Any scientists making a TV appearance in the coming weeks should take five minutes to read the latest Australian econnect newsletter, How scientists are portrayed in the popular media. It would appear the stereotypical image of scientists is still alive and well in Australia and this is in large part because of the media’s portrayal. Twenty years ago, Australians used adjectives such as nerdy, bearded, old, male, unattractive, weird, single and suburban to describe scientists, and not much has changed since then, says Jenni Metcalfe.
But what can be done? Scientists need some help. Some top tips from Australia include simply don’t wear a lab coat unless you really need to, and take the camera to locations outside the lab for interviews. And smile!
And it seems the geeky image could be the most difficult aspect to overcome. Alison Binney compares scientists on the screen now with 50 years ago. The Nutty Professor in 1963 showed a nerdy, slightly crazy and not very attractive chemist. Fast forward 50 years and Abi Sciuto from hit US TV series NCIS is a young, attractive, female…. but still an offbeat goth covered in tattoos and undeniably geeky.
Read more on scientists in the media here, and if you are lucky enough to be on TV this coming week, enjoy!