Labcoat of Science and Medicine
"Fear not, lab coat fans! This comic isn't the last we've seen of lab coats and the wearing thereof. There are of the utmost importance in a lab / basement where they have yet to be seen ever working with hazardous chemicals."
In media, there are two sorts of people who wear labcoats; scientists, and medical doctors. As such, a character wearing a lab coat is a good indication that they're involved in either science (and/or Mad Science!
), or a medical field. This is despite the fact that in real life doctors and scientists do not normally wear such coats unless there is a reason that they need to keep their clothes clean. In media, this coat is almost always white.
A subtrope of the Labcoat of Science and Medicine is the Mad Scientist Lab Coat which is typically the Howie-style lab coat with the asymmetrical front panel and the high, stiff collar. This style of full-coverage lab coat, designed to minimize pathogen contact with street clothing, has long been associated with esoterically-minded scientists
from Dr. Frankenstein
to Dr. Horrible, and is pretty much a clear sign that its wearer doesn't care about such silly things as medical ethics boards while he Gets Shit Done. Another marker of Science-Related Memetic Disorder
is when the coat (Howie-style, or otherwise) is particularly ragged, tattered, stained with unknown substances and full of holes burned by acid, lightning or god knows what else; this is a clear sign that the wearer experiments with dangerous stuff, doesn't care about either safety or appearance (in Real Life
, chemists tend to replace damaged coats with new ones as soon as possible).
Supertrope to Dressed to Heal
which also requires a stethoscope and a head mirror. Compare Einstein Hair
, another classic visual cue that screams "Science person!"
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Anime and Manga
- Hokuto , the token labcoat guy of his team from Bt X, is a person who actually does BOTH science and medicine.
- Shinra from Durarara!!, who is noted even by the other characters for not taking that coat off, ever.
- Icchan from Angelic Layer, who really is a scientist, but most people associate his outfit with "pervert/weirdo."
- Proffesor Tomoe from Sailor Moon wears one of these in all of his appearances, even in his own house. It's meant to emphasize his Mad Scientist status.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Ritsuko wears one, being in charge of NERV's medical facilities, alongside being the local Omnidisciplinary Scientist. Naoko and Yui apparently wore them as well, both having high qualifications in meta-physical biology.
- All the regional professors in the Pokémon franchise wear these coats.
- Kakei of Drug & Drop runs a pharmacy and has the lab coat to match. What's less clear is whether he is an actual pharmacist or not.
- In Nichijou, the Child Prodigy Professor wears an oversized lab coat and tie. Science teacher Kana Nakamura simply wears one over her regular clothing.
- Okabe Rintarou (or rather HOUOUIN KYOUMA!!), the hammy protagonist and self-proclaimed Mad Scientist of Steins;Gate, naturally always wears one of those.
- So does Makise Kurisu. When seeing her wear a lab coat, Okabe decides that they make a pose and it was EPIC
- Lyrical Nanoha
- Resident Large Ham Mad Scientist and Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S Big Bad Doctor Jail Scaglietti is rarely ever seen without one. At least, until he was finally arrested and imprisoned.
- This became part of Shamal's uniform after she became a medical officer for the TSAB. Fellow TSAB personnel Mariel Atenza also wears one as part of her uniform, although in her case, she's the head of the precision engineering section.
- Just to remind the audience that he's a scientist as well a resistance soldier, Kill la Kill's Aikuro Mikisugi will occasionally don a labcoat. An open labcoat. And nothing else.
- Axis Powers Hetalia:
- Early in the series, a scientist who was giving a lecture was shown wearing one.
- Germany wore a white lab coat when he was researching a substitute for coffee.
- In Daredevil #324 Dr. Morbius puts on a labcoat specifically because it helps him thinks like a scientist he says. In Punisher v7 #11 he wears a Mad Scientist Labcoat when stitching back together Frank Castle who had been chopped to pieces by Daken, and turns him into a Frankenstein's Monster.
- Another Marvel Comics example: This is the standard attire of Spider-Man villain The Lizard.
- Not only do Dr. Sivana and his children, Professor Edgewise, and most of the other myriad good/evil scientists in the original Captain Marvel comics wear these, they're bizarrely never seen taking them off.
- The standard uniform of every Technician, the caste who keep society's machines and computers, and thus, society, functioning in Robert Westall's Futuretrack Five is the classic white labcoat, buttoned in different ways to differentiate between grades of Tech.
- Invoked by Dr. Sandrisson in Grand Central Arena, whose usual outfit is a white suit of which the coat is tailored to resemble a lab coat.
- In Heart Of Steel, Alistair wears Howie-style lab coats almost exclusively until he very end, when he has manufactured exactly one steampunk-style suit for a formal dinner, plus another to visit the grave of his beloved.
Live Action TV
- Practically every character on a CSI series wears a labcoat at one point or another, for the scientist version. And sometimes it's a double, with characters like Doc Robbins and Ray Langston on regular CSI or Dr.Hawkes and Sid Hammerbeck on CSI NY. Sort of. Although they *are* that kind of doctor, and have been known in some cases to treat colleagues, they aren't actually practicing medicine.
- Dr. Beverly Crusher, from Star Trek: The Next Generation, is rarely seen without her blue labcoat.
- Averted by Dr. House, who regularly refused to wear his lab coat. In Princeton-Plainsboro, labcoats are the biggest visual indicator that any given character with whom you're unfamiliar is a doctor and not a nurse or an orderly, as their policy is that doctors need to wear labcoats.
- Noah's Arc: When Ricky wakes up in the hospital, he sees Junito (who is wearing his labcoat for the first time). The presence of the labcoat lets Ricky know that Junito's there as a doctor, not a visitor, and something serious must've happened to him.
- The X-Files: Agent Dana Scully wears scrubs and/or a labcoat whenever she performs an autopsy. She's the scientist and sceptic of the Dynamic Duo.
- NCIS has forensic scientist Abby Sciuto (science sub-type) and Chief Medical Examiner Donald "Ducky" Mallard (medicine sub-type).
- Doctor Steel is almost always seen in a somewhat comical-appearing PVC labcoat. His "doctorate" is never really specified, but he shows aptitude in a multitude of disciplines.
- Warhammer 40,000's Fabius Bile wears a lab coat as an obvious marker of his nature as a genius mad scientist. Given that he spends much of his time involved in gruesome surgical experiments or mixing up dangerous alchemical elixirs, it's also of practical use. Of course, this being Warhammer 40k, and Fabius being an amoral monster in league with the Infernal Powers, said labcoat is made from stitched together human skins.
- In Half-Life/Black Mesa, Blue Shift, and Opposing Force, almost every scientist you see is wearing a lab coat. Then, in Half-Life 2, there's a photo of some Black Mesa employees, and again, everyone in the photo is wearing a lab coat. In the same game, Kleiner is always wearing a white jacket, though it's not quite long enough to necessarily qualify as a lab coat, per se. When you arrive at Black Mesa East, Eli says, "We'll get you out of that hazard suit and into your lab coat where you belong." Black Mesa scientists really like their lab coats, it seems. Though, to their credit, Eli, Judith, and Magnusson aren't wearing them in the Half-Life 2 games — but Magnusson's assistant, Uriah, is wearing one.
- Doctor Hojo of Final Fantasy VII is never seen without his labcoat. His rival, Doctor Hollander, wears an identical coat in the prequel. It's used to establish their Mad Scientist status and highlight the madness in their scientific endeavors.
- In The Last Remnant, Rush's parents both wear these. The pair are some of the most well-known scientists studying Remnants in the Academy.
- Bowman Jeanne of Star Ocean: The Second Story wears one when in his pharmacy, and retains it if he joins the party. His special attacks are also themed around pills and medicine to further illustrate his association with this field.
- In Day Of The Tentacle, when Hoagie hires himself as Red Edison's assistant, he is told to "grab his labcoat and get to work", even though the only thing going on in Red's lab is simple mechanic work and Red himself isn't wearing one. (The labcoat figures into a puzzle where it's used to make a kite.)
- Naked Snake in Metal Gear Solid 3 gets one in order to infiltrate the soviet's weapon laboratories. Guards will be completely fooled by it as long as Snake doesn't start doing suspicious things like crawling around, but other scientists will immediately trigger the alarm if they see his face.
- Labcoats in the Fallout games give bonuses to your Science skill, and some Medicine-boosting apparel has the same look. Both Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas have unique labcoats which boost both skills.
- The Medic in Team Fortress 2 wears one. In "Meet The Medic", we see him put on his coat while preparing for battle (AFTER performing open-heart surgery on The Heavy).
- Q in every James Bond game between Agent Under Fire and Everything or Nothing.
- Bravely Default uses this along with red glasses as the job outfit for the Spiritmaster, an advanced White Mage class.
- Final Fantasy XIV has a labcoat as the unique armor of the Alchemist crafting class, invoking this trope.
- Dr. Mario ditches the hat and overalls for a labcoat in his own games as well as Super Smash Bros.
- The coroner and forensic experts in Criminal Case's police department wears white labcoat when they are performing analysis.
- In Anachronox, practically every scientist on Sunder, the planet of science (and on several other planets as well) wears a white lab coat. In order to board the Brain Train (the shuttle taking you to Sunder), you need to wear one yourself in order to look like you belong.
- Ema Skye from the Ace Attorney series always wears a white lab coat whenever she appears, befitting her dream of being a forensic scientist.
- The titular Dr. Horrible of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog has a doctorate in horribleness. Of course, when he goes truly evil at the end, his white labcoat is traded in for a blood red one.
- The Nostalgia Chick introduced us to Doctors C. Block and C. Tease. They have had a few recurring appearances, and even crossed over to other That Guy with the Glasses review videos.
- Labcoats are standard gadgeteer/deviser uniform at Whateley, due to the convenience of the pockets and hardpoints that make it easy for them to carry what they need with them.
- In Welcome to Night Vale, Carlos the obsessive Omnidisciplinary Scientist even has a casual weekend labcoat that he wears on dates.
- Though he's neither, Strong Bad gives Homestar Runner a lab coat and Nerd Glasses in order to make him seem smarter. It fails to make any impact on his intelligence, but the first word out of his mouth when he attempts to say something smart is "Science!"