She's the mother you always wanted. She gives you a candy when you take your medication, warns your brothers about messing aroundwith you, gives you a shoulder to cry on when you feel lonely, and occasionally gives maintenance to your prosthetic leg. Of course, she's the first to give you a hug after you go through the tax-paidpsychiatrictreatment because you're told you're a "special kid with great potential" (whateverthat'ssupposedtomean).
Meet the Motherly Scientist: Frequently feeling compassion for the test subjects (sometimes not always embracing that compassion until it's too late), the motherly scientist is usually the first to ask that the test subjects be given a humane treatment.
Note that regardless of the gendered implications of motherly, the Fatherly Scientist is also not uncommon, as the focus is largely on the scientist's conscious decision, with or without struggle, to reject treating the creature, creation, or just plain human being as a mere test subject for experimentation, choosing instead to forge and nurture a familial bond with them once it is acknowledged that the subject is capable of experiencing a range of emotions like any other. For the sake of consistency, however, the scientist will, for the large part, heretofore be referred to as female.
The trope can contain one or more of the following scenarios, depending on the scientist's personality and background. (And as evident within these scenarios, the role isn't limited to a scientific researcher, but also doctor, technician—and even farther flung, priest or magic-user—as long as there is a strict set of rules, obligations, expectations or beliefs that the motherly figure turns her back to in order to treat the subject with care.)
After researching a non-human subject for a while and giving it a name, the doctor's nurturing instincts finally kicks in, causing the doctor to form a mother/father-child bond with the poor little thing until the eventual decision to free the subject. If she met the creature in the jungle, and there are more of them, she could become a Nature Hero. Can turn into "Tarzan And Jane" if the subject is biologically and age-compatible with her. If by contrast, the subject isn't biologically compatible and the scientist needs to separate, it ends up with a Tear Jerker goodbye.
Professor Harumi Kiyama from A Certain Scientific Railgun was originally an uninterested scientist left with the job of watching over a group of esper orphans, only to gradually start caring for them like a mother. Then things go horribly wrong when the dangerous experiment they were a part of (which Harumi had been told was something safe) sends them all into comas, to Harumi's shock and her boss's utter indifference. With a corrupt administration refusing to help the students and instead covering up the incident, Harumi takes desperate measures trying to find a cure.
Dr. Ochanomizu for Astro Boy; a colleague of Astro Boy's creator who adopts the titular robot after after said creator couldn't get past how Astro Boy wasn't a proper Replacement Goldfish for his dead son.
To a little extent, Washu from Tenchi Muyo! towards Ryoko (she's partially her child as she was created using her own eggs), but Washu's attitude towards her is not quite motherly.
A male (well, moreor less) example is Nanami from Sukisho ; he's a scientist who was involved in some unethical experiments on children, but eventually rescued and formed a family with them.
Another male example is Kotaro Kannagi from Code E: He starts the research on Chinami's Type-E power, and eventually falls in love with her.
Dr. Slump creates Arale and raises her as his child.
Kanami from Darker Than Black cared a lot about catatonic Dolls◊ in jars and learned their individual quirks, which became evident in the episode when CY-463 trapped them. In her observatory they are more tools than subjects, but it's not like she could do for them any more even if she had any real power.
When in Shikkoku no Hana the Astronomy Bureau "doll system" was about to be closed, Kanami decided to quit. And go Hawaii, to "live as far away from things like the Gate and Contractors as possible" — an interesting statement, Dolls being an effect of the Gate as much as Contractors.
Cher Degré from Wolf's Rain. She is fascinated by Cheza and desires to understand her and her purpose. When Cheza escapes, she tries to follow her. Later she learns about the wolves and helps them escape, at the cost of her own life.
Dr. Mimori Kiryu from Scryed. Feeling compassion for how Kazuma is tortured, she lets him escape, and later gets interested in the Inners, eventually forming a community with them.
To a minor degree, Julia Silverstein from Blood+: She takes care of Saya and uses her blood to make a Serum that can stop the effects of the Delta 67 agent.
In the non-canon Halo Legends episode "Odd One Out" (inverted): She tells her kids to wash their hands and has enough intelligence to completely control an U.N.S.C. frigate , but the A.I. are not her children - it's her. Meet "Mama". And one heck of a mama, indeed: If you dare mess with her kids, she'll kick your ass into a rift in space-time. Yes, literally.
Zigzagged in .hack//SIGN: Tsukasa finds a mother in the A.I. Morganna. Later he realizes she's not his real mother, but actually an Evil Matriarch. But then it turns out that she WAS designed to have a mother role for the Key of Twilight, but as she wasn't programmed with any role afterwards, she just went mad and decided that the Key should NEVER awaken at all.
Male example: Dr. Isaac Gilmore from Cyborg 009 is the Team Dad of the Cyborg group. And in is case, he has to, since he used to be one one of the Mad Scientists that cyborg-ized them in the first place.
In Neon Genesis Evangelion Ritsuko, Naoko, and Yui are all initially presented as being examples of this trope, of course this is Eva so they don't stay that way and the darker side of what they were doing quickly came to the fore.
It's heavily implied that Dr. Kamiya acts as a male version of this towards Shiro in Afterschool Charisma.
In To Love-Ru Darkness, Tearju Lunatique is shown to be this to Yami during the time they still were together.
Important part of the alleged backstory to Akumetsu, where a female scientist involved in the evil genius' attempts to clone himself a perfect new body winds up bonding with the Perfect Copy. They fall in love, kill the guy, and burn everything, but he dies...leaving her with about a hundred infant clones. Somehow she gets them adopted all over Japan, all with the first name 'Shou,' and keeps one to raise herself, dying before he turns eighteen but apparently training him to use all the tech she'd helped invent. Of course, we hear this via a Shou, and all of them are fundamentally Unreliable Narrators.
They are also Trope Overdosed; most of Akumetsu's shticks are pulled straight from Japanese TV, and the Shou telling the story is clearly very conscious of this trope as he tells it. He also cheerfully casts doubt on its accuracy himself; they're all insane, after all. Doctor Shou appears to have been raised by the Motherly Scientist, though.
While she doesn't necessarily seem this way at first, Jennifer from Amazing Agent Luna and Amazing Agent Jennifer fits the trope. She was involved in the creation of Luna, and is normally very strict with her and never gives her a break, always pushing her to complete her missions and not get too involved with making friends or being an ordinary girl. But she has her reasons for appearing cold, and she really is trying to do right by Luna and prevent the Agency from "terminating the experiment." As far as she's concerned, Luna really is her daughter.
Poison Ivy from Batman. Her "children", in this case, are the plants she takes care of.
Becomes more literal during the No Man's Land arc, where Gotham is leveled by an earthquake and subsequently cut off from the rest of the U.S. She takes over Robinson Park and unofficially adopts 16 orphans.
Professor Trevor "Broom" Bruttenholm adopts Hellboy after he was summoned into this world.
In Avatar, Dr. Grace comes to fit this role, becoming a bit of a mother figure for the protagonist and caring for the natives whom her employers are pretty much trying to exterminate. In a deleted scene, it is revealed that the natives even used to call her "mother".
In Awakenings, Robin Williams plays a research physician who uses an experimental drug to "awaken" the catatonic victims of a rare disease, becoming friends with many in the process, including Robert De Niro's character who had fallen into catatonia as a child. Based on a True Story.
In D.A.R.Y.L., Doctor Stewart, Daryl's creator, is the first one to accept his humanity and decides to free him so he can return with his adoptive family. A female colleague of his, Dr. Lamb, at first was reluctant but later embraces the child's humanity and collaborates with the unfortunately-failed escape.
In Edward Scissorhands, the poor professor makes new hands for his creation, Edward. Unfortunately he has a heart attack just before he can install them. Too bad.
In the movie Twins, Arnold and his non-identical twin search for their Missing Mom, who they believe had abandoned them. She was the surrogate mother for the genetic experiment that brought them to life.
In The Matrix, the Oracle not only gives Neo advice - she also bakes cookies for him.
In the first Planet of the Apes movie, Chimpanzee Zira, notable psychologist and zoologist, calls Taylor "Bright Eyes", at least until he manages to write his own name, to her surprise. She ends up kissing him goodbye - even though, as she tells him, "You're so damned ugly."
In Sucker Punch, Dr. Gorski cares about the well-being of the asylum girls and designs therapy techniques to try to help them feel control of their lives after whatever traumatized them. This leads to the version of her in the brothel world to teach the girls how to dance as a form of empowered escapism. At the end of the movie, upon finding out that Blue forged her signature to get Baby Doll a lobotomy, she has him arrested before he can rape Baby Doll.
In Isaac Asimov's robot stories, robopsychologist Susan Calvin is notorious for being detached and unemotional. But in the short story "Lenny," she studies a robot whose brain has been accidentally programmed in a way which causes it to behave similarly to a human baby. She becomes very attached to Lenny under the pretext of studying his learning capabilities, and the end of the story reveals that she has taught him to call her "Mama".
In the Replica series of YA novels, Amy's mother was one of the scientists working on a project to create genetically-enhanced Super Soldiers, but after realizing the evils of the project, she rescued/kidnapped one of the clone babies and raised her as her own.
The golden age pulp robot Adam Link and his father are a perfect example of the Pinocchio Scenario.
In a variation on the Pinocchio Scenario, Douglas Preston's novel Jennie is about a chimpanzee raised like a human being. Almost everyone who gets to know her feels a deep parental love and desire to protect her. The ending is one of the most high-octane Tear Jerkers you will ever read.
In Unwise Child by Randall Garrett, Dr. Leda Crannon, a child psychologist, is brought in to help develop an AI after the first two attempts failed. She treats 'Snookums' as her own child, but subverts the usual ending as she realizes he is very much a machine.
Live Action TV
Maggie Walsh, head scientist of the secret government demon-hunting project, the "Initiative" in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Dr. Helen Magnus of Sanctuary. In addition to being an actual mother, she is fiercely protective of the abnormals in her sanctuary and will do anything to help/save them. On the other hand, she's not afraid to kick more than a little ass when necessary.
Dr. Catherine Halsey of Halo, creator of the SPARTAN-II program, was much of a mother figure towards the Spartan children while at the same time administering the augmentations that killed or permanently disabled most of them. Worthy of note, however, is that her motherly treatment of them when not subjecting them to painful augmentations is believed to be a major contributor to the emotional stability of the SPARTAN-IIs compared to the SPARTAN-IIIs. She is rather disturbed when Cortana, an artificial intelligence who is based on Halsey's brain, admits that she finds John-117 (Master Chief) attractive. Halsey realizes that this means her feelings towards John aren't entirely maternal.
Dr. Wily refers to Zero as his son in the ending of one of the crossover gamesalthough his idea of a father-son activity would probably be killing Zero's best friend.
Ciel in Mega Man Zero is motherly towards Alouette, perhaps out of guilt for what she did to her own creation, who ended up the Big Bad.
In Mega Man 4, Dr. Cossack shows Papa Wolf tendencies towards his daughter, Kalinka. A chapter of the Megamix manga revolves around his belief that robots should also be regarded as part of people's families and his failure to be a Fatherly Scientist towards Skull Man.
The son of Dr. Light's Alternate Universe counterpart in the Mega Man Battle Network universe is this towards MegaMan.EXE, who in the game is one of his twin sons. In order to save his life, he turned him into a navi. Unfortunately, that project meant he didn't spend a lot of time with Lan.
From the same universe, Dr. Cossack seems to be a subversion: he was very kind to his creation, Bass.EXE, until suddenly deciding to have him destroyed when he grew too powerful. In fact, the scientists out to destroy Bass.exe went so far as to stick Dr. Cossack in jail so he couldn't do anything to warn Bass.EXE or prevent it. Not that Bass.EXE believes this.
Lemon Browning of Super Robot Wars Original Generation 2 generally treats her androids as tools, albeit valuable ones. But when Lamia starts to develop human emotions and betrays her to save the protagonists, she starts to act like a proud mother, and even helps Lamia escape captivity. This is because Lemon is an android herself, and was rejected by her own parents for not being a suitable replacement for their dead daughter.
Fallout: New Vegas has Dr. Whitley, the inventor of ED-E. Despite being an Enclave scientist, it was clear that Whitley cared deeply for his creations and protested heavily against having ED-E scrapped to make Power Armor. In the end, he sent ED-E to Navarro (unaware that it's been razed at this point) and was likely killed by the Lone Wanderer.
In Cut The Rope, little Omnom winds up on a, to quote the game, "mad (but not evil) scientist's" doorstep. This scientists performs loving experiments with Omnom, all of which lead to little Omnom gaining the candy he loves ever so much.
Merveille in Solatorobo saved a "defective" product of her and Baion's experiments to create life after she was ordered to destroy it. That would be Red, the protagonist of the game, and in the DLCs she seems to be trying to get him together with Elh.
The main character in Diaper Dash worked for a company that made high-tech, low-human-involvement gadgets for use on infants. When he tried to cuddle a baby that was about to cry during a "sleep ray" test his boss threatened to fire him, so he quit and started a daycare center.
Parodied in the xkcd strip "Network": Somehow the computer guy's virtualized viruses invoke some kind of Cuteness Proximity towards him. "Who's a good virus? You are! Yes, you are!"
Dr. Lee in Skin Horse would be this trope if not for certain conditions; she does care about her creations, but those creations are made out of kidnapped human beings.
Dr Sciuridae from El Goonish Shive is a rare fatherly scientist. Not only does he treat the subjects of the lab where he works much better than his colleagues, but he also eventually takes advantage of an opportunity to free them, and helps them adjust to normal society. Bonus Points for making a Replacement Goldfish of his dead daughter in the process.
Jean's relationship with Molly in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! is the Pinocchio Scenario. Slight variation in that Bob was the one who raised her from infancy, since Jean didn't realize her experiment had produced her until Molly was already grown, but Jean is now completely devoted to raising her right.
Lindesfarne of Kevin & Kell conducted an experiment on some mice (who, in this fictional universe, are as sapient as she is) for a school project. Kevin at one point expresses concern that she might get overly attached to them, and this is proven correct when she cancels the experiment and does an alternate project, keeping the mice around in her room and often having conversations with them.
Professor Utonium from The Powerpuff Girls, who creates the title characters and winds up adopting them as his children.
Admittedly, he's not a verygoodfather most of the time... He does try. He's just really busy being the most important scientist in the world and one of the more competent adults, he did after all give him the keys to the anti-Santa weapons arsenal when he need it to save the world from a giant Santa robot monster... seriously.
Inverted in Defenders of the Earth: The crystal that powers the Dynak X computer holds the memories of Flash Gordon's deceased wife. Her son Rick is extremely fond of her, even if she remains in computer form.
Adventure Time has Princess Bubblegum. In the case of her creation Goliad, she acts like a kindly mother or preschool teacher figure to her. But when Goliad turns out to be evil, Princess Bubblegum abandons this attitude quickly, and traps Goliad in a psychic battle to save her kingdom.
In the case of Lemongrab, she initially has an I Have No Son attitude towards him, because he is a failed experiment and a very mean person. Later on, however, Princess Bubblegum talks to Lemongrab and discovers that he is actually very sad, and lonely. She feels great sympathy for her failed creation, and takes it upon herself to try, in various ways, to ease his unhappiness and solitude. Even when he is openly hostile to her, she tries to help him, knowing that he is her responsibility. Eventually Princess Bubblegum makes a Lemongrab clone, for Lemongrab "to be with." The Lemongrabs become very fond of their creator after this, and the princess affectionately calls them "boys." The Lemongrabs call Princess Bubblegum "Mother Princess," and Lemongrab on one occasion refers to her as "Mommy." But like any real dysfunctional family, the Lemongrabs immaturely blame their mom for most of their self-inflicted problems, and Princess Bubblegum finds them to be frustrating and annoying to deal with, even saying, "I need to keep a closer eye on them so they don't get into any more trouble."
The Lemongrabs are a male example, being fatherly scientists. They create twenty-something little creatures and refer to them as their children. Unlike PB, they take this a step further by actually being openly affectionate and doting to their creations. Then the first Lemongrab makes the ultimate regression and becomes a horrifically abusive father, while the second Lemongrab evolves to the opposite extreme and ends up sacrificing his life for his children.
Dolores and Jonathan Vale from Static Shock, who created a genetically engineered superbaby partially to fill a void from being unable to have children of their own. When they realized the lab planned to turn her into a Super Soldier, they rescued her and spent life on the run, raising her as their own daughter.
Implied to be the case with Max Sawyer in Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers. Max was a scientist on the Supertrooper Project, and pretty much the father figure in Goose's life. Max's dying words to Goose are very paternal, complementing the young Ranger on the fine man he's become.
Dr. Erika Slate of Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot designed and built the titular boy robot and basically treats him as a son, often going to extremes in order to aid him if he's in danger despite the fact that he's a walking weapons platform. Though she was extremely surprised to hear Rusty ask if she actually was his mother.
Dian Fossey from Gorillas in the Mist: First she goes to Africa to study the gorillas, and then fights to protect them (bonus points for being a real person).
Same with Jane Goodall.
Koko, the signing gorilla, seems to think of Francine "Penny" Paterson, the researcher who taught her most of the sign-language and seems to have raised her, as her mother. Penny seems to see Koko as her child as well.
Christina Maslach, who brought about the early end of the infamous Stanford Prison Experiment by objecting to the subjects' suffering as she was preparing to help with the experiment as a graduate student. Philip Zimbardo, who ran the experiment, noted that she was the only person out of more than fifty people who had observed the experiment to question its morality.