After all, the time-honored tradition of nerds being picked on and socially shunned has been passed down through generations of pop culture. And the 31.3 million viewers tuned into London's Olympic Games Sunday night shows that, even in the adult world, jocks reign supreme in the public eye.
Or do they?
While millions watched the athletes across the puddle, millions of eyes also were staring into the mission control at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. as a team of the world's top-reigning nerds guided a multibillion dollar, one-ton piece of equipment to a safe landing more than 350 million miles away.
And by Monday night, the Internet was alive with acknowledgement to the brains behind the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity.
Flight director Bobak Ferdowski became an overnight sensation, though more because of his maroon, star-spangled Mohawk than his skill at landing Curiosity precisely where it was supposed to be. The Mohawk Man's account on the social media site, Twitter, leapt from about 200 followers to more than 20,000 in a matter of hours.
“If my Mohwak gets a few more people excited about science and this mission, then that's awesome,” Ferdowski said in an interview with whatstrending.com co-founder Shira Lazar. “That's what it's all about.”
The red planet's visitor itself found quite a following as well, grabbing more than 740,000 followers on Twitter. That's less than half the number uber-Olympian Michael Phelps has at more than 1.6 million.
It's estimated about 500 million people tuned in to see the Eagle perch on that alabaster surface. But that came at a time when NASA wasn't facing massive budget cuts and American nationalism was like an Olympic bodybuilder: robust and nearly bursting out of its skin.
The numbers really speak for themselves, though —people are paying attention to what happens a long, long way from home
PBS Newshour correspondent Miles O'Brien summed up the public reaction to the mission during Monday night's regular broadcast.
“Last night surpassed any records we can imagine on Internet access to a news event,” he said. “What is so exciting about this is … you and I have access to the same data at virtually the same time as the scientists do. We can all be on Mars at the same time.”
And on a side note: Aug. 7 marked the 40th anniversary of Apollo 16's return from the moon, the next to last manned mission to the lunar surface.
So, on behalf of the world and arm-chair scientists everywhere: nerds, you rock and people know it.