My answer is a big, fat NO! The stereotype scientist is a boring man in a white coat who is obsessed by numbers and experiments.
But my lab coat is green… 😉
Seriously – I hate the stereotype because I think it’s so off-putting. For one thing there are lots of women scientists who are every bit as smart. For another, scientists are a much more varied and interesting bunch that you could imagine. I hope you have got some sense of that from chatting to the 5 scis in this zone.
On of the reasons I want to make a video about science and scientists is to help fight off this stereotype – to show that scientists really are as varied as cheese!
No I think people have some very odd ideas about scientists, which is one of the reasons I am doing I’m A Scientist. We can be odd, but mainly in the same ways as everyone else. The only way in which the stereotype is accurate is that many scientists are a bit, well, “geeky”. We enjoy thinking about questions like the ones on this site (even things like “could pigs ever fly?”, which probably seem like a joke), and we actually quite like it when we don’t know the answer (because it means there’s a new mystery to solve). When I go for coffee with my friends at work, we often end up talking about something like “why are leaves green?” or the latest thing (from my colleague Peter Thompson) “why do upside down faces look less fat?” (try it). Apparently my face is very good for this.
Well, I don’t think I’m mad, white haired, and I’ve never worn a bowtie. I have a number of friends, too. I DO think that the stereotypes mean that lots of people don’t think they would make good scientists, but in my experience the vast majority of scientists are pretty normal.