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Mad scientists aren’t necessarily evil in popular culture these days. I’ve noticed quite a few kid’s books/tv shows/movies which have mad scientists as sympathetic characters:
The “Franny K. Stein” books (very early chapter books)
The movies “Igor” and “Cloudy With a Chance Of Meatballs”
“Dexter’s Laboratory” cartoon.
and I’m pretty sure there are others which I’ve forgotten.
Oh, of course: “Girl Genius” comic strip (free on the web.) (This isn’t aimed at kids, but shouldn’t harm the older ones.)
As much as it may bring science closer to people, I still have the feeling it’s turning science into a branch of the entertainment industry (blowing stuff up) rather than recognising the serious role it has in society.
Bear in mind that the work done on demonstrating man-made climate change, and especially the effort taken in demonstrating that climate deniers are wrong and the UEA didn’t fiddle the figures, was lots of long, hard work that may not be sexy and exciting but was absolutely vital and the way that science really is done.
I suppose I’m going to be labelled a grump now ;)
I don’t know, I think something that gets kids into science at a young age is great, and they will learn later on that science isn’t all about blowing stuff up.
One of the things that really got me interested in science as a kid was Jurassic Park, even though the science in that movie was pretty dodgy, and the message was kind of anti-science.
Look at the Mythbusters. They love blowing stuff up, but they love real science and good methodology, too.
A Mythbuster in training?
@Filias Cupio: I don’t know about you, but I’d consider the Mythbusters mad scientists. They are crazy (in the best way possible) and get paid to blow shit up. Even if the experiment doesn’t call to blow shit up, they still blow shit up. Perhaps they are the most popular mad scientists to have ever existed!
@MarianLibrarian: What you said, about the Mythbusters. They show that you can have fun while also doing science. And what, exactly, is wrong with enjoying a good explosion? Nothing, I say!
‘Explain to idiotic grown-ups how magnets work’.
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