Ignorance, language and the problems of simplification all contributed in making the scientist appear remote (even foreign) and divorced from everyday life. In popular fiction this would lead almost inevitably to the stereotype with which we are now so familiar. Almost to a man (and they were all men) scientists were portrayed as, at best, unemotional and detached, and, at worst, inhuman and insane. Mindless of everyday affairs, fictional scientists were eccentric, unpunctual, slovenly, scruffy. They were cantankerous and short-tempered. Their precision was the precision of the pedant. They actively connived the deaths of others, failed to see the dangerous implications of their work, or were indifferent to the suffering that their research might cause. Lusting after fame or fortune, their dedication often became warped into an obsession leading them from one act of inhumanity to another.


Scientific Practice Fictional Scientist Popular Fiction Thinking Machine Moral Efficacy 
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Copyright information

© Peter Broks 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Broks
    • 1
  1. 1.University of the West of EnglandBristolUK

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