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Einstein Hair

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Can figure out the laws of time and space. A comb, not so much.

"You should keep it. Looks more science-y."
The Eleventh Doctor to Albert Einstein, Doctor Who, "Death Is the Only Answer"

It seems that to properly convey that your male character is an Absent-Minded Professor or a Mad Scientist in fiction, you only need one thing: give him Einstein-esque hair. Bonus points if you go for the complete look. Additional bonus points if he uses a Van de Graaff generator or a Tesla coil instead of combing.

And it actually makes sense given that:

Contrast Wild Hair, which also indicates indifference to society's opinion, but otherwise has quite different connotations. Sub-Trope of Messy Hair. Compare Labcoat of Science and Medicine. See also Memetic Hair, which this style can be an example of.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Senku in Dr. STONE has a more vertically oriented version of this trope, combining it with Anime Hair. He seems to invoke the comparison to Einstein, given the E=mc^2 written on his clothes and him mimicking the "tongue out" pose in the first photograph in 3700 years.

    Asian Animation 

  • Doc Brown from Back to the Future has wild white hair that sticks out in all directions. In 1985, he has a dog named Einstein, who is his first living test subject for his time-travel experiments, and much of the movie takes place in 1955, the same year Einstein died.
    • The 1955 Doc even comments on the fact that he still has the hairstyle when watching a video of his future self.
    • Christopher Lloyd said in an interview that the hairstyle was inspired by a combination of Einstein and Leopold Stokowski (the orchestral conductor in Fantasia)
    • In the Telltale Games video game series, it's shown that young Emmett first got the hairstyle after an invention literally blew up in his face.
    • During Brown's quick cameo in the pre-show for The Simpsons Ride, he's glad when Krusty has acquired the Institute of Future Technology and Krusty orders him to get a haircut- it takes him three hours every morning just to get his hair like that.
  • In the second Scooby Doo movie, while messing with some potions, Scooby gains great intelligence and grows a white "mane" as a side effect.
  • Larry of The Three Stooges had a similar haircut, making it a rare example of the hairstyle being applied to an imbecile.
  • In Young Frankenstein, Frederick Frankenstein has a wild mane of hair after embracing the family tradition of Mad Science.
  • Wheeljack (aka Que) from Transformers: Dark of the Moon has wiring on his head that gives him this appearance, which matches his scientific background and somewhat eccentric attitude.

  • All The Light We Cannot See: Werner is described as having white hair, which was the color of Einstein's hair. Werner is also a bright boy with an interest in science and a talent for radio technology.
  • Big Bad Dr. Murik in Licence Renewed has what is described as a mane of white hair, cementing his status as a genius nuclear physicist.
  • A Conversed Trope in The Dresden Files, where one character mentions the "German sage with the mad hair" who taught that matter can neither be created or destroyed.
  • Johnny Maxwell Trilogy: In Johnny and the Dead, Albert Einstein's distant cousin Solomon (who was a taxidermist by trade, but also something of a philosopher; after all, you have a lot of time for abstract thought when you've got your hand up a dead badger) is described as having "a mass of white hair in that dandelion-clock style known as a Mad Scientist Afro".

    Live Action TV 
  • In "The Deadly Assassin", the Fourth Doctor claims that his hair curls up whenever he's onto something. Considering his hair is a big, chaotic mop of curls, the presumed implication is that the Fourth Doctor is never not onto something.
  • In the mini-episode "Death Is the Only Answer", it turns out that the Doctor gave Albert the idea once a time travel experiment-gone-wrong made his hair frizzy. He tells him to keep it because it 'looks more sciencey'.
  • Sadoc Burrows from The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power has a bit of dome similar to Albert Einstein and grizzly curly hair reminiscent of the Mad Scientist Afro. He is the only gray-haired Harfoot and the closer thing to a scientist the clan of hobbits has, as he is a very erudite Astrologer.


    Video Games 
  • Dr. Wily of Mega Man (Classic) has an exaggerated form of this trope, with a more prominent bald spot and both his hair and mustache being bushier. His first name is also Albert, making him practically an evil Expy of Einstein. Nobody's quite sure why Capcom made the villain so clearly Einsteinian, but a popular (half)joke theory is that it's some lingering anger over the Atomic Bomb.
  • One of the stock NPC scientists in Half-Life looked like Einstein (and his model is even referred to as such in the internal files).
  • The original Civilization represented scientists with Einstein-like figures wearing a lab coat and having their hair a mess.
  • The Science booster pack in City of Heroes includes 'Mad Science' hair which is pure Einstein.
  • Team Fortress 2: An Einstein-esque wig was part of Medic's costume for the 2011 Halloween event.

  • Dr. Stein of Blood Stain doesn't bother with personal hygiene despite his work in science. The webcomic's creator, Sigeel, jokingly justifies his messy hair by drawing him with shampoo that makes his hair resemble bramble.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Parodied in a Sidney Harris cartoon, where such a scientist is walking down a corridor and his colleagues remark (paraphrased) "His theories aren't going so well, so instead he's working on his resemblance to Einstein."
  • The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3: Kooky von Koopa, known in the games as Ludwig, is a mad scientist and the primary inventor of gadgets for the bad guys. He also has wild blue hair sticking out at every angle.
  • In Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase, the gang visit a college friend who is working for a professor who not only has the hair but every other physical characteristic of Einstein as well.
  • In the educational talking dog cartoon, Martha Speaks, a scientist/doctor with Einstein hair explains in the opening that a regular dog can gain the ability to speak by eating alphabet soup.
  • In an episode of Tiny Toon Adventures, Plucky Duck convinces Shirley to use her psychic powers so he can channel the spirit of Einstein and pass a test. He gets the hair, the 'stache, the accent, an oversize head...but doesn't get any intelligence and flunks.

  • Clifford Stoll, a rather quirky astronomer, author, and maker of Klein bottles, has a waft of smoky hair that sticks out in all directions.
  • There is a mutation called Uncombable Hair Syndrome, which makes the hair very pale and brittle while also making it stand on end due to oddly-shaped hair shafts. However, it is incredibly rare, with only about a hundred occurrences of it worldwide.