Created By: Floria on June 3, 2013 Last Edited By: Floria on June 6, 2013
Nuked

Kid Scientist

A child character who is a scientist and/or inventor.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
A Kid Scientist is young (early teens or below) and has an interest in science that goes beyond simply learning about their favorite field. Kid Scientists are distinguished from other bright, nerdy children because they don't just know a lot about their area of interest, they are, in some way, active participants. They do research, perform experiments, or build Homemade Inventions in their bedrooms.

The Kid Scientist is usually a young Science Hero, but less-sympathetic portrayals are possible. For the sake of being interesting to the audience, their exploits tend to be on the flashy side, and Mad Science is not out of the question.

A Kid Scientist is often a Child Prodigy or a Teen Genius, but it's not required. They may be Innocent Prodigies, Adorably Precocious Children, or Constantly Curious.


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Professor Shinonome from Nichijou is an Innocent Prodigy who built two working robots and invented a scarf that gives animals the power of speech. The only time we ever see her not wearing a lab coat is when she's in her pajamas.

Comics

Film - Animated

Literature
  • The protagonists of the Mushroom Planet books manage, with a small amount of adult assistance, to build a working spaceship and fly it to one of Earth's satellites.

Live-Action TV

Webcomics
  • Jade Harley in Homestuck "dabbles in nuclear physics." Probably several other Homestuck characters would qualify.

Western Animation
Community Feedback Replies: 14
  • June 3, 2013
    Arivne
    May be a Teen Genius as well.

    Western Animation
  • June 4, 2013
    Skylite
    • The new Hellfire Club in Wolverine And The X Men has a genius Mad Scientist who is the youngest descendant of the Frankenstein line.
    • Dexter also has his kid nemesis Mandark, who is also a Mad Scientist genius in his own right.
    • Penny from Clue Club was the tech and computer genius for the older mystery solving kids.
  • June 4, 2013
    sgamer82
    • Professor Shinonome from Nichijou is an Innocent Prodigy who built two working robots and invented a scarf that gives animals the power of speech. The only time we ever see her not wearing a lab coat is when she's in her pajamas.
  • June 4, 2013
    JohnnyCache
    Live Action TV
  • June 4, 2013
    crazysamaritan
    Omnidisciplinary Scientist + kid ?

    I mean, it happens, but so does sitting. What makes Sid The Science Kid a trope?
  • June 4, 2013
    Floria
    I thought that since "children who do implausibly awesome things with SCIENCE!" tend to fill a slightly different narrative niche than adult Science Heroes or non-scientifically-inclined children, and the flashier examples are a lot more common in fiction than in reality, that this was tropeable.
  • June 4, 2013
    xanderiskander
    Webcomic
    • Cucumber Quest: Cosmo is a giggling, kid inventor who always seems to randomly show up only to put a wrench in the heroes plans. His inventions, and modifications to their modes of travel always end up putting the heroes in impending danger. Usually with them being unwilling participants in field testing his experiments.
  • June 5, 2013
    foxley
    Dogstar has two such characters: Lincoln on the side of the good guys, and Feniwck working for the villains.
  • June 5, 2013
    crazysamaritan
    First, "implausibly awesome" isn't in your description. That would make Sid The Science Kid NOT an example, because his scientific activities are all plausible.

    Secondly, what is the different role the child scientist plays? It isn't described anywhere. Of course a Science Hero is different from an Action Hero (except when they're both). How does being a kid make Dexter different from Farnsworth?
  • June 5, 2013
    xanderiskander
    ^ The kid scientist is used to do cool things with technology and science while also relating to a child audience (it's easier for kids to relate to someone around their age). They often have the kid scientist find technological ways of solving common problems kids have to deal with. In the cases of Dexter and Jimmy Neutron their experiments usually go wrong and cause even bigger problems, with them having to return everything to normal by the end of the episode, and then learning an Aesop about growing up.

    Adult scientists don't relate to kids in the same way, at all because they're older, aren't having any of the same problems, and generally adult Science heroes are characters kids are supposed to either look up to or they're supposed laugh at them because they're Adults Instead of seeing shades of themselves in the character.

    Or in the case of Farnsworth he's used to relate to an Adult audience because that's the kind of work he's in.

    It's tropable for the same reason Teen Genius is tropable. Plus the OP can just edit the description to account for this. That's why we go through ykttw anyway, to get suggestions for the draft until it's finalized.

  • June 5, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Western Animation
  • June 5, 2013
    crazysamaritan
    ^^in response;

    Teen Genius does more than just lower the age of the character. Keep in mind that Teen Genius isn't a younger version of Omnidisciplinary Scientist, but a younger version of TV Genius. (A TV Genius isn't always an Omnidisciplinary Scientist) Child Prodigy is a separate sub-trope of TV Genius because they don't have teenage "angst", and are clearly children, not children on the verge of becoming adults. Brainy Baby is a subtrope of that because the child is still in diapers.

    TV Genius is played separate from the Teen Genius because of the associated unsocial skills being used more for adults than for teens. Teens and younger have specific behaviors that the writers associate with people of that age which trump the poor social skills of a TV Genius or Absent Minded Professor.

    Just because someone makes a ykttw doesn't make it a trope. That's why I'm challenging the trope. Accourding to Floria, Sid The Science Kid is not this trope, but accourding to the description, it is. If a good argument can be made for a new trope, rather than just Just For Fun/Troperithmetic of X + Y = Nu Trope, I'll stop.

    You just told me tha Farnsworth is not fulfilling a different role by being an adult, when it comes to the science. That's like "Long Hair" plus "Badass" == Badass Longhair. That trope got fixed. The two tropes have to overlap for it to be a NEW trope, instead of a Recycled Trope.

    Dexter and Jimmy don't have aesops about maturing. That's one of the reasons I don't like their series.
  • June 6, 2013
    Chernoskill
    Data in The Goonies follows in his inventor father's footsteps and has a wide range of contraptions in his jacket that he uses to help the group escape from danger, although it more often than not makes things worse.
  • June 6, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In the Get Smart episode "The Mysterious Dr. T" Dr. T, who has invented the Omega Deltroid Solatron Mark II, is a ten-year-old kid.
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