[[caption-width-right:316:They often end up like this.]]

It's AfterTheEnd, humanity is on the brink of extinction. In a remote outpost somewhere, one man is still looking to reverse this situation. He toils away in a laboratory trying to cure the disease, fix the Earth's Magnetic field, change the weather, or even build a time machine to go back and prevent the apocalypse.

The Sole Surviving Scientist needn't be completely alone, he might have some soldiers guarding him, a few survivors he's generously allowed into his stronghold, even an assistant. Regardless of his company he's the only real scientist left (that we know of). Can overlap with CrazySurvivalist, in which case expect some truly inspired HomeAloneAntics with {{Death Trap}}s.

Often the scientist's efforts are fruitless and he descends into depression, madness or a macabre obsession with studying mankind's downfall.

This trope is especially common in zombie fiction.


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Bulma in the ''Anime/DragonBallZ'' BadFuture timeline. She invented a time machine to send Trunks to the past and find a way to kill the androids.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Eugene Porter on ''ComicBook/TheWalkingDead'' claims to be this when he encounters Rick's group. He tells them he is a scientist who knows what caused the zombie outbreak and is working on a way to combat it. [[spoiler: However it is later revealed to be a lie, as Eugene only used this claim as a cover story to make himself seem important so stronger people with more practical skills for surviving the end of civilization would be willing to protect him]]
* There was a ''Film/TwentyEightDaysLater'' spin-off comic with a scientist who played a role in the creation of the [[HatePlague Rage Virus]]. He admits this to a girl that he had escaped a holding facility with, [[TheAtoner and plans to atone]] by becoming one of these, being that he's one of the few people alive (maybe the only one) who knows anything about the virus and has the best chance of curing it. Unfortunately, she had lost her parents earlier during the initial outbreak, and lost her brother during the escape. Apparently learning that the guy she'd been helping was the root cause of those things is too much for her, so first she kisses him, then grabs his gun and shoots him. Then lets herself be killed by the soldiers pursuing them. [[SubvertedTrope So much for that.]]
* ''{{ComicBook/BPRD}}'': When the Bureau gets its new headquarters, a disaffected nuclear-proof bunker in the mountains, they find an old scientist whose been living there since its was shut down, writing down notes on a typewriter for so long the keys wore out and it punched holes in the paper, he was so far gone he didn't notice. [[spoiler: He later releases an EldritchAbomination into the base thinking it some kind of angelic creature.]]

* Dr. Logan from ''Film/DayOfTheDead1985'' is a prime example. His obsessive pursuit of understanding the undead was a harsh critique on the pursuit of scientific knowledge without practical application.
** That being said, he had made some remarkable achievements; he managed to train a zombie to be peaceful and empathic, and even remember parts of his past life. Had he been allowed to continue his work, he could have used "tame" zombies to perform tasks out in the open without fear of being eaten, and even potentially influence an entire horde's behaviour.
** This is true, but when confronted he didn't bring up any such practical applications. He simply raved on a bout a need to understand, hence his focus was on satisfying his own curiosity rather then accomplishing anything productive.
* Dr. Robert Neville from the film version of ''Film/IAmLegend'' is about as alone as you can get.
* So is Robert Neville on ''Film/TheOmegaMan''.
* The future in-a-bubble scenes from ''Film/TheFountain'' appear to be this trope, although the oncologist is more concerned with staying alive until he reaches a far-off star than with restoring the Earth.
* Zac Hobson in ''Film/TheQuietEarth'', a scientist who was working on Project Flashlight. A malfunction caused almost everyone on Earth to simply disappear. He goes a little crazy in the first part of the movie, but after meeting two other survivors he tries to destroy the laboratory where the experiment took place so it can't happen again. It does anyway.
* Abby in ''Film/{{Grindhouse}}: Film/PlanetTerror'', [[spoiler:or he would have been if he hadn't gotten killed. This is lampshaded in the movie.]]
-->[[spoiler:'''Cherry Darling:''' I don't suppose anyone else here is a bio-chemical engineer?]]
* The scientist holed up in the high school-turned research facility in ''Film/{{Carriers}}''. He was originally part of a team trying to find a cure for the virus. Unfortunately, the best they managed was a serum that kept the patient alive for an extra three days, and that was ''in a worldwide joint effort''. By the time the main characters find him, he's showing obvious signs of infection, and is just about to mercy kill the remaining survivors in the school, along with himself.

* Edmond Haminton has a story where all the humanity has died except for a single immortal scientist. See CameBackWrong for a description of his efforts.
* In the ''Series/DoctorWho'' spin-off novel ''The Eyeless'', the Doctor visits a planet where most of the population was wiped out in an incomprehensible catastrophe. Professor Jeffip does his best to fill the Sole Surviving Scientist role.
* In ''Literature/TheGirlWithAllTheGifts'', [[spoiler:Dr. Caldwell]] is that, because [[spoiler:although quite competent, she wasn't among the scientists chosen to research the virus that caused the ZombieApocalypse. Those scientist then disappeared, leaving only Dr. Caldwell to do the job]].

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Dr. Edwin Jenner from ''Series/TheWalkingDead'' is a depressed and ultimately suicidal scientist found alone in the CDC bunker by the other survivors. Later in the series, the group encounters a character named Eugene Porter, who claims to be a scientist searching for a cure to the zombie outbreak.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': Professor Yana in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS29E11Utopia "Utopia"]], until the Doctor shows up. The sole scientist at the end of the universe trying to get a rocket ship to work, so he can send everyone to Utopia.
* ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|2003}}'': The [[spoiler:Final Five]] were [[spoiler:Earth-1's]] sole surviving scientists after a nuclear holocaust, who attempted to FlingALightIntoTheFuture, only to succumb to the next iteration of the cycle of violence at the hands of their progeny.
* ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'': In the episode "You're No Fun Anymore", where alien blancmanges turn everyone into Scotsmen in a plot to take over the Earth, a scientist and his bimbo stay out of their reach and search for the reason of the transformation of everyone into Scotsmen.

[[folder:Tabletop RPG]]
* ''TabletopGame/MaidRPG''. In the replay "Maids at the End of the World", there was a worldwide nuclear war that wiped out civilization. The Master is Masami Onji, an OmnidisciplinaryScientist dedicated to finding a way to restore the Earth.

* In the play ''Theatre/{{RUR}}'' (a.k.a. ''Rossum's Universal Robots''), after the robots kill off humanity, the sole survivor is Alquist. It is a significant plot point that Alquist is actually ''not'' a scientist at all (he was the clerk of the works at the robot factory); the robots want him to figure out how to allow them to reproduce, and he doesn't have the knowledge or skill to do so.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime3'', on the planet of Bryyo, you can read the journal entries of the last surviving scientist, as he tries to keep the world from suffering an environmental collapse. [[spoiler:He fails]].
* A clear example is Belthasar from ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'', who built the Epoch which would allow anyone to travel back in time and avoid the Earth's destruction by Lavos.
* The UsefulNotes/AdobeFlash game {{VideoGame/One Chance}} is all about this - you play a scientist trying to fix an accidentally lethal cure for cancer as it slowly infects everyone in the '''world'''.
* In another Flash game, ''VideoGame/LabOfTheDead'', the main character is a sole surviving researcher following in the footsteps of the original dead scientists.
* Adam Fenix is Sera's Sole Surviving Scientist in the ''VideoGame/GearsOfWar'' series. [[spoiler: The Locust get to Azura before Delta. They manage to kill everyone on the island except Adam, and they're literally at his door before being stopped.]]
* The Institute in ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 4}}'' are an entire society of this, leaning towards the macabre, depending on the Player's interpretation and actions.

* Othar in ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'' has been that but managed to go back in time ([[UnreliableNarrator according]] to his Twitter, anyway).
** Tarvek in the same Twitter may have been a better example, since ''he'' sent Othar back and was much closer to the problem (while Othar metaphorically "slept through it").

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ComicBook/VandalSavage ends up a sole surviving scientist in the episode "Hereafter" from ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague''. Not to mention the sole surviving human being. Turns out a few millennia alone with nothing but himself for company was all that was needed to show Savage the folly for his thirst for power.