Related to the Mad Scientist, the Omnidisciplinary Scientist is a master of every branch of science, regardless of the branch in which they theoretically have a degree. A writer either didn't do the research or maybe They Just Didn't Care. If someone is a scientist, and something about science needs to be known, the scientist will know it or learn it by the end of the episode.
Films are particularly bad about this. It's understandable that a producer needs to reduce the number of named characters, so anything "scientific" is handled by the existing "science guy" character. However, it strains Willing Suspension of Disbelief when the guy who was just working on the nuclear reactor turns around and is suddenly a xenobiologist, chemist, alien technology expert and computer programmer as well.
Any of The Professor, The Spock, the Mad Scientist, Mr. Fixit and the Genius Bruiser may be an Omnidisciplinary Scientist. The Science Hero tends to be one in practice. The medical variant practices Open Heart Dentistry.
Compare to the Renaissance Man who is also very knowledgeable in multiple fields - but not necessarily all of them. Some of these fields may be arts such as painting, or literature. May possess Encyclopaedic Knowledge if their interest stray outside of science.
Note also that the 'plausibility' of this trope is context-dependent. If a story preassumes an immortal character, for example, that character might well have had time to master many disciplines of study (though perhaps not to be up on the latest developments in all areas). Likewise, a non-human mind might be capable of anything, or a future/alien technology might enable learning by means other than the hard way, or the character has Super Intelligence as a power. Or, like The Doctor, all of the above.
This is part of the Hollywood Science belief that big things are made by a single "scientist" (sometimes with a bunch of useless assistants). In reality, this usually isn't the case - most developments are made through collaboration with people who understand particular topics better. Of course, there are exceptions which make it a bit of Truth in Television. This is also common with people who take knowledge as a hobby, trying to get as much information as possible instead of specializing in single discipline (and as gadgeteers usually also encompass being engineers at the same time).
See also Super Doc for the medical version of this. In works of fiction, a doctor is almost always an hybrid between a medical doctor and something else (in the case of omniscience, everything else). In real life, a doctor is a physician with a doctorate of medicine (M.D.), or a Ph.D in any field, regardless of being a practitioner of medicine or not.
Used as one of the most common excuses to let The Main Characters Do Everything.
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Mazinger Z features a villainous example: Big Bad Mad Scientist Dr. Hell routinely designed and build Humongous Mecha, complex computing systems, giant flying ships, submarines, all kind of weapons and devices (including a size-changing ray in one episode), cyborgs... He would need being an expert on any field of science to achieve all those scientific breakthroughs and perform all those feats, including physics, engineering, maths, robotics, computing science, cybernetics and medicine. In contrast, Dr. Kabuto and Professor Yumi subverted the trope, being experts on one field and needing help or expert advice in other areas, and using the trial-and-error method to make breakthroughs.
Professor Kenzo Kabuto from the sequel Great Mazinger was also a subversion, right like his father Juzo Kabuto.
Dr. Black Jack may be an Omnispecies Omnidisciplinary Doctor: he can perform surgeries and autopsies and deliver babies. And transplant horse brains into humans. And stitch together a child using her parasite twin body parts and plastic. He had even performed surgery on a dog, a whale, a ghost, a computer, an alien, and himself.
Not only did he perform abdominal surgery on himself to remove a parasite, he did so in the middle of the Australian outback, all by himself, while simultaneously fighting off dingoes.
This is a pretty common trope in stories by Osamu Tezuka. In his original Metropolis manga, Duke Red not only creates an army of robots, but also a machine that makes artificial sunspots & other weirdness, although he does have to turn to a specialist to get a proper Artificial Human. Most of the numerous scientist characters in Astro Boy are omnidisciplinary to some degree. Ochanomizu, whose main background is in robotics also comes up with inventions like a bomb that flash-freezes everything for miles around & even a device that can read minds (although considering he's the head of the Ministry of Science he may have had some help with these). Astro's creator Dr. Tenma is said to be an expert in both Artificial Intelligence & the Human brain, which handily explains why Astro has such a lifelike personality, as Dr. Tenma could draw on his knowledge of neurology to create a computer system that emulates the Human nervous system.
Dr. Shiba from Kotetsu Jeeg. Not only he was an accomplished archaelogist but also he could cure people, make cyborgs, build a Humongous Mecha and flying ships, and transferring his mind from his dying corpse to a computer.
For the original OVA, her having knowledge about pretty much everything in existence is helped by the fact that she personally had a hand in creating everything in existence.
Many of the "Meights" in The Five Star Stories, scientists who create either Humongous Mecha "Mortar Headds" or Artificial Human "Fatimas" & in rare cases both, are skilled in other fields as well. This is justified by the fact that they are, like the other super-people in FSS, descended from genetically engineered superhumans. While Headliners get Super Strength & Divers get Psychic Powers, Meights get super intelligence.
Watari from Yami No Matsuei is unbelievably proficient with hacking and decryption, involved in maintaining the computer-based reality where the series' summoned gods live, and good enough at chemistry for potion-based Mad Science, and he's alluded to having had done other things. His PhD? In Mechanical Engineering.
Professor Desty Nova in Battle Angel Alita mastered every practical and theoretical science up to and including nanotechnology before inventing "karmatron dynamics". Which he also makes great progress in.
Ritsuko Akagi from Neon Genesis Evangelion. She supervises Nerv HQ's science department and seems to be an expert in everything Project E requires (biology, metaphysical biology, engineering, ordnance...), along with computing, physics, and medical science. Ritsuko is the show's go-to for "voice of expositional scientific and technical authority".
Dr. Vegapunk of One Piece is described as studying both cells and battleship and came up with many of the technological advances used by the Marine. The guy is basically a One Man Industrial Revolution. If it's a field that involves science, he's studied it, and except for ship building, pioneered it. He literally wrote the book on Devil Fruits, figured out what they are, how they work on humans and how to feed them to inanimate objects, studied the sea's energies to create various purposes and coating from seastone, created at least two dragons, and is the leading expert on cybernetics. Pretty good for an unseen character who just set out to bring summer to his home island.
Hank "Ant Man" Pym started out as an entomologist. His training studying insects also left him able to, among other things, create shrinking particles and artificially intelligent robots. Although perhaps his complete lack of relevant background in the latter field helps explain that particular example of A.I. Is a Crapshoot.
One issue of Secret Invasion contained a hilarious but possibly inadvertent sight gag with a board listing the eight or so completely unconnected disciplines that Pym was giving lectures on his cutting edge research in.
Further evidence of Hank Pym being this trope in recent Mighty Avengers stories, wherein he is conferred the title of Scientist Supreme of the Earth-616 universe.
In the Ultimate Marvel universe, on the other hand, Hank Pym is a specialist in cybernetics, who claims to have created the Giant Man formula, when actually he "merely" reverse-engineered it based on his wife Janet's mutant DNA. In an argument between the two, Janet hangs a lampshade on this by saying that he's already a great cyberneticist and doesn't need to make people think he's an amazing geneticist as well. Later, after discussing his interrogation of several Spider-Man villains for their scientific secrets, Janet remarks "Oh, so you're a psychologist now?"
This was also lampshaded in the mini-series Fantastic Four: True Story, where Reed said at one point; "This will require me to create an entirely new field of scientific study. Give me a couple of days."
Middle-lampshaded when Reed told Hank Pym he's the best biochemist in the world, so he would need weeks to be as good as him. Pym comments it's no wonder that people hate Reed.
In 1602 he invented the several disciplines of science. Okay, so he picked out different names, but the dude basically came up with our modern foundation of science by himself.
In Marvel Apes it's established that Reed has a fellowship for achievement in multiple fields of study named after him.
One issue of Ultimate Fantastic Four implies that Reed Richards' status as an Omnidisciplinary Scientist is at least partly due to the nature of his powers. Just as his body has become infinitely flexible and stretchable, his brain has as well, allowing him to adapt his mind to tackle any number of subjects.
Former Fantastic Four writer John Byrne as jokingly stated that Reed has one degree, "in Science".
Reading the early Spider-man comics, it looks like Peter Parker is also an Omnidisciplinary Scientist. Able to build an electromagnetic device to stop the Vulture one week, and mixing up a chemical concoction to cure the Lizard the next. It seems that Stan Lee gave all of his "scientists" this trait to a certain degree. Later writers seem to try to narrow it down to a single field or two.
Interestingly enough, Spider-Man usually goes the other way. Writers can often forget that Peter Parker is (or was) a fledgling super scientist and just cast him as a photographer with above-average intelligence and a secret identity. Considering how many OTHER super-scientists there are in Marvel canon, it's not surprising that they let Parker go his own way.
That said, Hank Pym looked at his spider tracers in Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #15 and was shocked that Parker was able to develop something at 15 so akin to Pym's own kit for communicating with ants (which took years to develop), and in the New Avengers Tony Stark made a point of using Spider-Man's science brain rather than his spider powers. This may be considered to have backfired on Stark given the Peter discovered and put his own over-ride on Tony's backdoor into the Iron Spider armor.
Canonically, one alternate future for a non-Spider-Man Peter Parker involves becoming a super-scientist to rival Reed Richards.
One issue of Exiles sent them to an Earth that was conquered by Skrulls in the 19th century. When the Skrulls left, the top scientists who studied their technology were Reed Richards, Bruce Banner, and Peter Parker. Reed Richards was of course the top scientist, but he was only just coming to grips with radio.
Oddly enough, Iron Man, (Tony Stark) mostly gained this after Stan Lee's writing stint. He was originally and is primarily an electronic and munitions engineer, an ambitious enough combo on its own. However, later writers have seen him brought in to consult on everything from spatial anomalies to medicine.
The second animated series, Iron Man: Armored Adventures, extends this retroactively to his father, who is (at the least) versed in physics, engineering, infinite energy creators, biology, neurology, ancient Chinese, ancient Mongolian, mythology, geology, math and geometry.
This is also the case in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where he can become an expert in thermonuclear astrophysics... in one night.
His mutant talent is along the lines of Mad Science. He can create tremendously complicated machinery that can do just about anything. He sometimes has to take it apart to figure out how it works. And he therefore doesn't always realize when there will be side effects.
The trope is played with in one Incredible Hulk mini-series; Bruce Banner is found after one of the Hulk's rampages through a town, and all but refusing to let them help him, offers his own help, saying he's a doctor. "Medicine?" He admits he's a physicist, but that he's also a willing pair of hands.
Played straight in general with Bruce Banner - he started out as a physicist working on a gamma bomb, but is apparently a skilled enough biologist and engineer to attempt to cure himself of the Hulk several times throughout the comic's history with new antidotes and/or new devices.
In Gold Digger, both Gina Digger and her rival Penny Pincer qualify, as they are both able to construct power armor, teleporters, cloaking devices, making and using advanced medical equipment, chemistry, particle physics, AI programming, some forays into time travel, and are joint founders of a new field, 'Beta technology', based on manipulation of 'phantom mass' as well as allowing tapping into the ether stream where magic gets its punch! This multi-talentedness also applies to Erwin 'Peewee' Talon, Dr. Alfred Peachbody and other scientists in universe, but we get to see it in Gina and Penny the most.
Handwaved in the instance of Gina. She apparently spent all her time getting degrees, at least until a certain 'incident' that caused her to go boy-crazy. Penny Pincer is also an old-fashioned heart surgeon (Gina actually rattles OFF a few of her degrees in an early comic).
There's also Mr. Terrific, whose non-metahuman "power" is basically to be an expert in any field he applies himself to which has lead to him holding various completely unconnected doctorates (and still fight crime on the side). It's not just scientific fields. At one point he jumps into a jet fighter and starts flying. When questioned about how he did it without, say, crashing, he claims he's a fast learner.
Batman is occasionally portrayed as an Omnidisciplinary Scientist as well, impressively building the JLA Watchtower using Martian, Thanagarian, human and New Genosian tech. It also shows in his detective work, although he does have a computer that appears to be incredibly advanced and considering the members of his Rogues Gallery it's vitally important that he be familiar with chemicals.
A side issue in the Tower Of Babel storyline made this explanation explicit. Batman's anti-JLA weapons were specifically adapted from his foes technologies. Scarecrow's fear gases to give Arthur hydrophobia, Mad Hatter's mind technology to make Wonder Woman think she was locked in battle with an equal opponent and so on.
In the New 52, Superman supporting character Dr. Veritas is stated to be an "omniologist."
The older sister from the Valiant series The Troublemakers is also another example coming by this trope with superpowers. She's just more skilled then anyone nearby. Her parents are smart enough to toss her in a lab with some brains to get work done...but not smart enough to keep her away from a crazed near-god.
Peric in The Trigan Empire is the Omnidisciplinary Scientist par excellence. Initially an architect, he later builds a space rocket, invents a machine for turning men into intelligent water (!), discovers an elixir of youth, etc. etc.
X-Men tried to subvert this and ended up using it perfectly straight with Bolivar Trask, the anthropologist who first considered mutants a menace. Trask built the robotic Sentinels to protect mankind and, of course, they immediately turned against him claiming to be his superiors. Professor X commented that this had happened because Trask was an anthropologist and not a robotic expert, and therefore had an inadequate knowledge of cybernetic brains. Building self-aware robots seems a heck of an accomplishment in cybernetics to me. Then again, doing so seems particularly easy in the Marvel Universe.
The independent comic 3 has as one of the main characters "one of the last generalists, a dabbler in dozens of fields."
Doctor Strange is the most powerful sorcerer in the Marvel universe and was one of the best neurosurgeons in the world prior to a car accident that left him with too much nerve damage to operate again. This presumably had no adverse effect on his actual knowledge of the field. In Doctor Strange: The Oath he mentions that he's maintained his medical license — something which requires yearly certification and a certain number of hands-on hours.
Belgian comic Jommeke has Professor Gobelijn, whose official title is 'Professor in EVERYTHING.' Too bad he is also the resident Absent-Minded Professor, so his inventions often cause problems.
Tintin. Professor Calculus is apparently versed in engineering (he built a working submarine), astrophysics (the moon rocket), nuclear physics (the nuclear propulsion engine), acoustics (a sonic weapon) and pharmaceutical and oil chemistry (identified the substance that ensured Every Car Is a Pinto and created a pill that makes you hate the taste of alcohol).
Professor Barabas from Suske En Wiske counts. The man can build futuristic machines (including a time machine, a machine for talking to inanimate objects and a machine that can bring persons from paintings and other images to life), and has extensive knowledge about various historical and scientific subjects (including astrophysics and genetic engineering).
A bit of Lampshade Hanging in Spider-Man 3: Dr. Connors tells Peter that he is a physics professor and not a biologist, but still will try to study the symbiote. He then provides all the necessary exposition about it (in the comics, Mr. Fantastic took this role).
Which, it should be said, makes no sense. In the comic books, he's The Lizard. Does turning yourself into a reptile in an attempt to grow back your arm fall under the domain of physics now?
It helps that in the comics, he's not a physicist. he studies genetics, biochemistry and herpetology. He was also a surgeon before losing his arm. Then he became a research technologist. So, he fits the trope quite nicely.
Dr. Otto Octavius in Spider-Man 2 is also something of an example. He is, presumably, a nuclear physicist (he was working on thermonuclear fusion in the film), but also apparently has enough knowledge of robotics and neurology that he can, on a whim, assemble four robotic tentacles and hook them up to his own nervous system.
There's a fun little independent Indiana Jones knockoff called The Librarian: Quest for the Spear, with Kelly Hu as The Dragon, whose protagonist is a thirty-two year old not-a-virgin who lives with his mother and has a combined total of something like twenty-two degrees. Somewhat justified in that part of the reason he's such a total social outcast is that he's forty-something and has spent more than half his life doing nothing but studying for those degrees. In the sequel, he meets a hot female archaeologist who beats him in the number of degrees.
In fact, the plot of the first film is kicked off when he's booted out of the university, where he'd gladly spend the rest of his days studying, so that he'd get some Real Life experience. He's immediately recruited into the Library. Through all three films, he continuously displays encyclopedia knowledge about almost any subject, often quoting some textbook or encyclopedia entry verbatim. This gets lampshaded in the third film, when a Mook notes that he speaks in paragraphs.
Just about any scientist from a 1950s atomic horror movie. The Deadly Mantis in particular hangs a lampshade on this by suggesting that all paleontologists (like its protagonist) must be omnidisciplinary, because the field requires so much speculation from trace evidence.
Dr. Emmett "Doc" Brown from the Back to the Future trilogy built a time machine in his garage in 1985 and another steam-powered time machine by 1895. In the third movie, he explicitly says that he's "a student of all sciences". Granted, 20th century education would appear as such to a 19th century perspective. It was his job as a SCIENTIST! Like a lot of "scientists" and "professors" in film and TV, Doc Brown is at least as much an engineer and technician as he is a scientist. Which makes him an omnidisciplinarian squared, or something. But he calls himself a scientist, so who are we to argue?
Deliberately averted in Tremors; the seismologist grad-student is exasperated by people who think she can explain the sudden appearance of giant killer worms because she's a scientist.
In Top Gun, the Kelly McGillis character who serves as a civilian instructor to the pilots is described as an "astrophysicist". Guess those hot-shot Navy fighter pilots have a really pressing need to learn all about stellar evolution.
Doctor Morbius from Forbidden Planet is a philologist, but by the time the movie takes place, has constructed a sophisticated home to live in and built an impossibly complex robot, as well as able to analyze and use alien technology. Of course, he HAD been enhanced by an alien machine making him into a genius.
Doctor Cockroach from Monsters vs. Aliens is an expert in all things mechanical, and knows enough about biology to turn himself into a stable roach-man. Also, his Ph.D is in DANCE!
In Avatar, Grace Augustine is the foremost expert on Pandoran botany, but she also appears to be an anthropologist. And a xenolinguist. And a schoolteacher. Possibly justified: in canon, the CEO is presented as dismissive toward science, monofocused on the avatar project and consequent acquisition of mining rights, and antagonistic toward Augustine herself; she and her small team may be doing All The Science because she doesn't have the funding, or the staff, to do otherwise.
Iron Man franchise: Tony Stark, weapons designer, was able to build Powered Armor and clean, cheap, small energy, in a cave, with a box of scraps, in the first film. In the second, he made an entirely new element in the space of a few hours, once he had the basic idea. Presumably if he had a whole afternoon he could fill all the blanks on the periodic table and create a perpetual motion machine.
Maria Hill: And when did you become an expert in thermonuclear astrophysics?
Tony Stark: Last night.
Ivan Vanko was able to do the same, in Siberia, minus the new element. He also hacks computers in seconds (Hammer, US government, and SHIELD tech), and is a nuclear physicist. If we believe Vanko, Hammer's software is "shit".
Also the captive doctor Yinsen, who manages to build an electromagnet and implant it into Tony's chest. The concept is somewhat simple, but to make a precise and effective one for the exact purpose in the movie, would require something of an expert in electrical engineering. And as any doctor will tell you, there isn't really enough time in your life to get a medical degree as well as expert knowledge in other nearly completely unrelated fields. He admits to seeing the kind of wound Tony has several times in his home village and as a result has had practice in treating it, somehow.
Justin Hammer claims to be this, but most of his tech doesn't work.
Hammer: For the record, the pilot survived.
Actually, most of those Hammer-designed guns he fitted on the War Machine armor and slaved to its targetting system work just fine.
Lampshaded in Thor, where Dr. Donald Blake, Jane's ex-boyfriend, was a medical doctor. When Selvig tries to get Thor out of SHIELD's clutches by claiming that he works for him, Coulson (correctly) points out that "Dr. Donald Blake" is an MD, not a physicist.
Bruce Banner is a cellular biologist TheIncredibleHulk who, while hiding in Brazil, pays bills by fixing machines in a factory and builds himself his own lab in his apartment with spare parts. In TheAvengers he is treating sick people in Calcutta. He is also stated to be the world's top expect in gamma radiation, and Tony Stark compliments him on his research in anti-electron collisions. If he's not an engineer/medical doctor/physicist, he's at least good enough to pass as all of them.
Lucius Fox in The Dark Knight Saga. He's the engineer who devises the technology that Batman's gadgets are based on, he also knows enough about toxicology to synthesize an antidote to Scarecrow's fear toxin, and in the third film, Batman entrusts him with disarming the neutron bomb Bane wants to use to demolish Gotham.
He is also adept at running a Fortune 500 company. Granted, it's not a science, but it's definitely a refined skill.
Averted in The Man from Earth. John is intelligent, but not abnormally so. He claims to have collected ten advanced degrees over his extended lifetime, but he freely points out that no one can maintain current knowledge in that many fields at once. His 19th century biology degree is pretty useless now.
Yellow Submarine. Jeremy Hillary Boob (AKA the Nowhere Man) claims to be a physicist, botanist, and dentist. He also easily fixes the title ships engine, making him an engineer as well.
Averted in The Nutty Professor 2, where Sherman goes to meet his fiancée's parents for the first time. She mentions that they're "rocket scientists". However, they make it clear they have absolute no understanding of genetics, asking Sherman to explain what he's working on in "layman's terms".
Subverted in the 1632 series. Any 20th century American with a high school education looks like one of these to a 17th century downtimer. But the real value is in technical knowledge and hands-on expertise.
In John Ringo and Travis S. Taylor's Into The Looking Glass series, there is William "Bill" Weaver, a scientist with multiple degrees and doctorates, which is part of why he became the chief astrogator for a submarine-turned-spaceship in the second book. Weaver is modeled on the real life Taylor (who wasn't involved in the first book).
Doc Savage: He was a physician, surgeon, scientist, adventurer, inventor, explorer, researcher, and a musician. And even though his team is made up of experts in their fields, only occasionally is Doc himself not better than they are. He's a better chemist than Monk, a better mechanical engineer than Renny, a better electrical engineer than Long Tom, and a better geologist than Johnny. Ham is the only one he doesn't outdo on a regular basis, leaving anything requiring the practice of law in his hands.
Judge Holden of Blood Meridian seems to have a pretty good education in paleontology, biology, anthropology, sociology, and philosophy. He keeps all his notes on these various subjects in his ledger. To be fair, sociology and anthropology go hand in hand. As with paleontology and biology. So he could have double-majored in anthropology and biology and minored in philosophy. In the Old West.
Leonard Da Quirm in Discworld has been kicked out of most of the scientific guilds in Ankh-Morpork for correcting the exam questions. He mostly follows the painting and engineering style of his counterpart Leonardo da Vinci, but has also invented guns, a submarine, a moon rocket, or the espresso maker, dabbles in cryptography for Lord Vetinari and sketched out plans for a nuclear weapon.
The natural philosophers in Neal Stephenson's The Baroque Cycle, most of whom existed and fulfilled this trope in Real Life (especially Robert Hooke, who was involved in a mind-bogglingly large number of disciplines). The implausibility of this being possible once science has sufficiently matured is brought up: late in his life, Daniel laments that with so many new fields emerging, it is becoming impossible for any new natural philosopher to be an Omnidisciplinary Scientist.
Ryeland Ames, from Jack Williamson's short story "The Dead Spot", is famous for having built a particle accelerator AND a bathysphere AND an artificial heart AND portable H-bombs; the first two of which before he was 25. Notice that the story was written in 1938.
Sax Russell in the Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars Trilogy develops in this direction. He's assigned to the original colonization mission as a physicist, but over time (a lot of time, as the longevity treatments developed in the first book greatly extend his career) he picks up Ph.D.-level training in chemistry and biology in order to further his goal of terraforming Mars.
That would be the guy who signs his letters "Abraham Van Helsing, M.D., Ph.D., D.Litt., etc." Three doctorates in different fields, plus implied other qualifications. Who knows - maybe he has a law degree too!
John Lowson in Guy N. Smith's The Slime Beast. He begins the story searching for King John's treasure and is referred to as an archaeologist, but relentlessly pursues and tries to capture and study the title monster, suggesting a biologist or zoologist.
Deliberately with Weston in Out of the Silent Planet. In the "Reply to Professor Haldane", Lewis himself notes the weak point that although "Weston, for the sake of the plot, has to be a physicist, his interests seem to be exclusively biological."
Averted in the "Sherlock Holmes" stories: Holmes purposefully forgets anything that wouldn't help him in his work, even that the Earth goes around the sun. In the first story, Watson makes a list of Holmes' areas of knowledge, and they're extremely narrow. In later stories, this is somewhat retconned, with Holmes displaying a broader range of knowledge than Watson had indicated earlier.
Or he was simply taking the mickey out of Watson. In "... the Bruce-Partington Plans" he says "A planet might as well leave its orbit."
Arthur Denison of Dinotopia appears to be mainly a naturalist, but he shows aptitude in other fields, at one point even inventing a mechanical dragonfly-plane.
Isaac from Perdido Street Station is a justified example, as his omnidisciplinary approach to experimentation and research is why he's pointed out to Yagharek as someone who might be capable of tackling Yag's problem.
Dr. W.E.B. Du Havel of Honor Harrington is primarily a political scientist, but is stated to hold a great many Ph.Ds in multiple other subjects, almost none of them honorary degrees.
Partially averted and partially played straight with A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, in which the titular Yankee does primarily stick to his stated areas of expertise (metallurgy and machining/mechanics) he does occasionally display some not-entirely-believable depth of expertise in absurdly unrelated areas, such as cattle husbandry, medicine, and microeconomics.
This is probably in part due to Twain himself possessing an astoundingly broad and sporadic technical education rather than a more focused formal one, as well as his lack of familiarity with metallurgy and chemistry, which he seemed to assume were more general disciplines than were, in fact, the case.
In the Second Doctor story, "The Moonbase," the Doctor mentions that he studied human medicine under Joseph Lister, which means his knowledge of human medicine might be just a leetle bit out of date.
But in "The Shakespeare Code" he manages to restart one of his hearts through a rather strange jury-rigged procedure thingy. So presumably he's probably better with Time Lord biology than human.
When asked in Colony In Space if he's "some kind of scientist", the Third Doctor replies that "I'm every kind of scientist."
In "The Empty Child", he performs (with his sonic screwdriver) an autopsy (effectively), listing all the possible reasons for the sci-fi zombie's "deaths".
Then there was Hot Scientist Dr. Liz Shaw, described as having degrees in at least a dozen fields. She didn't last long, though, since she was too smart to be The Watson all the damned time.
"Nonsense; what you need, as Ms Shaw herself so often remarked, is someone to pass you your test tubes and tell you how brilliant you are. Miss Grant will fulfill that function admirably."
Davros, creator of the Daleks, tends towards this as well. Described by the Doctor as having the finest scientific mind in existence, he uses his mastery of genetic engineering and cybernetics to make his creatures, then subsequently shows enough aptitude for medicine to work for a while as "The Great Healer" and enough knowledge of physics to design a bomb which can cancel out the electrical field holding atoms together and cause THE DESTRUCTION! OF REALITY! ITSELF!
Averted wonderfully in "Remembrance of the Daleks" when Allison is examining a soldier. When asked, "Is he all right?" she replies, "No idea, I'm a physicist."
This is rather elegantly demonstrated in the J.J. Abrams Star Trek movie during the scene showing the Vulcan "learning pits." The schoolchildren are answering rapid-fire questions from many, many disparate disciplines, showing how Vulcan education is intensely omnidisciplinary from very early on.
And in Dr Bashir's case, it was almost averted originally. When Deep Space Nine first started, Dr Bashir was the medical expert who didn't even know everything about medicine (for example, he once had great difficult with a dying Cardassian patient due to his (at the time) lack of knowledge of Cardassian physiology). As a result, Bashir was used to play up the "I'm a doctor, not a..."tradition instead. Very late into the show, it was revealed Bashir was in fact a Designer Baby and he was turned into a ridiculously Omnidisciplinary Scientist prone to Ludicrous Precision and capable of Improbable Aiming Skills almost overnight with the handwave that he'd been like this all along, but had simply been keeping it secret.
Jadzia Dax was also an example. Her exact specialisation was almost impossible to tell because her scientific knowledge accommodated whatever the plot needed her to know. She received the Dax symbiote at the age of 26 and confirmed in the first series that she had obtained all her many degrees and vast scientific knowledge prior to receiving Dax. She was also Dax's first scientist, the closest thing to a scientist Dax had previously hosted had been an engineer. As a result, even Dax's 300 years worth of experience couldn't explain why Jadzia had such a vast knowledge of science by the age of 28 (the Jadzia host's age during series 1). The Dax symbiote's life experiences were later used to waive the rest of Ezri Dax's training to become a fully qualified psychologist on the grounds that her training couldn't teach her anything her 300+ year old symbiote hadn't already experienced. This was despite Ezri being the first psychologist to have ever hosted Dax and the fact that, as an Trill unprepared for Joining, the Joining seriously messed her up for a while.
Miles O'Brien was a non-com Chief Engineer with broad experience as both a soldier and technician, officially specializing in transporter operations (not theory). As a child, he tested at the very low end for scientific and engineering aptitude, only discovering his skill as an engineer during a combat situation where his life and the life of his squad depended on getting a broken transporter to work in a matter of minutes. That said, whenever Dax isn't around to fill the role of this trope, O'Brien steps in seamlessly; like when he figures out now only how a bit of accidental time travel sent three people (including Dax) into the past, but also how to recreate the effect reliably and precisely in order to send a rescue team to check out the various time-periods they might have ended up in.
Doctor Phlox on Enterprise had over a dozen different scientific degrees (but none in warp theory).
A minor (never-seen) character, Dr. Vassbinder, is apparently an expert in temporal mechanics, warp propulsion inter-relays, warp particle ionization, physiognomy, and psychology (the last three mentioned in the same sentence, even). Physiognomy is the study of using a person's face to determine their personality. Mixed with warp theory and temporal mechanics is outright bizarre, and still unlikely mixed with psychology.
Starfleet captains, but especially Picard and Janeway, tend to be this. They have science officers and engineers to do those jobs on a daily basis, but they know the disciplines well enough to keep up and contribute ideas when a specialist is explaining the latest Techno Babble to them. In a pinch, they can take over pretty much any job on the ship.
On LOST, Dr Jack Shephard is a spinal surgeon, but seems to be up to speed on thoracic surgery, optometry, general medicine, and is relatively confident about delivering babies.
On the other hand, Juliet was basically useless beyond her specialty (fertility) and some basic first aid. Bernard the dentist applies medicine in a Closest Thing We Got fashiom. Juliet, with Bernard's help, successfully removed Jack's appendix on the island. That doesn't sound like "basic first aid". To be fair, Jack was coaching her, but Bernard knocked him out before he could give any real instructions.
On Crossing Jordan Nigel Townsend is a straight example of this. He knows everything about everything and readily admits it. It is even addressed by another character in one of the episodes. 'Dare I ask how he knows these things?' Another character responds, 'It's better not to question it.'
The Stargate Verse tried to avert this by bringing in guest stars or occasionally even nameless specialists. However, this trope is still played straight several times in the franchise.
In Stargate Atlantis, half of the main cast during the final season consists of scientists and medical experts with various specializations, and most of the other recurring guest characters are scientists as well. This would make sense, as it's a scientific expedition they've undertaken. That said, among the main characters Dr. Rodney McKay is the go-to guy for an inordinately wide variety of problems, as he has far exceeded his original field and is now Atlantis' omnidisciplinary expert on alien technology. Not surprisingly, as at the beginning of the series McKay was the only scientist in his team, while the other three main characters (Sheppard, Teyla, Ronon) were pilots and combat experts.
At the same time, McKay is utterly useless in biology and medicine, calling the latter "vodoo science". This doesn't stop him from being good friends with Carson Beckett and joining the Mile High Club with Jennifer Keller, both MDs.
On Stargate SG-1, Dr. Samantha Carter filled this niche prior to Dr. McKay. Originally a theoretical physicist, in the SG-1 team she was pretty much a standard Omnidisciplinary Scientist for everything technological, basically anything that didn't fit Dr. Daniel Jackson's specialties (archaeology and linguistics). (After the end of the SG-1 series, Carter was transferred to Atlantis, to take over command from Dr. Elizabeth Weir.) One of the few female examples.
Was humorously averted in Stargate SG-1 at times, though. One episode opens with the team encountering a woman in labor; all the guys look at Sam, who immediately yells, "What? I don't know what to do!"
At one point, O'Neill asks her about a worryingly close active volcano, but she replies that she isn't a volcanologist and can't help.
Jackson himself feels like a liberal arts version of an Omnidisciplinary Scientist, given how easily he can provide information on any pre-modern Earth culture, not to mention his knowledge of languages. Contrast this with the movie version, where he was explicitly an Egyptologist. Albeit, an Egyptologist with enough knowledge of astronomy to be able to piece together how the Stargate worked. In this sense, the television show took away this aspact of Jackson's character. While Sam was allowed to encroach onto Daniel's territory with knowledge of anthropology and cultures and sociological knowledge, after the pilot episode, Daniel's ability to grasp things like astronomy was steadily removed and dumbed down to create the Overly Long Gag that the rest of the team were incapable of keeping up with Sam's super intelligent scientific knowledge (this despite the pilot confirming Daniel had solved in two weeks, using astronomy, what she - the expert - had spent two years failing to discover). The short of it was, the plot dictated whether it was Daniel or Sam who had the answer, regardless of whether it made any sense for them to actually know.
In Stargate Universe Dr. Rush is set up to be this. Admittedly most issues brought up so far deal with ancient technology, which he is supposed to be an expert on, and the basics of other fields, he has a tendency to refuse all other help. Averted in the pilot however, when he needed an MIT dropout to solve a math problem that he'd being working on for 2 years.
In a later episode, he also admitted to Colonel Young that only Eli could have solved the problem of the week. Naturally, Rush immediately asks Young to keep that on the down-low, especially from Eli.
Eli himself is presented as becoming this when he and the crew (except Rush) got copied/timeslipped into the past, and wrote all the original science textbooks for the civilization the crew founded. Everyone seems to agree on two main points about Eli: He is, by far, the most intelligent and potentially valuable person on the crew, and if he is to ever achieve anything of lasting importance it is vital that he not know this.
Professor Arturo in Sliders, despite supposedly being a cosmologist or sometimes a more general theoretical physicist, successfully creates penicillin in an early episode (in a world where medicine was much less advanced). Later, quite unbelievably, he was capable of performing a Caesarean section on another (male) character, despite having no experience with any form of surgery, let alone such an exotic circumstance as a male pregnancy. And then there was the time he revived a deactivated android... However, each of these cases was lampshaded with dialogue about how hard and/or different from maths he found it.
Henry Deacon manages to be Omnidisciplinarian whenever the plot requires despite living in a town entirely populated by scientific geniuses and which should, in theory, be able to field an entire team of specialists on whatever virus/natural disaster/temporal anomaly is threatening the town this week. He's also the town's mechanic. Lampshaded whenever he changes the patch he wears on his uniform to reflect whatever job he happens to be doing, as when he pulled a patch reading "Coroner" out of his pocket just as he walked into a morgue. The sheriff's dependence on Henry may be partially justified: given how eccentric most of the people he's met in Eureka appear to be, he might prefer to work with a guy who seems relatively "normal", and isn't going to wander off to play fetch with his robot dog or whatever.
He also had a patch ready after winning the town Mayor position.
Fargo seems to wind up as the assistant to pretty much anyone at Global Dynamics who's doing anything interesting, dangerous, or plot-important. It helps him live up to his Butt Monkey status, though you have to wonder how someone who looks like he's just out of high school could possibly have had the time to learn that much. He also takes over from Henry on several occasions. Later in an AU timeline (but still the same Fargo) he's smart and composed enough to run Global Dynamics and keep track of everything.
Interestingly subverted in one episode in which a disease that makes people stupid runs through Eureka. When Carter rounds up the scientists who weren't infected on account of being vegetarians who didn't eat the broken Artificial Meat and ask them to fix it, he quickly finds out that not every scientist is an expert in human immunology, winding up with a "chemist, a botanist, a math theorist, and a...lepipotamus*
The hero of Quantum Leap, Sam Beckett, had seven doctorates, including Chemistry, Physics, Astronomy, Medicine, Archaeology, Ancient Languages...and Music. He knows an awful lot but the time-travel process has scrambled his mind a bit, which means that he'll know or not know as the plot demands.
Dr. Jacob Hood, biophysicist and special science advisor to the FBI, from Eleventh Hour. Being an Omnidisciplinarian with an extra helping of awesomesauce is the entire role of his character.
Fred in Angel is presented as a physics student, but by the fifth season she's doing autopsies, examining things under microscopes, and boiling up chemicals. This despite the fact that she never even finished her first physics degree. Like other examples here, she does at least have a team that she works with.
Reid on Criminal Minds has Ph.D.s in chemistry, mathematics and engineering, B As in psychology and sociology, and he is working on a bachelor's degree in philosophy.
From the very first episode:
Hotchner: "This is Special Agent Gideon; Special Agent Morgan, our expert obsessional crime; Special Agent Reid—"
Gideon: "Doctor Reid."
Hotch: "—Doctor Reid, our expert on, well, everything."
Walter Bishop of Fringe is a partial subversion. His expertise ranges from biology to teleportation technology but at least has the good grace to not build things that work perfectly on his first try. (the teleporter for example does something very nasty, but non-lethal, to you). His son is close enough to this that he can point out when Walter is ignoring the laws of physics and common sense.
Fringe has actually been fairly consistent about it - Walter is mostly a trained biochemist, but he is also superintelligent and has spent a lot of time working with other disciplines. His more elaborate inventions were pretty explicitly developed in collaboration with other people. And he has a great deal of trouble with stuff outside his knowledge — when given a stack of books that explain a time machine, he complains that it would take 20 years and a team of expert assistants for him to absorb all the information. But he's smart enough to get the gist of how it works, even if he couldn't build one.
The show behaves as if "fringe science" were a single category of scientific endeavor, overlapping physics, biology, biochemistry, and a dozen or so others (Sonoma State University may have once offered a degree in fringe science, but Harvard not so much). Walter Bishop is shown as an expert on teleporters one minute and performing autopsies the next. They even occasionally send patents to his clearly unhygienic lab to have him perform surgeries. Not that the character isn't a hoot. He also knows a lot about LSD.
In reality more than a few fringe scientists do think like that. At least one of the cold fusion groups has a medical doctor as a consultant.
In reality "fringe" science is stuff considered so laughable that almost nobody studies it (you can pick up everything currently known about, say, Phrenology from one thick book) so there's very little to actually learn, almost none of which is actually useful. It's not hard to be a fringe science Renaissance Man - what's hard is being a practical fringe scientist. This makes some promising research projects(such as cold fusion) almost impossible to staff because the nutcase-to-Worm Guy ratio is just absurd - few mainstream scientists realize what they're looking at if anomalous data appears, and most nutcases think they've cured cancer if they drop bleach on the petri dish. Case in point, radioastronomers spent decades enhancing and tweaking their instruments trying to eliminate what they thought was earth-based "noise" before they realized they had discovered cosmic microwave background radiation.
She seems to be any type of biological science, Will is brought in specifically to deal with the mental doctoring and Henry is the technical expert.
Recently Nikola Tesla has being brought in for additional technological and immunological expertise (being a vampire might stimulate one's interest in biology, after all).
Gaius Baltar in the 2000s Battlestar Galactica is possibly a deconstruction. He's a computer scientist who's too arrogant to admit that biochemistry (or whatever other science he's consulted on) is out of his area of expertise.
It's even Lampshaded in one episode. After Baltar is left for dead on New Caprica, the job of plotting a course to Earth (previously one of Baltar's many responsibilities) is turned over to Lt. Gaeta, who, as Galactica's tactical officer, has an actual background in astronomy. Admiral Adama and President Roslin comment on the sudden improvement in efficiency.
And yet the voices in his head guide him to make a fully functional Cylon detector; too bad he's too scared to use it. It identified Boomer as a Cylon - but it takes 8 hours for a single sample to be processed. He would need more than 60 years to process all the samples of the refugee fleet. If he forgoes sleep that is. However, whether the reading was a false positive or whether Boomer, having already demonstrated Machine Empathy, was subconsciously manipulating the results is left unexplored.
Leonard and Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory are physicists, but seem well-versed enough in biology, genetics, robotics, and computer science to conduct experiments involving them as well. This is not including the various areas of science that they can discuss casually and in great depth.
Somewhat justified as the one who tries most to be an Omnidisciplinary Scientist is Sheldon, who is (the Hollywood version of) somebody who "suffers" from Asperger's syndrome. Also, he frequently turns out to be wrong when faced with topics unrelated to physics, such as when he tries to learn Chinese, or in the discussion with the comic book store guy, or even when it comes to semiotics (a tie on a doorknob?). As far as the battle robot is concerned, the driving force behind the idea is Howard, who is an engineer, not a physicist. In one episode he tries to help his biologist girlfriend Amy in her lab and fails utterly, despite being so full of himself he thinks he can do it.
Also note that most of the show's main characters are geeks. While not absolving them of stereotyping, their nerdy pursuits would allow them to have working knowledge of any geeky interest they enjoy, as they would want to know how something from comic books or science fiction would be plausible; indeed, many cold opens are the guys debating the workings of superpowers, Time Travel, or science in general.
Howard's being an engineer, not a physicist, is brought up fairly often by other characters disparaging him because he "only" has an M. Eng.
Howard: I have a master's degree!
Gablehauser: Who doesn't?
In fact, only Sheldon is a theoretical physicist. Leonard is an experimental physicist and Raj an astrophysicist.
Subverted when Howard claimed that as the engineer he is, he will fix the elevator in no time. Then claims the elevator is beyond reparation.
Dr. Spaceman (pronounced "Spatchemmen") in 30 Rock performs work of all kinds; he's equally unskilled at all branches of science...
Partially averted in Power Rangers Dino Thunder. Although Tommy is well established as being a doctor of paleontology, this expertise in dinosaurs still enables him to create dinosaur cyborgs ranging in size from motorcycle sized to kaiju size, to create magical bio-armor (powered by magical "dino gems"), etc. Basically, he can do anything if its either shaped like or named after a dinosaur. More broad than the average paleontologist, certainly, but he's technically staying within his field of study.
Kinda justified by the fact that he spent hishigh schoolyears using hyperadvanced alien technology to fight crime as an afterschool activity. He was bound to pick something up.
He also had help, as it's outright stated that he couldn't have done it without Hayley. (Who is a straight example of this trope.)
Played realistically on NCIS when coroner Ducky is shown studying for his forensic psychology exam, which he passed. And...that's it. He hasn't gotten any more degrees, but that Master's FP degree comes in handy on several occasions.
Bernard Quatermass develops into one of these over the course of three serials. In his first story he describes himself as just an engineer and relies on surgeon Dr. Briscoe for anything relating to biology, but by his third encounter with aliens he's done quite a bit of brushing up on other fields.
Scorpius of Farscape fame specializes in many different fields: originally a researcher in wormhole physics, he's also skilled enough in engineering, cybernetics and neuroscience to invent the Aurora chair and a neurochip containing a replica of his personality. And he's also Wicked Cultured.
Chase on House apparently spent about 60 years as a resident. While his place on a diagnostic team does indicate he would have a wide knowledge base he has performed actual surgeries in virtually every conceivable surgical discipline.
Averted somewhat by House himself- though he's a medical genius, he surrounds himself with a team of specialists to round out his knowledge pool. He apparently has a double specialty in Infectious Diseases and Nephrology (study of the kidneys).
Everyone on House's staff is one, considering they run every test themselves, instead of asking technicians to perform whichever tests are needed. Not only have they done every type of surgery, in between they operate an MRI scanner and do all kinds of microbial cultures. Sheesh.
It sorta makes sense. They do not have routine patients after all, and very often they only crack the case by spotting something wholly unrelated during a test, something that would have been completely overlooked or ignored by a 'mere' technician. For instance, when out of other ideas, they'll sometimes resort to a whole-body MRI in the hopes of finding something out of place. If they were to assign that to a tech, what exactly would they tell them to look for? But also, considering House's personality, he wants them running each test themselves to establish that he's the boss and can make them do the work of lowly techs, and so that if there's ever a mistake made in the test, he can hold them personally responsible for screwing up.
The X-Files: Dr Dana Scully sometimes comments on psychological issues despite the fact that it's Mulder who has the degree in this area.
Natalie on Forever Knight, although she's the medical examiner, is represented as doing a variety of science stuff (although not much is shown onscreen) in attempting to understand vampire Nick Knight's condition and "cure" him.
Charlie Epps from NUMB3RS is a mathematics prodigy. Besides being an Omnidisciplinary Mathematician (he seems to know everything about every algorithm ever made) he also seems to be an expert on chemistry, sociology, computer programing and physics. The only reason that he needs such a wide variety of skills is that the team of FBI agents he works with are all idiots.
Charlie has the sort of knowledge in the computer and physical sciences that are required support for a mathematics degree at many universities. Really, Amita is the expert programmer and Larry the expert physicist (and Bill Nye the expert chemist).
Charlie is omnidisciplinary within mathematics, however (Omnisubdisciplinary?).
Dr. Julia Hoffman of Dark Shadows qualifies. When first mentioned (but not yet seen), she's an expert on blood disorders, then turns up at Windcliff Sanitarium where she demonstrates psychiatric/psychological training, and in later episodes turns out to be a qualified surgeon, research scientist (her search for a cure for Barnabas), and even electrical engineer.
Topher Brink of Dollhouse is an expert in neuroscience, computers, and electrical engineering. It's somewhat necessary for his job. He's also been to medical school, though we don't actually know if he's an MD.
Echo is a more justified example - she has dozens of different personalities in her head, including a nurse and a few rocket scientists.
Averted on Threshold: fully half of the original red team are scientists, and a fourth is added later. All have different areas of expertise - the fourth is a plant biologist.
Standard procedure for most soap opera doctors. One on One Life to Live appeared to simultaneously be an internist, surgeon, OB/GYN, neonatologist, and pathologist.
Melrose Place''s Kimberly started out as a surgeon. Then after committing a myriad of offenses which should have sent her to jail for life, as well as cost her her medical license, she effortlessly resumed her medical career...in psychiatry.
Averted in Caprica. Dr. Amanda Graystone works at the hospital as a plastic surgeon. Therefore, when she sees a car accident, she does not rush over to offer first aid.
Simon Campos on Flashforward is a quantum physicist who also reads medical charts and breaks encryption.
Siroc on Young Blades is introduced as a Gadgeteer Genius and man ahead of his time, but by the end of the series is shown as knowledgeable in knowledgeable in biology, engineering, forensics, medicine, and whatever other branch of science the plot requires.
Omnidisciplinary Lawyer: On JAG, Harm argues before a Navajo Tribunal Court in "The Return of Jimmy Blackhorse" and an Australian Court in "Boomerang". Mac argues before a Sharia court in "The Princess and The Petty Officer". And both Harm and Mac defends Secretary of the Navy Edward Sheffield at the International Criminal Court in "People v. SecNav".
Averted in "Innocence" where they hire a Japanese attorney, and in "Standards of Conduct" where it's clear that neither Harm nor Sturgis has any intimate knowledge nor experience with civil cases (but Bud does).
The lawyer variant is subverted in an episode of The Cosby Show. Vanessa gets a school assignment to make a video about the job of one of her parents. She eagerly picks her lawyer mom, thinking she does exciting criminal law cases like what they always show on TV. The problem is, she's a real estate lawyer, which Vanessa quickly finds dreadfully boring. That her father helps deliver babies on the other hand...
Dr. Morris in Now And Again is a brilliant medical doctor, able to create an artificial human from scratch with superhuman strength and nanotech-based Healing Factor. He also performed the first successful human brain transplant from a victim of a subway accident to the new body. While being a clear case of Open Heart Dentistry, that's not all. First of all, there's the "nanotech" part, which requires one to be a computer engineer as well. One episode also has him demonstrate a prototype anti-missile shield and explain why it's current applications are limited (it requires a highly-ionized atmosphere, such as during a thunderstorm). This also, apparently, makes him an expert on particle physics.
Smallville: Emil Hamilton's official role (and actual job) on the show is as the team's doctor. However, he's also everything from Gadgeteer Genius to biologist to coroner when the team needs him to be. Basically, if the team needs computer skills, they'll go to Chloe or Tess. If they need anything else, they go to Emil.
The show "Ask Dr. Science" was about a man with a Master's Degree... in Science. His ideas were crazy. Note that you actually can get a degree called "Master of Science" in some countries, but it must be in a subfield like Physics or Biology. You can't get a Master's of Science in Science.
GURPS had an explicit skill for this, called, appropriately enough, Science!The exclamation point was key. Later editions of the game generalized this beyond science to other skills; someone who had the equivalent skill for guns would get to use most of the Guns and Gunplay Tropes, for instance.
In the 3rd Revised Edition all these exclamation-mark skills were meant only for highly cinematic play, to simulate mad geniuses and gadgeteers, not realistic scientists. The 4th Edition retains Science! but only as a cinematic skill in order to simulate this specific trope. The ridiculously expansive skill list allows for a more realistic scientists (broken down to the level of era and subspecialties).
Similarly, Spirit Of The Century has a single Science skill, making it easier to have Weird and Mad Scientists. It's possible for a character to be specialized in a particular field, but this simply provides a bonus when working in that field; you can work outside this area no problem.
Exalted. If you have Lore and Occult, you can do Science. Probably justified in the case of older Exalts, who are hundreds or even thousands of years old and have thus had a lot of time to study. Every Exalt is a jack-of-all-trades with regard to any of the 25 abilities.
The Mage The Ascension gameline from the Old World of Darkness was rife with this, as skills on the character sheet came in broad categories such as "technology", "medicine", "science", "computers" and "academics", specialization optional. The reality-bending technomages on the side of the Nine Traditions could easily slip into this trope, especially the Sons of Ether who embodied the Mad Scientist and/or Mad Doctor trope to a T. Strangely, all the awakened super-scientists, engineers, spacepilots, pharmacologists, cybersurgeons and geneticists of the Technocracy were far more specialized and usually stuck to their field of expertise, despite the fact that the Technocracy was All About Science.
It may have had something to do with the fact that the Sons of Ether tended to be loners or at the very least disorganized and thus were encouraged to be at least decent in a little of everything, while the Technocracy is Also All About Organization and had dedicated branches for specific needs.
Technically, a storyteller is instructed to require a relevant specialty to build, repair, or analyze something (e.g. to fix a car engine you could justify with craft spec "cars", science spec "engine design", etc). This is why specialties are relatively cheap and bought separately from the skill ranks. This was rarely ENFORCED for mages because the paradigm system usually meant that they could usually declare whatever specialty they had relevant (e.g. take crafts/pastries and the paradigm "everything is secretly a cake". BAM, now your skill focus lets you fix the car, because you see the moist, sugary goodness beneath the lie of spark plugs and pistons.)
Genius The Transgression has the same broad categories as all New World of Darkness games, but Geniuses also have the explicit ability to apply their skills to related yet bizarrely inappropriate circumstances. If they learn to drive a car they can use those skills to guide a spaceship through re-entry.
Then again, another of the abilities of a Genius is to spend Mania to intuitively understand technology. Given that "technology" is a very broad category, there's a high chance of overlap between those two skills.
Any character with Science skill in the current edition of the World of Darkness is this by default, as there's only one "Science" skill, just as there's only one "Academics" skill. Even the specialities are extremely broad, such as "Physics" or "Chemistry."
d20 Modern does divide the sciences into multiple Knowledge skills. However, there are only four of them - behavioral sciences, earth and life sciences, physical sciences, and technology. Under this system, a geologist character will also be an expert on biology. Furthermore, it is easy for a Smart Hero to max out several of these skills and be a true Omnidisciplinary Scientist.
Rifts and other Palladium Books games have this trope in spades. In the case of the original Rifts book, there's the Rogue Scientist, who can grab any and all science skills in the book. The CAF Scientist in Phaseworld is similar, though he does get to pick one science at a slightly higher bonus as his specialization (as in, his specialization is in one entire scientific field). Heroes Unlimited has other examples, but as the point of that game is to make comic book style superheroes, it's likely done on purpose in that case.
Maid RPG. In the replay "Maids at the End of the World", the Master is Masami Onji a scholarly genius who is greatly knowledgeable about every field imaginable.
A rare theatrical (and totally pseudoscientific) example is the "very small prophet" from Gilbert and Sullivan's The Sorcerer who is an expert:
One of the major motivations of Goethe's Faust is that he is such an omnidisciplinary expert. He's mastered all the sciences of his time and found such grand knowledge unsatisfying, so he takes up magic and demonology and makes his infamous pact with Mephistopheles to carry him beyond mere science.
As said below though, far enough back in history one man could know all the scientific knowledge there was at that point.
Parodied in Portal 2 by GLaDOS, who casually mentions an engineer with "A medical degree, in fashion." As usual with GLaDOS, this is just to torment the (female) player character, by taunting her about her image.
GLaDOS is one of these herself though, since she seems to be knowledgable about all fields of science. Not surprising as she is an AI.
Guildenstern in the Onimusha games initially seems to be only a demon biologist or geneticist, but later installments have him dipping into chemistry, electronic warfare, physics, engineering, and so on.
Caulder/Stolos in Advance Wars: Days of Ruin is described by Dr. Morris as having been "kicked out of the medical academy", but is knowledgeable about a great deal of things unrelated to medicine.
Lash from the two prior games is a lesser version — she mostly showcases her mechanical knowledge but is proficient in several other fields as well.
The Engineer from Team Fortress 2 claims to have eleven Ph.Ds, despite specializing in building automated weapons and support devices in-game. After all he can build teleporters. 11 degrees do help with that. He does by by pounding them with a wrench, but still. The same sentence mentions that they are all hard science PhDs. Given that engineering is a broad field, involving mathematic and physic, it is comprehensible how he accumulated them, though it is still impressive.
The scientists from the original Half-Life all carry magic healing syringes, and can treat all injuries.
In the Haloverse, Dr. Catherine E. Halsey, Chief Scientist of the Office of Naval Intelligence, was the key mind behind all aspects of the Spartan-II project, from the augmentations to the MJOLNIR armor, and was also a major authority on Artificial Intelligences, among other things overseeing the creation of the AIs who were to be uploaded to the Spartan's MJOLNIR armor (most notably Cortana, who was directly copied from a clone of Halsey's brain). She was also heavily involved in researching both Covenant and Forerunner technology.
Professor Oak/Elm,etc from Pokémon claim to be "Pokémon doctors" which seems to mean that they're geneticists, naturalists, and maybe veterinarians. But they have the technological know-how to build electronic encyclopedias, teleporters, artificial intelligences, and some crazier things.
Though each one does claim a specific field that they study. Professor Rowan studies Pokemon evolution, for example.
Averted by Mass Effect. If Liara is in your party when you encounter the Rachni, she will tell you she's an archaeologist, not a biologist, and has no idea what they are.
In the "From Ashes" DLC of Mass Effect 3, Liara's other companion on the mission on Eden Prime will ask if she ever uncovered a dinosaur while digging. She will point out that paleontology and archaeology are different fields before realizing the squadmate was joking.
Played straight in Mass Effect 2 with Mordin Solus — Although he is primarily a medic, he knows a bit about pretty much everything. He took the job as a back alley doctor on Omega Station as a peaceful retirement plan (which involved occasionally murdering criminals trying to squeeze him for protection money) after over a decade of work for his government's intelligence agency, both in field work and in designing biological and nanotechnological weapons. He also takes care of all the upgrades on Normandy SR-2 as his sidework, main project being studying the Collectors. Seriously, this guy really is the very model of a scientist salarian. But don't assume that he's a tech 'expert', or he will die in the final mission.
True to its Super Hero roots, City of Heroes has a few, the most notable being Mad Scientist Dr. Aeon. He's done time and dimensional travel, attempted a geothermal plant (which only failed because he hit a demon's prison while drilling and decided that would work way better than a volcano), created his own super-powered army, built a personal battle suit, and a virtual reality corporation. It's been said that he has the mental capacity to juggle hundreds of projects simultaneously.
Fallout 3 has Dr. Li and Dad (maybe others). Li apparently is trained in botany and hydroponics and also can make a mean Giant Stompy Robot-driving high-output compact fusion generator. Dad apparently has training with theoretical quantum physics (or whatever science is involved in the Genesis Device-like GECK) and also general practice medicine.
This trope applies for the player character him/herself, right from the first game. There is a skill simply labeled "Science", which among other things covers computer programming, pharmacology and agriculture. Medicine is a separate skill, though there is some overlap.
Doctor Dala in the Fallout New Vegas DLC Old-World Blues claims to have 213 doctorates, many of which are in fields that didn't exist before she began studying them. She and the rest of the Think Tank have been "alive" for well over three hundred years by the time you meet them.
Every Capsuleer (that is, every player character) in EVE Online can be this. Cybernetics, "Neural Remapping" for super-intelligence, and effective immortality let Capsuleers master fields in astrophysics, mechanical and electrical engineering, "astrogeology", industrial operation, and economics, on top of being a weapons expert and having superhuman piloting skills. All this skill and knowledge has a tendency to make them feel a bit superior and distant, at best.
Mega Man X was found by Dr. Cain, who managed to build working knock-offs (even if reploids aren't as good as androids), which is actually kind of impressive for a paleobotanist (he was there looking for Mesozoic plants). A subversion since his failure to accurately replicate X is an ongoing part of the plot, producing Iris and Colonel as late as the fourth game.
Averted and lampshaded in Tales Of The Abyss with JadeCurtiss. Everybody expects him to be one, but as it turns out his doctorate revolves around fonons rather than biology or medicine. As such, he gives one or two exasperated sighs whenever people have a science question and he has to explain that, it's "not (his) subject." Oddly enough, his inferior rival, Dist, is closer to this trope as he's done the same kind of research Jade has along with building huge machines.
Zigzagged a bit, though. Jade repeatedly claims not to be an expert in various fields, but if he's called upon to express an opinion anyway, or in one case comes up with an idea on his own that he wants confirmed by a genuine expert, he is always right. So while he claims not to be this, and makes a good point that you can't expect it, he's apparently well-read enough that he qualifies anyway.
One mission in Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan 2 involves helping a young genius doctor who moves to a small island town, only to be swamped with all manner of requests for help from the citizens. It seems that in addition to being a physician, he can also treat male pattern baldness, give therapeutic massages to animals, and repair microwave ovens. Of course, that's the whole joke, because he's doing non-doctor things.
In Metal Gear basically every scientist is this, especially Naomi, which is not only capable of creating a complex virus that targeted specific individuals, but also multipurpose nanomachines, both of which she injected Snake with at the beginning of Metal Gear Solid; In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots she also shows great understanding of computers, being capable of creating an encrypted file that only Sunny was able to decrypt.
In Arcanum, one of the professors at Tarant University studies both Phrenology and Demonology because he doesn't like the idea of becoming a specialist.
Scientists generally tend to be this way in the Final Fantasy series.
In Girl Genius, several of the more powerful Sparks show this. Gil, for example, has built flying machines, extremely powerful electric generators, a combat-capable robot to practice fencing with, and built his own servant (plus repaired two others). There are a few more that are hinted to have this trope, but haven't exhibited their full range of talents (his father, Klaus, so far has mostly been shown working on biological sciences, though he seems to understand other fields quite well).
It is implied in the Girl Genius Wiki that most Sparks do stick to one or two fields - they're just 'Reed Richards on speed' in that field. Gil and Agatha's primary fields, for example, seem to be mechanical - while Word Of God says that Klaus's specialities are biological stuff and reverse-engineering things built by other Sparks (and reverse-engineering other Sparks). So this could be seen as a type of Lampshading.
At least one character is a mad social scientist, who gets annoyed that the engineering ones steal all the funding. And to be more specific, Agatha seems to excel in making clanks and ray guns, although being a Heterodyne she has a LOT of natural talent in nearly any field.
Gil is actually more of a biology specialist, hence being the go-to guy for doctor questions, where as Tarvek is mechanical engineering, hence his facination with and amazing ability to create/manipulate the muses. All Sparks seem to come together on the subject of weapons.
Tarvek seems to be more like Klaus, with an extraordinary ability to analyze and replicate creations. His interest with the muses is just because they were built for his ancestor, and thus him.
Q: What kind of doctor is he anyway? That's a PhD on his wall. The sign in front of his office says he's a physician. In the one comic he's doing dental work on a patient, and then says he's a podiatrist!
A: Ninjas are mysterious in their ways. Way mysterious.
One scene shows the Doctor with a wall of diplomas.
One storyline reveals that he is apparently every kind of doctor thanks to an army of clones going out to learn everything. Except for agricultural science, that clone had to go into hiding. He changed his name to "Old." You know, Old McNinja. He's a farmer.
This trope is later subverted again in the same comic, when the crew encounter an unknown life-form, and the captain asks both Kevyn and the ship's doctor for their "professional opinion." Neither one helps.
More recently, Tagon's Toughs has acquired a specialist on A.I. and robotics, who calls Kevyn "an arrogant generalist" on first meeting him. They eventually reach a balance, as Kevyn has more practical experience than the average scientist, and helps the newbie wrap her brain around concepts like "the value of field testing".
Molly in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! seems to approach all branches of knowledge holistically, and possesses an incalculably vast grasp of astrophysics, engineering, biology, literature, drama, philosophy, comic book trivia, cartoons, nursery rhymes... and yet still comes across as a bit of a ditz with very little common sense.
It has been lampshaded a couple of times that Jean Poule is strictly a biologist, and although she thinks space travel is amazingly cool*
The strip also has Doctor Schlock, who has figured out how to clone aliens, travel through time, control nanobot swarms, and make inflatable versions of just about anything. In his first strip alone he attempted to test a vaccine, "air pills" that would delay someone from drownig, and slightly radioactive mascara on Bun-Bun (and that was just his "present-day" self).
Dr Nonami: Both Nonami and Mechano specialize in robotics, but also are extremely proficient in all other areas of science.
Casey And Andy dabble in any and every field to cause disasters; quantum physics, chemistry, engineering, medicine, you name it. They can build things that can do anything you wish, as long as you specify it with a descriptive name that ends with "-O-Mat". ("Can you build a Bio-Signature-Tracker-O-Mat?") They've created death rays, explosives, genengineered world-eaters, wood-fueled submarines, spacecraft, planck adjusters, wolverine claws, and started a massive fire with only jello and pineapple chunks.
Doctor Steel's Ph.D is never elaborated on (according to him, he is a "doctor of reality engineering"), but he's "displayed" skills in engineering, mathematics, biology, medicine, chemistry... baking (well, not so much)...
The Spoony Experiment: Doctor Insano has "the power of science", which allows him to shoot lasers out of his hands. Presumably, all the other X-Sanos are equally gifted.
In Atop The Fourth Wall's review of Spider Man's "Planet of the Symbiotes" arc, he notes a sign advertising a "Science Expo" and comments on how in Comic Book World, "Science" seems to be a single discipline.
The Journal Entries have several of them, particularly Ken Shardik. Justified in that most of the characters are functionally immortal and so have time to acquire any skill set they desire. Ken is the oldest living being in the known universe, and had to do rather a lot of stuff on his own (there being nobody else for a long time).
Dr. Benton Quest, from Jonny Quest. Any example below without an explanation means he was shown conducting research in the area.
Archeology: "Treasure of the Temple", "The Curse of Anubis" (called in as an expert)
Biology: "The Quetong Missile Mystery" (analyzing cause of fish death), ''Monster in the Monastery" (identifying a fake yeti scalp as antelope hide)
Chemistry: "Riddle of the Gold" (identifying the gold as fake)
Engineering: "The Fraudulent Volcano" (extinguisher bomb), "Pirates from Below" (underwater prober), "Shadow of the Condor" (mining filter)
Geology/Volcanology: "The Fraudulent Volcano" (called in as an expert)
Nuclear Energy/Physics: "The Invisible Monster" (destroying the creature), "The Robot Spy" (the Para Power Ray Gun), "Mystery of the Lizard Men" (laser research)
Marine biology: "Skull and Double Crossbones", "The Dreadful Doll"
Medicine: "Calcutta Adventure" (sent to analyze illness cause), "The Dreadful Doll" (developing a poison cure), "Turu the Terrible" (healing a wounded Indian)
Metallurgy: "Turu the Terrible" (knowledge of trinoxite)
Meteorology: "The Devil's Tower"
Paleontology: "Turu the Terrible" (identifying Turu as a pteranodon by sight)
If you want to include the various remakes in the 1990's, you can also add computer science, cryonics and the paranormal.
Professor Farnsworth from Futurama fills this role often enough. Particularly in the first movie with his quote.
Hermes: Professor, can you wire my brain directly into the main Battle Net?
Professor: I can wire anything into anything! I'm the Professor!
Dr. Venture from The Venture Brothers is a parody of this. Rather than being competent in several fields, he's a Bungling Inventor who is incompetent in several fields. His lone talent seems to be in genetics/biology (still in the super-scientist range, mind you).
Jonas Venture, Jr. plays this a bit straighter, but mentioned having received several doctorates (in a month). And in any case, he thus far appears to have stuck to various forms of machinery.
Also parodied on South Park: Stan's father, Randy, is a geologist by trade, but is called on by the Mayor to investigate all manner of odd happenings, since aside from crazy geneticist Dr. Mephesto, Randy Marsh is the only scientist living in the entire town. He even lampshades this to the mayor, that his field of study is strictly geology.
At least, early in the show; newer episodes show Randy working in an office full of other geologists, and other scientists have appeared in other episodes.
Subverted in an episode of Kim Possible. Ron pleads with two kidnapped scientists to find some way to stop a gang of berserk robots, who explain they're both astrophysicists and know nothing of robotics.
And from another episode:
Jim and Tim: The television's broken! Can't you do something?
Mr./Dr. Possible: Well, I could put it in geosynchronous orbit, but I'm not sure how that would help.
Played straight with Doctor Drakken. A physicist by trade (specialising in robotics), he became a Mad Scientist, which is pretty much an anything-goes doctrine. He dabbles in chemistry, mindswapping, radical geology and any number of other fields. His actual plans can be awful, but his science is quite brilliant, even if he steals a lot of his inventions. The series does seem to a difference between real science, which is specialised and realistic and mad science which can do anything but is likely blow up in your face.
His arch-rival Professor Dementor seems to be more of a straight physicist, but that may be due more to his relative lack of screen time. Ironically, unlike the polymath Drakken, he is very competent and fairly successful, to the point that Drakken often steals from him (or at least tries to).
Professor Membrane and Zim from Invader Zim. Zim is more of an inversion, as he's barely competent to highly incompetent in almost everything he does, it's just that he's (badly) using super-advanced technology. His own computer system has pointed out his lack of adroitness on a few occasions. He is a highly capable engineer, but even here he tends to shoot himself in the foot. Sometimes literally.
An episode of Captain N The Game Master had Dr. Light, normally an expert of robotics, performing medical duties on a very human patient. Makes you wonder why they didn't use the opportunity to promote the Dr. Mario game.
Probably because it was one of the few episodes with no leanings toward comedy.
Prof. Algernon from Exo Squad is a partial subversion. On the one hand, he is skilled in theoretical physics (discovering the Gravitational Focus Effect which "cannot be explained by normal physics"), numerous forms of engineering (building the GRAF Shield, upgrading Able Squad's E-Frames), and neuroscience (curing Dark Matter Syndrome). Also VR painting. However, when consulted on the subject of genetics, he is quick to point out that it isn't his field and can provide no assistance.
Transformers Animated. Professor Sumdac spends most of the second season as Megatron's prisoner, forced to help him construct a space-bridge from stolen Autobot schematics. He specifically mentions that this isn't his area of expertise, though he gets the hang of it eventually (having Megatron as his 'boss' probably encouraged him).
"I don't know anything about space bridges, I don't claim to know anything about them, this is not even my area of expertise: I do servo mechanics, not teleportation."
Judging by his inventions, Professor Utonium of The Powerpuff Girls is, at the minimum, an electrical engineer, a chemist, a biologist, and a theoretical physicist.
The title characters of Phineas And Ferb have constructed everything from robots to spaceships to time machines, despite only being fourteen at most. The same goes for Mad Scientist Dr. Doofenshmirtz, who can create just about anything you can slap the "-inator" suffix on.
In Batman Mystery Of The Batwoman this is played with in Batwoman as she appears to be a brilliant martial artist who also invented miraculous gadgets and is a skilled and experienced computer hacker. It turns out it is three different women using one costume who each bring their own skills to the table.
Family Guy's Stewie has mastered time travel, weather manipulation, robotics, cloning...and still isn't potty-trained. Oh yeah, he's also Leonardo da Vinci.
The Real Ghostbusters: Egon Spengler is supposed to be a psychologist and parapsychologist. He is almost always a physicist (and paraphysicist) and mathematician as well. On top of that, depending on what the plot wants him to know, he's also a qualified engineer, microbiologist, evolutionary biologist, biochemist, chemist, entomologist, etc. And he still has time to be a mycologist in his spare time.
Dilbert: Dilbert has, on the show, designed exercise machines (one incorporating an experimental graviton generator), rockets, satellites, AIs, a rocket equipped with AI, and massive networked computer systems. His company has also produced everything from throat lozenges to rocket ships.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2012 has this trope all over the place. Donatello is only 15, and yet clearly is quite knowledgeable in engineering, robotics, and computer programming - even when its in an alien language. This might however be handwaved as a consequence of his mutant nature, as various human scientists tend to be more limited. Baxter Stockman is clearly more a robotics man than anythng else, and Doctor Falco doesn't dabble in too much beyond biology (even if taken to odd extremes). Its also invoked by Leo regarding why the Kraang took April's father, claiming that its because "He's a scientist", only to be defied by April when she points out that it doesn't mean her father's field of study is at all relevant to what the Kraang are doing.
Can, rarely, be an example of Truth in Television—if you go far enough back in history. This is the origin of the phrase Renaissance Man; during the Renaissance, most fields of science were sufficiently new and undeveloped that someone with above-average intelligence could be an expert in more than one or two. By Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe's time, science had sufficiently diversified that this was no longer possible except in emerging fields; Goethe (an extreme case of genius) is thus sometimes called "the last man to know everything". Much the same is said of Henri Poincaré (died 1912) in mathematics.
The Renaissance Mandid also have to know what at the time was treated like science and was later found not to actually work - all manner of mysticism, in short, including alchemy, astrology, etc. He would generally treat magic as another science - it made as much sense as anything else at the time.
Aristotle knew just about everything there was to know in his time. He proved the Earth was round, catalogued every known animal (along the way, he was the first to differentiate whales from fish), advanced all natural sciences, organized legal knowledge, and made art commentaries that are still quoted in colleges (particularly his problems with "Deus Machina" endings), and the list goes on... He quite literally wrote the book on every discipline of his time and made new advancements in almost every one of them.
Athanasius Kircher is another historical example, with Bunny-Ears Lawyer tendencies as well. Not only did he study geology, ancient Egyptian heiroglyphs ("decoding" occult meanings that probably weren't there), and microbiology (in his time a new science), he designed a "cat piano" played by making the cats squeal in pain.
While geared towards engineering rather than research, fields of bioengineering deal with applications of technology with respect to biological systems. This means that bioengineers have to be trained in various sciences pertaining to engineering (usually mechanical or electrical engineering, so various fields of physics) and biochemistry. This isn't nearly every discipline, of course, but it is still a much broader range than most scientists and engineers tend to deal with.
The first two years of an undergrad degree in bioengineering can feel like they are spent trying to become one of these. Often it isn't until the third year that students actually start bringing all those different disiplines together. Some people say doing actual engineering is what graduate school is for.
Averted in the case of the Wright brothers. You'd think that people who successfully developed powered flight would be something special and know about everything from engineering to physics to what have you. Wrong. No one on the Wright team had more than a high school education and the brothers themselves operated a bicycle shop.
But the high school the Wrights attended was equivalent to a modern four-year college and Wilbur had intended to go to Princeton.
Noam Chomsky may be the closest modern real life example. Not only is he knowledgeable in linguistics, philosophy, neuroscience and politics, but he's also a highly respected scientist in each field. (Except politics, where many of his opinions are viewed as crankish.)
Jared Diamond's book Guns, Germs and Steel is largely based on the fact that being a physiologist, geographer and a biologist (among other things) gave him a new viewpoint to anthropology and history. It's also why it's such a brilliant book that can be recommended to pretty much anybody who has any interest in... pretty much anything.
The specialization of scientists nowadays is in fact somewhat of a problem which many universities now try to fix by recommending interdisciplinary studies.
Al-Jazari (copied from the other wiki) was a "Muslim polymath: a scholar, inventor, mechanical engineer, craftsman, artist, mathematician and astronomer". Though he is most famous for his engineering feats. He invented robots.
Michael Faraday is essentially a founding figure in chemistry, physics, and any discipline involving electricity. He discovered the molecular structure of benzene (paving the way for practically all organic chemistry since), invented an early type of Bunsen burner, formulated and demonstrated the principle of electric induction (effectively inventing the electric generator), and invented the electric motor. His work also laid the ground for field theory in physics.
Debating a topic for long enough requires arguing from any POV or angles (scientific, metaphysical, cultural, economic, political..); this naturally leads to multidisciplinary understanding and comprehension, but not mastery.
Thomas Jefferson: botanist, architect, philosopher, inventor, engineer, statesman.
Benjamin Franklin: he was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, scientist, musician, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. Not to mention he invented Everything from Bifocals and a heater, to lighting rods. On top of that, he LITERALLY wrote the book on electricity.
Isaac Asimov was the guy other Science Fiction authors would go to for information on stuff. When asked what it felt like to know everything, he responded that it felt "like being a museum."
Yeshayuha Leibowitz, Israeli intellectual and outspoken Orthodox Jew, also had doctorates in philosophy, medicine, chemistry and biochemistry.
Several well-known crackpots throughout history considered themselves to be masters of several fields of science at once — and, sometimes, their followers agreed with them. Wilhelm Reich, who created the notion of Orgone Energy, was trained in medicine and psychiatry; but his propoents also claim he was an expert chemist, biologist, nuclear physicist, and astronomer, because his theories brushed up against those subjects.
Astronauts. Typically they have at least one doctorate in one of the hard sciences — multiple doctorates are common — plus they are cross-trained in other disciplines, and they learn how to operate spaceships, work in zero gravity, and fix stuff that goes wrong.
Many scientists are proficient computer programmers. They have a need for custom software and rarely have the funds to hire a pro. In many disciplines they also become very adept electronics technicians or mechanics as a result of building experimental equipment from scratch. Field biologists who collect live specimens can be alarmingly good shots with a rifle. Many chemists are (or at least, have been in the past) quite proficient glass blowers, due to the need to make custom equipment.