Follow TV Tropes


Einstein Hair

Go To
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.



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.
    • Advertisement:
    • 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.


  • 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.

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'.


Video Games

  • One of the stock NPC scientists in Half-Life looked like Einstein.
  • 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."
  • 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.