19: Nichelle Nichols as Lt. Nyota Uhura in the STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES episode, ‘Arena.’ Original air date January 19, 1967. Image is a screen grab. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

8. Uhura (Star Trek)

Yes, we know that Lieutenant Uhura is the object of many Star Trek nerds’ fascination. But have you ever considered that the Enterprise communications officer is a big nerd herself?

Consider the evidence. Uhura (originally played by Nichelle Nichols) is a xenolinguistics expert. First, do you even know what xenolinguistics is? Just passing that initial test puts you in a different level of geekery altogether (it’s the study of alien languages, by the way).

Second, imagine the kind of study and effort that goes into learning the frameworks of many, many different languages. There’s no way you can be intellectually lazy in this field. In fact, xenolinguistics is presumably so specific that you’ve got to be a nerd to pick it as your major.

Also, check out the book Uhura’s Song to back up my argument. In it, she teams up with Spock to save a planet of cat-like aliens from certain destruction, using the power of music. Seriously. And it’s not just a wishy-washy version relying on “the power of art” (a concept that’s important in real life, but often lamely communicated in fiction itself). Uhura uses science and her own skill to rescue countless lives. Along with her linguistic expertise, she also uses her perfect pitch and eidetic memory to save the day.

It’s worth noting here that Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhura in television and film, has advocated for many nerd-adjacent causes. She’s done quite a bit of work for NASA, particularly in recruiting women and POC into its astronaut program.