Its a lie! Although, my a Professor at Nottingham uni who taugh me about inorganic chemistry looked like this:
Its funny, there are a lot of stereotypes about scientists, but they are usually wrong. The scientists that everyone knows about are geniuses, and so the public tend to think that all scientists are geniuses. This isn’t true either. Its quite funny, because I never introduce myself as a scientist, and people are often surprised when they find out, because I don’t fit their preconcieved ideas. In reality, the majority of scientists don’t fit the stereotype. Just look at the five fine specimies above. We are really quite a normal bunch.
As with all stereotypes, the best thing that can be done to destroy them is to ensure that people never see it being acted out! It is understandable why people see ‘scientists’ in this way – just as we could understand we people have a stereotypical image of, say, a surfer, or a rapper, or a teacher. Many of the most famous scientists have indeed had grey hair and white laboratory coats (which aren’t worn to be trendy – but for cleanliness!).
Hopefully, though, this competition has shown you that science, like any other profession, is populated by people of all shapes, sizes, colours and trendiness. Now, the issue of REAL importance in science (way more important than what people look like, which is completely irrelevant in science) is the ideas that those people come up with, and what contributions they make towards improving people’s lives and finding out about the universe.
Albert Einstein was great and had fantastic hair, but I think it’s a shame that some people think all scientists are like that. All different types of people are scientists and we’re not all stuck in a lab all the time – most of us are just normal people with normal friends who like to work hard when we’re at work and have fun doing other things the rest of the time.
It’s also a shame if the stereotype puts anyone off becoming a scientist. Most of the people I work with are women and I don’t think I work with anyone that looks like the stereotype of a scientist.