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Motherly Scientist

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Not "it". Her.
Dr. Sarah Kinney: There's no reason to subject X-23 to the bonding process until she's X-gene active and fully matured! [...]
Zander Rice: "No reason"? Are you sure you just don't want to see your little pet go under the knife?
Sarah: Don't be stupid.
Zander: Well, you've certainly spent a lot of time in her cell lately.
Sarah: Martin, the limited time I'm given with X-23 is necessary for development. Your own psychologists have told you that.
Zander: Aw. An overprotective mother.

She's the mother you always wanted. She gives you a candy when you take your medication, warns your brothers about messing around with you, gives you a shoulder to cry on when you feel lonely, and occasionally gives maintenance to your prosthetic leg. Of course, she's the first to give you a hug after you go through the tax-paid psychiatric treatment because you're told you're a "special kid with great potential".

Meet the Motherly Scientist: Frequently feeling compassion for the test subjects (sometimes not always embracing that compassion until it's too late), the motherly scientist is usually the first to ask that the test subjects be given humane treatment.

Note that regardless of the gendered implications of motherly, the Fatherly Scientist is also not uncommon, as the focus is largely on the scientist's conscious decision, with or without struggle, to reject treating the creature, creation, or just plain human being as a mere test subject for experimentation, choosing instead to forge and nurture a familial bond with them once it is acknowledged that the subject is capable of experiencing a range of emotions like any other. It's generally more common for the Motherly Scientist to be female, however, because Women Are Wiser and are assumed to have "motherly instincts" and care for the test subjects as people while men are assumed to view them more dispassionately as mere experiments. For the sake of consistency, the scientist will, for the large part, be referred to as female for the rest of this article.

The trope can contain one or more of the following scenarios, depending on the scientist's personality and background. (And as evident within these scenarios, the role isn't limited to a scientific researcher, but also doctor, technician — and even farther-flung, priest or magic-user — as long as there is a strict set of rules, obligations, expectations or beliefs that the motherly figure turns her back to treat the subject with care.)

'They're like my own children' scenario:

Most of the time, the plot starts with a brilliant doctor participating in an Evil Experiment on human test subjects, most of them young children (and perhaps an older Wendy) or students in a conveniently-placed high school. Everything, of course, in the name of Science, or for the Greater Good. It could also happen that the doctor in question was deceived or coerced into performing said experiment — or maybe she just was hired to keep the kids quiet.

Sooner or later, an experiment goes horribly wrong (or horribly right), or the truth is finally revealed, making the doctor realize the error of her ways. After rescuing them, she decides to become the test subjects' adoptive mother, forming a Secret Project Refugee Family and living Happily Ever After.

In other cases, she just feels responsible for the guys now that they've grown up — or maybe there's some pending business to finish so she can redeem herself and move on with her life. And if you think a normal Mama Bear or Papa Wolf is fucking scary, Hell Hath No Fury like a Motherly/Fatherly Scientist with access to One-Man Army levels of weaponry, technology, money, or superpowers to protect his or her children.

There's also the other Doomsday scenario. She dies, and her charges decide that nothing is holding them back from taking revenge on everyone.

'Free Willy' scenario (Mad Scientist not required)

After researching a non-human subject for a while and giving it a name, the doctor's nurturing instincts finally kicks in, causing the doctor to form a parental bond with the poor little thing until the eventual decision to free the subject. If she met the creature in the jungle, and there are more of them, she could become a Nature Hero. Can turn into "Tarzan And Jane" if the subject is biologically and age-compatible with her. If by contrast, the subject isn't biologically compatible and the scientist needs to separate, it ends up with a goodbye.

Pinocchio scenario:

  1. If the doctor's an expert in genetics, cybernetics, arcane magic, or alchemy, the plot starts when she creates a new life form or Artificial Intelligence with a ridiculously human body. The young child then begins to develop emotions in such a way that the doctor's heart is moved into raising the child as her own. In this scenario, it's common that the doctor serves as a parent, psychiatrist and physician for the Robot Kid who wants to Become a Real Boy.

    The extremely rare inversion of this trope happens when the A.I. becomes the adoptive mother. Usually happens with a supercomputer storing mommy's memories.
  2. It could also happen that the child was created specifically to be the child the scientist always wished for.
  3. If the scientist creates a nearly-exact copy of a deceased child, either for him/herself or for someone else, it's called Replacement Goldfish.

Whatever the plot is, the common denominator is the parental and protective feelings of the scientist towards the test subject.

If a scientist just happens to be a nice parent, this trope doesn't apply (see Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter) unless her child was genetically engineered and carried inside her womb or experimentally transformed into something else.

Tend to overlap — depending on the circumstances — with Mad Scientist or Reluctant Mad Scientist, Psychologist Teacher, Kindly Vet, Team Mom/Team Dad, Mama Bear/Papa Wolf, and in some extreme cases, Anti-Villain.

Subtrope of Parental Substitute. Compare Magical Nanny. Contrast Guinea Pig Family and Evil Matriarch/Archnemesis Dad.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Professor Harumi Kiyama from A Certain Scientific Railgun was originally an uninterested scientist left with the job of watching over a group of esper orphans, only to gradually start caring for them like a mother. Then things go horribly wrong when the dangerous experiment they were a part of (which Harumi had been told was something safe) sends them all into comas, to Harumi's shock and her boss's utter indifference. With a corrupt administration refusing to help the students and instead choosing to cover up the incident, Harumi takes desperate measures trying to find a cure.
  • Dr. Ochanomizu for Astro Boy, a colleague of Astro Boy's creator Tenma who adopts the titular robot after Tenma couldn't get past how Astro Boy wasn't the proper Replacement Goldfish for his dead son he had envisioned.
  • Professor Kisaragi, Cutey Honey's creator whom she openly refers to as her dad.
  • Lorelei from Saber Marionette J To X — she is, in more than one way, the mother of all the marionettes.
  • To an extent, Washu from Tenchi Muyo! towards Ryoko (she's partially her child as she was created using her own eggs), but Washu's attitude towards her is not quite motherly.
  • Nanami from Sukisho. He's a scientist who was involved in some unethical experiments on children, but eventually rescued and formed a family with them.
  • Subverted with Kotaro Kannagi from the anime Code-E. He starts the research on Chinami's Type-E power, but eventually falls in love with her rather than considering her his child.
  • Doctor Slump's Senbei creates Arale and raises her as his child.
  • Kanami from Darker than Black cared a lot about catatonic Dolls in jars and learned their quirks, which became evident in the episode when CY-463 trapped them. In her observatory, they are more tools than subjects, but it's not like she could do any more for them even if she had any real power.
    • When the Astronomy Bureau "doll system" is about to be closed in Shikkoku no Hana, Kanami decides to quit and go to Hawaii, to "live as far away from things like the Gate and Contractors as possible" — an interesting statement, Dolls being an effect of the Gate as much as Contractors.
  • Cher Degré from Wolf's Rain. She is fascinated by Cheza and desires to understand her and her purpose. When Cheza escapes, she tries to follow her. Later she learns about the wolves and helps them escape, at the cost of her own life.
  • Subverted in Soul Eater: Doctor Medusa plays the nice doctor, but she's secretly experimenting on her patients. Plus in an outright aversion, she's absolutely despicable in her treatment of her main experiment/minion Chrona, who actually is her child.
    • Played with regarding Dr. Stein. He's not this way towards his test subjects (besides his one of his coworkers and a random endangered bird, he doesn't really have any), but he definitely is towards his students, to whom he acts as both a Team Dad and a Papa Wolf.
  • Winry in Fullmetal Alchemist, who is overprotective of her automail, to the point of bashing Ed with a wrench when he breaks his arm and leg.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: Satomi Hakase gradually becomes this to her best creation, Chachamaru. After Chachamaru is almost destroyed, when Hakase gets ready to repair/heal her, she treats her almost like a daughter and even comforts her on how she's done well.
  • Dr. Mimori Kiryu from S cry ed. Feeling compassion for how Kazuma is tortured, she lets him escape and later gets interested in the Inners, eventually forming a community with them.
  • To a minor degree, Julia Silverstein from Blood+. She takes care of Saya and uses her blood to make a Serum that can stop the effects of the Delta 67 agent.
  • "Mama" from the non-canon Halo Legends episode Odd One Out. She tells her kids to wash their hands and has enough intelligence to completely control a UNSC frigate, and turns out to be a rampant military-grade AI. And one heck of a mama, indeed — if you dare mess with her kids, she'll kick your ass into a rift in space-time. Yes, literally.
  • Zigzagged in .hack//SIGN: Tsukasa finds a mother in the A.I. Morganna. Later he realizes she's not his real mother, but an Evil Matriarch. But then it turns out that she WAS designed to have a mother role for the Key of Twilight, but as she wasn't programmed with any role afterward, she just went mad and decided that the Key should NEVER awaken at all.
  • Dr. Isaac Gilmore from Cyborg 009 is the Team Dad of the Cyborg group. And in his case, he has to, since he used to be one of the Mad Scientists that cyborg-ized them in the first place, and witnessing the Moral Event Horizon crossing of his colleagues was what made him decide to join their crusade.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Ritsuko, Naoko, and Yui are all initially presented as being examples of this trope. However, they don't stay that way and the darker side of what they were doing quickly comes to the fore.
  • A sweet yet sad example in El Cazador de la Bruja, with the Professor slowly becoming a father figure to Ellis before his death, as shown through flashbacks.
  • It's heavily implied that Dr. Kamiya acts as a male version of this towards Shiro in Afterschool Charisma.
  • In To Love Ru Darkness, Tearju Lunatique is shown to be this to Yami during the time they still were together.
  • An important part of the alleged backstory to Akumetsu, where a female scientist involved in the evil genius' attempts to clone himself a perfect new body winds up bonding with the Perfect Copy. They fall in love, kill the guy, and burn everything, but he dies... leaving her with about a hundred infant clones. Somehow she gets them adopted all over Japan, all with the first name 'Shou', and keeps one to raise herself, dying before he turns 18 but training him to use all the tech she'd helped invent. Of course, we hear this via a Shou, and all of them are fundamentally Unreliable Narrators.
    • They are also Trope Overdosed; most of Akumetsu's shticks are pulled straight from Japanese TV, and the Shou telling the story is very conscious of this trope as he tells it. He also cheerfully casts doubt on its accuracy himself; they're all insane, after all. Doctor Shou appears to have been raised by the Motherly Scientist, though.
  • While she doesn't necessarily seem this way at first, Jennifer from Amazing Agent Luna and Amazing Agent Jennifer fits the trope. She was involved in the creation of Luna, and is normally very strict with her and never gives her a break, always pushing her to complete her missions and not get too involved with making friends or being an ordinary girl. But she has her reasons for appearing cold, and she is trying to do right by Luna and prevent the Agency from "terminating the experiment". As far as she's concerned, Luna is her daughter.
  • Dr. Angelika Einstürzen from Dogs: Bullets & Carnage seems to be this to the Cerebus spine children, some of whom might be her actual kids. But then she makes them fight huge monstrosities to earn her fleeting love, and things start going downhill from there...
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Averted for drama in the first season. Despite Fate being Precia's daughter in every sense of the word (having both been created by her and cloned from her actual daughter Alicia), Precia outright refuses to view her as anything more than a tool or failed experiment, and is both physically and emotionally abusive to the poor girl.
    • Jail Scaglietti from StrikerS is a villainous example that spills into Even Evil Has Loved Ones. Yes, he's a Mad Scientist who's planning on overthrowing the government and has no problem torturing children, but he genuinely views his twelve combat cyborgs as his daughters (even the ones who have a Heel–Face Turn).
    • Granz Florian is another example, though this only applies in The Gears of Destiny, where his daughters are both robots that he accidentally granted sentience. In all other continuities, they're his biological children.
    • Flashbacks in Detonation showed that pretty much everyone on the Planet Restoration Committee considered the lead scientist Phil Maxwell to be Iris' father, and her primary motivation during the movie is getting revenge for his murder. This turns out to be a subversion when it's revealed that Maxwell was Evil All Along and never considered Iris his daughter, he just treated her as such because it would help her develop her potential as a Super Soldier faster.

    Comic Books 
  • Poison Ivy from Batman. Her "children", in this case, are the plants she takes care of.
    • Becomes more literal during the No Man's Land arc, where Gotham is leveled by an earthquake and subsequently cut off from the rest of the U.S. She takes over Robinson Park and unofficially adopts 16 orphans.
  • Professor Trevor "Broom" Bruttenholm adopts Hellboy after he was summoned into this world.
  • Dr. Sarah Kinney was this to X-23, being virtually the only staff member who treated her humanely. In her dying moments, she gave X-23 the name "Laura" and told her she loved her. Since she also carried her to term, this example is more literal than most.
  • In the Flashpoint universe, in which Superman was raised in a government facility, Sam Lane came to view young Kal-El as his son, and was the one who insisted that the other government workers refer to him as "he" rather than "it" and Kal instead of Subject 1. In the climax of the story, he outright refers to him as one of his children.
  • Inverted in Superman: The A.I. in the Fortress of Solitude contains the memories of Superman's biological father.
  • Aaron Stack the Machine Man was raised by Dr. Abel Stack, the only scientist in the X-Robot program who saw the robots as living, feeling beings.
  • Depending on the Writer (and on his meds), Dr. Will Magnus, creator of the Metal Men, is sometimes a fatherly scientist, but sometimes sees his creations as simple machines.
  • During Green Lantern And Green Arrow's "socially relevant" phase in The '70s, they did a very weird story about overpopulation, set on a planet that had tried to overcome a population shortage by making Artificial Humans. The problem was that the person in charge of the project was an infertile woman obsessed with the fact that this was a way for her to produce life: so she kept on making artificial people, complete with Fake Memories so no one could know who was "real" and who Really Was Born Yesterday, and was flooding the world with them. When the heroes finally stop her, destroying a couple of less humanoid biological androids in the process, she suffers a complete Villainous Breakdown because she views all these beings as her children.
  • In The Clockwork Girl by Sean O'Reilly and Kevin Hanna, the titular creation isn't even given a name by her father. In contrast the bio-engineering scientist he fights with has named his monstrous boy, Huxley, lets him enter his own experiment in the town science fair (an adorable venus flytrap he took care of) and is a little overprotective of Huxley due to health issues and how people judge the boy.

  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • Subverted with Ritsuko in Advice and Trust. She looks nice and caring at the beginning. However, she doesn't care for Rei, mistreats her and regards her as a doll and a tool at best, or a creepy abomination at worst. It gets played straight after Rei saves her during a suicide attempt.
    • Children of an Elder God: In contrast to her canon self, Ritsuko is a bit warmer, and she actually cares about the pilots. When some of them tell that they fear that they’ll become monsters, she states that she will not let it happen.
    • Ritsuko is more of a Promoted to Parent Older Sister Scientist to Rei in Doing It Right This Time because she really is Rei's sister, thanks to Naoko (allegedly) pulling some sort of Baby Trap on Gendo and substituting her ova for Yui's. Naoko and Rei's relationship... was not an example, although it's strongly implied she wasn't exactly parent of the year when Rits was a kid either.
    • EVA Sessions: Someplace Vast and Dry: Yui created ten clones of herself using frozen samples of her own ovum and artificial sperm containing DNA from Lilith, to test the viability of human-alien hybrids as prototypes for the larger Evangelion units. Gendo and Yui soon came to regard them as their ten little daughters, long after they were of no further scientific use.
    • The Second Try subverts this with Ritsuko. She treats the pilots coldly and regards Rei as something less than human, and she even tried to destroy Rei’s spare bodies. However, after Rei covers up for her when Gendo questioned her, Ritsuko started treating the children a bit better.
    • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide: Subverted with Ritsuko, who initially seems nice, albeit cool and detached... but eventually reveals that she doesn't care at all about the pilots. She specifically loathes Rei.
    • Last Child of Krypton: Ritsuko becomes this after the battle against Zeruel. When she understood what Gendo was like, she stopped treating Rei like an inhuman thing.
    • Subverted in Once More with Feeling. To Misato's face, Ritsuko pretends to care about Rei. In reality, she loathes her. In turn, Shinji despises her for treating him and his fellow pilots with indifference and scorn.
  • AQUA: The First Step: Dr. Polendina was beloved by all of the children in the Jaeger Program, visiting them once a week and teaching them social skills.
  • Professor Juniper in Dear Diary is a Pokémon researcher who raises starter Pokémon for trainers but, unlike most starter suppliers, treats the Pokémon like her children and never sources them from the nightmarish breeding farms that most starters come from. Opal sees her as a mother figure.
  • The First Saniwa: Yaobikuni has medical knowledge and even decides to carry out a medical experiment at one point, while still retaining her canonical Yamato Nadeshiko personality.
  • Persona Chaos Butterfly: Shinshudo, aka Yuu Kimijima. She gave Aigis her trademark neck ribbon, and is openly disgusted by the inhumane treatment that Labrys suffered, taking her in and raising her as her daughter.
  • The Bridge: As per the film source material, Dr. Azusa Gojo became quite paternal over the third Godzilla, a.k.a "Junior". Even decades later, Azusa outright refers to the kaiju as her son, and he mutually sees her as his mother. Because of this bond, Azusa is brought in to talk some sense into Junior after he suffers what could have otherwise been a Despair Event Horizon.
  • Cameron in Total Drama Legacy. Using a Uterine Replicator and the combined DNA of him and his husband Lightning, he created not one, but two children for him and Lightning to raise together. And he loves them both immensely. He's shown to be a very Doting Parent towards his daughter Storm, and seems to be very affectionate towards his son Thunder as well.
  • In events that take place decades before Manehattan's Lone Guardian begins, the scientist Juniper Leaf begins growing attached to a kidnapped foal that was brought in for drug testing. When the foal starts showing signs that the injected drug was tampering with her mind, Juniper's journal entries become more distraught.

    Film — Animated 
  • After carving a body for Pinocchio, Gepetto brings him to life with the power of a wish and a good heart.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Splice features Elsa starting as Pinocchio Type 2 and Clive as the Free Willy type. Unfortunately for everyone involved, Elsa has My Beloved Smother tendencies and Clive has a bad case of I'm a Man; I Can't Help It.
  • Sara from Cocoon: The Return is a textbook example of the "Free Willy" scenario (just look at her touching the isolation glass — aaaaw).
  • A.I.: Artificial Intelligence: Professor Hobby, the head of the Cybertronics Company, or at least its artificial intelligence branch, created a Robot Kid as an experiment to see whether it could develop genuine feelings towards its owners. When David finally meets him, he's a rather fatherly figure, and it's made pretty obvious why: David is the spitting image of his dead son by the same name.
    David: I thought I was one of a kind.
    Hobby: [holding back tears] My son was one of a kind. You'll be the first of a kind.
  • In Avatar, Dr. Grace comes to fit this role, albeit of the "put-upon and grouchy" variety. The head of the colonial science team, she becomes a bit of a mother figure for the protagonist and also cares a good deal for the native Na'vi, whom her employers disdain at best and want to be exterminated at worst. In a deleted scene, it is revealed that the natives even used to call her "mother".
  • In Awakenings, Robin Williams plays Malcolm Sayer, a research physician who uses an experimental drug to "awaken" the catatonic victims of a rare disease, becoming friends with many in the process, including Leonard Lowe (Robert De Niro), who had fallen into catatonia as a child. Based on a True Story.
  • Dr. Stewart, D.A.R.Y.L.'s creator, is the first one to accept his humanity and decides to free him so he can return with his adoptive family. A female colleague of his, Dr. Lamb, at first was reluctant but later embraces the child's humanity and collaborates with the unfortunately-failed escape.
  • In Edward Scissorhands, the professor cares for and educates his creation, Edward, and even intends to makes new hands for him. Unfortunately, he has a heart attack just before he can install them. Too bad.
  • In the movie Twins (1988), Arnold and his non-identical twin search for their Missing Mom, who they believe had abandoned them. She was the surrogate mother for the genetic experiment that brought them to life.
  • In The Matrix, the Oracle not only gives Neo advice — she also bakes cookies for him.
  • Planet of the Apes (1968): Noted chimpanzee psychologist and zoologist Zira calls Taylor "Bright Eyes", at least until he manages to write his own name, to her surprise. She ends up kissing him goodbye — even though, as she tells him, "You're so damned ugly."
  • In E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, the scientist starts as a shadowy and possibly naïve agent for the Government Conspiracy that the boys are afraid just want to cut up E.T.. But by the end of the movie, thanks to The Power of Love, he falls in with the family to wish E.T. farewell instead of revealing their location, making it a Free Willy scenario.
  • Species II: Dr. Laura Baker collects DNA samples after Sil's death in the first movie and clones another human-alien hybrid from her that she names Eve. She starts to care for Eve as a mother, always quick to remind everyone that Eve is part human when the military guys suggest using her as a weapon.
  • In Sucker Punch, Dr. Gorski cares about the well-being of the asylum girls and designs therapy techniques to try to help them feel control of their lives after whatever traumatized them. This leads to the version of her in the brothel world to teach the girls how to dance as a form of empowered escapism. At the end of the movie, upon finding out that Blue forged her signature to get Baby Doll a lobotomy, she has him arrested before he can rape Baby Doll.
  • Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II gives us Azusa Gojo, a research assistant during an expedition to an unknown island in the Bering Sea where they find a refrigerator-sized egg and takes it back with them. Azusa was placed on monitor duty of the egg back at the institute and was often working alone for long hours, humming or talking to herself to keep company. When the egg hatches and turns out to be an infant of Godzilla's species, it's shown the little one had been listening to her all this time and imprinted on her as his parent. Azusa agrees to be the young critter's primary caregiver and the two become very attached to each other, Azusa even arguing for the infant's rights as an intelligent living being rather than a test subject. This is likely the inspiration for the Tristar TV series (see "Western Animation").
  • While first convinced that his creation was bad when he finds out he accidentally gave it an abnormal brain, Frederick Frankenstein from Young Frankenstein eventually comes to realize that in spite of his hulking physiology and... er... less than sophisticated manner of dealing with others, the Creature is more like a frightened child than an abomination of science. After failing to appeal to the scientific community, he manages to donate parts of his own intellect to the monster, giving him the gift of eloquence and eventually making peace with the villagers.
  • In Frankenstein Conquers the World, Dr. Sueko Togami is the one who forms the closest bond with Frankenstein. She cares for him like he's her son and is quick to defend his innocence when he wrongly accused of killing people and tries to save him from being destroyed. Sueko's kindness is ultimately rewarded when Frankenstein saves her from the enemy monster, Baragon.
  • In War of the Gargantuas, the above example is repeated with Dr. Akemi Togawa. Akemi has the same kind of close bond with Sanda, especially when he was an infant. Also, like Sueko and Frankenstein, Akemi adamantly denies the likelihood of Sanda being violent towards people and risks her safety to prove his innocence and save him. Her faith in Sanda is rewarded by him saving her twice.

  • Isaac Asimov:
    • Robot Series: The robopsychologist Dr. Susan Calvin is notorious for being detached and unemotional. But in the short story "Lenny", she studies a robot whose brain has been accidentally programmed in a way which causes it to behave similarly to a human baby. She becomes very attached to Lenny under the pretext of studying his learning capabilities, and the end of the story reveals that she has taught him to call her "Mama".
    • "The Ugly Little Boy": Edith Fellowes was a pediatric nurse before applying for the job at Stasis, Incorporated. She was hired to take care of an experiment; taking a boy from forty thousand years in the past and bringing him to the present. After three years of caring for the boy, bathing him, dressing him, feeding him, helping him sleep, teaching him how to read/write English, naming him, Ms. Fellowes has grown to love Timmie. The boy, in turn, thinks of her as his mother.
  • In the H.I.V.E. Series, Professor Pike creates H.I.V.E.mind, an Artificial Intelligence that is intended to run the eponymous school. As he has no children of his own, the AI calls Pike his father and quickly develops a desire to be human. Any time Pike is asked to meddle with the source code, he cries.
  • In the Replica series of YA novels, Amy's mother was one of the scientists working on a project to create genetically-enhanced Super Soldiers, but after realizing the evils of the project, she rescued/kidnapped one of the clone babies and raised her as her own.
  • The golden age pulp robot Adam Link and his father are a perfect example of the Pinocchio Scenario.
  • In a variation on the Pinocchio Scenario, Douglas Preston's novel Jennie is about a chimpanzee raised like a human being. Almost everyone who gets to know her feels a deep parental love and desire to protect her. The ending is one of the most high-octane Tear Jerkers you will ever read.
  • Dr. Cay in the Vorkosigan Saga book Falling Free was a Fatherly Scientist to the genetically-engineered Quaddies. By the start of the novel, he's passed away, and Leo Graf has to take the mantle as a Fatherly Engineer. In stories set two centuries later, Leo is a folk hero to their descendants.
  • In Unwise Child by Randall Garrett, Dr. Leda Crannon, a child psychologist, is brought in to help develop an AI after the first two attempts failed. She treats 'Snookums' as her child but subverts the usual ending as she realizes he is very much a machine.
  • In Aldrea Alien's The Rogue King, Amelia not only carries the alien hybrid she makes but raises him as if he's her son.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Maggie Walsh, head scientist of the secret government demon-hunting project the "Initiative", is the evil version of this. She's called "Mother" by her cyber-demonoid creation Adam and considered soldier Riley Finn one of her children as well after enhancing him with drugs and conditioning.
  • Dr. Helen Magnus of Sanctuary. In addition to being an actual mother, she is fiercely protective of the abnormals in her sanctuary and will do anything to help/save them. On the other hand, she's not afraid to kick more than a little ass when necessary.
  • Dr. Coady on Orphan Black is a more malicious example of this. While the Project CASTOR clones see her as a mother figure, she has no problems mistreating them.
  • Joel Robinson on Mystery Science Theater 3000. As the creator of the bots, they often treated him like a father figure, and he returned the affection.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Dr. Noonien Soong is the roboticist who created the androids Data and his brother Lore (in his image, by the way) and regards himself as a father to both of them. A later episode reveals that he had a wife, Juliana, who helped him in his experiments as well as considered herself Data's mother, pretty much forming a full nuclear family unit.
  • Inverted in The Big Bang Theory, with Dr. Beverly Hofstadter, Leonard's cold, robotic and unfeeling mother. She considered conceiving and raising a son to be a sort of long-term experiment in behavioral psychology. Sheldon Cooper views her as the dream mother he wishes he had been brought up by. Beverly feels a sort of affection for Sheldon that she signally fails to manifest for her own son.
  • The series Small Wonder revolves around this as inventor Ted Lawson builds a robot named Vicki, and he and the rest of the family take her in and raise her like a daughter.
  • In Heroes, Mohinder, who is some sort of physician/scientist, is hired to find a cure for the Company's "Walker System"... a little girl with the ability to find anyone. He doesn't want to enable them, but can't say no to helping the ill girl. And Molly and Mohinder end up bonding and he becomes her guardian for the rest of the series. (Even though she gets Put on a Bus to stay with his mother most of the time.)

    Tabletop Games 
  • Virstania, the self-styled Mother of Gargoyles in Vampire: The Dark Ages — House Of Tremere. Having turned to the creation of golems and other artificial forms of life as an alternative to forming friendships with her fellow mages, Virstania was exhibiting signs of this trope long before she became a vampire. However, it wasn't until she helped Goratrix to create the first gargoyles that she proved herself a Motherly Scientist, lavishing maternal attention on the newborn creations and encouraging them to adopt her as their mother — which they did. Unfortunately, Virstania proves herself a dark play on this trope, for though she genuinely loves her gargoyles, she goes to horrifying extremes to ensure that they love her back: among other things, she has no problem with subjecting Alvusia, the gargoyle Baby Factory, to an eternity of painful impregnation and birth, nor does she have any qualms about taking the newborn gargoyles away from Alvusia and forcibly indoctrinating them into believing that Virstania is their mother and goddess, ensuring Undying Loyalty from all of her "family".
  • Dr. Natalie Halmier in Mutants & Masterminds, a physicist for a Mega-Corp, who created Kid Robot of the Sentinals when she realized the AI she'd created to control one of her projects was self-aware and learned it wanted a humanoid body. She then had to protect him from the Mega-Corp, leading to a court appointing her his legal guardian.

    Video Games 
  • Dr. Catherine Halsey of Halo, creator of the SPARTAN-II program, was much of a mother figure towards the Spartan children while at the same time administering the augmentations that killed or permanently disabled most of them. Worthy of note, however, is that her motherly treatment of them when not subjecting them to painful augmentations is believed to be a major contributor to the emotional stability of the Spartan-IIs compared to the Spartan-IIIs. She is rather disturbed when Cortana, an Artificial Intelligence who is based on Halsey's brain, admits that she finds John-117 (Master Chief) attractive. Halsey realizes that this means her feelings towards John aren't entirely maternal.
  • Dr. Brigid Tenenbaum from BioShock started off her work in Rapture as an Evilutionary Biologist doing it For Science! and began the Little Sisters initiative after she discovered that the ADAM slugs work most effectively when implanted into young girls. She felt tugs of maternal concern for them as she went along but repressed it as best she could, but one day, when one of them happily crawled into her lap, she pushed her off and screamed at her in fury, until she suddenly realized that it wasn't the girl that she hated. The breaking point came after the lab started creating Big Daddies, men unwillingly fused into metal suits to protect the Little Sisters as they collected ADAM from corpses scattered around the city. Seeing one of the girls reaching out to the "metal man" threw Tenenbaum back into a memory of herself as a little girl during the war; after her father had been taken away by the Nazis, one of the officers reached out to her to take her to work in the concentration camp, and she realized that the only way she would survive is if she "made friends with the metal man", which led her to cut off her emotions from then on and work with the scientists in the camp. Seeing another little girl tie herself to a "metal man" caused her to break down in tears and embrace the girl, apologizing — soon after, she took as many girls with her as she could to a hideout in an abandoned dorm to begin fixing what she had broken.
  • Similar to Tenenbaum, Phoenix Wyle from Cytus II became this for his initial test subject Shizuka "Nora" Shiino. Having performed human experiments on her and other infants to find the cure of the Ender Virus, she was the only one to survive. Phoenix then took her in and eventually warmed up to her despite being forced to have her used the physically-straining ability for the mafia's benefits. In the end, he sacrificed his life to send her away from being chased by said mafia, wishing her to have happy life and be able to make her own music.
  • Happens in the backstory of the blob-man character Zac in League of Legends. Originally, he was just a strange, living sludge, discovered in the depths of Wretched Hive Under City Zaun. It was collected and intended to be weaponized by one of the local Chem-Barons. Dubbed the Zaun Amorphous Combatant project, the intent was to craft a force of Super Soldiers, but a married couple of scientists working on the project realized the slime was alive, aware, possibly sentient and empathically resonant. They nicknamed the project Zac, and eventually ran away with Zac, who had begun to adopt a humanoid form, and raised him with the best upbringing they could. Eventually the Chem-Baron who funded the project found them, and Zac's scientist parents were killed in the chaos.
  • Ariel Hanson from StarCraft II — she researches to save the lives of the infected colonists.
  • Dr. Mizrahi from Xenosaga was MOMO's adoptive mother. Even Shion had her Motherly Scientist moments towards KOS-MOS, but that was quickly substituted by Homoerotic Subtext.
  • Dr. Light from the Mega Man (Classic) series, especially in the Mega Man Megamix manga, where he tries to be a Papa Wolf, even though there's not much an old man can do against powerful robots or the government except provide tech support. He's still doing that for Mega Man X a hundred years later, in the form of Infinity Plus One Armors.
    • Dr. Wily refers to Zero as his son in the ending of one of the crossover games, although his idea of a father-son activity would probably be killing Zero's best friend.
    • Ciel in Mega Man Zero is motherly towards Alouette, perhaps out of guilt for what she did to her own creation, who ended up the Big Bad.
    • In Mega Man 4, Dr. Cossack shows Papa Wolf tendencies towards his daughter, Kalinka. A chapter of the Megamix manga revolves around his belief that robots should also be regarded as part of people's families and his failure to be a father figure towards Skull Man.
    • The son of Dr. Light's Alternate Universe counterpart in the Mega Man Battle Network universe is this towards MegaMan.EXE, who in the game is one of his twin sons. To save his life, he turned him into a Navi. Unfortunately, that project meant he didn't spend a lot of time with Lan.
      • From the same universe, Dr. Cossack seems to be a subversion: he was very kind to his creation, Bass.EXE, until suddenly deciding to have him destroyed when he grew too powerful. As it turns out, the scientists out to destroy Bass.EXE went so far as to stick Dr. Cossack in jail so he couldn't do anything to warn Bass.EXE or prevent it. Not that Bass.EXE believes this.
  • Dr. Gustav Brackman from Supreme Commander sees all Cybrans as his children. In the case of the Cybran player character, it turns out this is more literal since it's eventually revealed that he's Brackman's clone.
  • Lemon Browning of Super Robot Wars: Original Generation 2 generally treats her androids as tools, albeit valuable ones. But when Lamia starts to develop human emotions and betrays her to save the protagonists, she starts to act like a proud mother and even helps Lamia escape captivity. This is because Lemon is an android herself, and was rejected by her parents for not being a suitable replacement for their dead daughter.
  • Fallout: New Vegas has Dr. Whitley, the inventor of ED-E. Despite being an Enclave scientist, it was clear that Whitley cared deeply for his creations and protested heavily against having ED-E scrapped to make Power Armor. In the end, he sent ED-E to Navarro (unaware that it's been razed at this point) and was likely killed by the Lone Wanderer.
  • In Cut the Rope, little Omnom winds up on a, to quote the game, "mad (but not evil) scientist's" doorstep. This scientist performs loving experiments with Omnom, all of which lead to little Omnom gaining the candy he loves ever so much.
  • Though she is generally an unstable, foul-mouthed, questionable, hard-shelled woman, Kokonoe from Blazblue treats Lambda as well as she can given the circumstances. Kokonoe checks in on her regularly, guides her on missions, makes sure she's alright and fixes her up often, and never shouts at or belittles her. This is partly out of the guilt of fixing her up and sending her out to fight in the first place.
  • Merveille in Solatorobo saved a "defective" product of her and Baion's experiments to create a life after she was ordered to destroy it. That would be Red, the protagonist of the game, and in the DLCs she seems to be trying to get him together with Elh.
  • In Diaper Dash Wilson worked for a company that made high-tech, low-human-involvement gadgets for use on infants. When he tried to cuddle a baby that was about to cry during a "sleep ray" test his boss threatened to fire him, so he quit and started a daycare center.
  • Meyneth from Xenoblade Chronicles can be considered this, given that she was a scientist before Zanza created a new universe, turning both of them into gods.
  • Based on what little we see and hear about him, Professor Gerald from Sonic the Hedgehog was like this towards Shadow. To the point of addressing him as "my son" in a prerecorded message. At least that's how he was at first, before his granddaughter was killed.
  • Metroid: Other M features Dr. Madeline Bergman, director of the Bottle Ship's secret bioweapons program. To control the Metroids that they had been breeding, her team decided to create an AI based on Mother Brain. They placed the AI, dubbed "MB", in a gynoid body under the belief that it would foster a maternal bond with the Metroids, which seemed less risky than a dominance-based relationship. Naturally, the scientists started anthropomorphizing their creation, to the point where Madeline treated her as a daughter and named her Melissa. However, unlike most examples of this trope, Madeline's maternal feelings weren't strong enough to persuade her to stand up for MB when things went pear-shaped; faced with MB developing emotions, the scientists opted to alter her programming rather than risk her jeopardizing the missions, and Madeline stood on the sidelines rather than intervene. MB did not take this well, and what had been fairly minor rebellion up until that point became genocidal rage.
  • Warframe features Margulis, an Orokin Archimedean who served as a surrogate mother to the Tenno following the Zariman Ten-Zero incident. While the rest of the Orokin wanted to kill the Tenno for fear of their power, Margulis argued to spare them, and eventually developed the Transference process and Warframes to allow the Tenno to channel their power safely. Tragically, while the Orokin did decide to spare the Tenno, Margulis herself wasn't so lucky; in what is heavily implied to be retaliation for her defense of the Tenno, she was executed as a criminal, which likely contributed to the later rebellion by the Tenno that would destroy the Orokin Empire once and for all.
  • Winston Smith of The Secret World. One of two Orochi scientists assigned to monitor Emma Smith, the duo were also told to act as Emma's parents as a cover; however, unlike his "wife" Julia, Winston treats Emma with dignity and affection despite all the warnings he's been given about her. Also, Emma herself confirms that Winston isn't just doing this because it's his job: he genuinely cares about her.
  • Shows up twice in the Utawarerumono. First is Mizushima from the first game where he is shown as something of a father figure to the subjects under his care, even going so far as to release all of them in an attempt to lighten his guilt of all the unethical stuff he has done in the name of science. Second is Mito from the sequel duology who despite having grown jaded over the years, is shown to care deeply for his own creations, especially Anju, Honoka and Woshis despite the artificial means by which they were born.
  • Dr. Cortex was revealed to have been this at one point in the flashback tapes of Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time. As he began training Crash to lead his mutant army, he found himself becoming more affectionate towards Crash. Cortex would confide in him, give him his old pants and celebrate his birthday. Cortex himself even describes his feelings as "fatherly" and his planned full name for Crash - Crashworth Cortex the First - suggest he would've genuinely adopted Crash as his son. After the Cortex Vortex's malfunction and Crash's escape, Cortex dropped the notion entirely, leaving Coco's development up to N. Gin and reacting to her own escape along the lines of "Darn, not again".

    Visual Novels 
  • Zigzagged in Double Homework. Dr. Mosely does offer emotional support at times, especially to the protagonist, but there is never any denying her bluntness, and eventually, the class discovers her bizarre ulterior motive.
  • Metis Cykes and Aura Blackquill in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies were a psychologist/roboticist pair specializing in AI. Their creations, Clonco and Ponco, called them Mama Aura and Mama Metis until Metis was murdered and Aura retreated into a shell of bitterness

    Web Animation 
  • Pietro Polendina from RWBY is a skilled roboticist who created P.E.N.N.Y., a breakthrough in cybernetic research due to the robot's ability to generate an Aura. While she's military R&D, Penny has been given the chance to develop a human persona and her relationship to her creator is that of father and daughter. When Pietro meets Team RWBY, he extends his fatherly attitude towards them, talking about how often his daughter has spoken of them, confiding in them his concerns about Ironwood despite having only just met them and worrying about them when they're captured by Ace-Ops.

  • Parodied in the xkcd strip "Network": Somehow the computer guy's virtualized viruses invoke some kind of Cuteness Proximity towards him. "Who's a good virus? You are! Yes, you are!"
  • Dr. Lee in Skin Horse would be this trope if not for certain conditions; she does care about her creations, but those creations are made out of kidnapped human beings.
  • Dr. Sciuridae from El Goonish Shive is a rare fatherly scientist. Not only does he treat the subjects of the lab where he works much better than his colleagues, but he also eventually takes advantage of an opportunity to free them, and helps them adjust to normal society. Bonus Points for making a Replacement Goldfish of his dead daughter in the process.
  • Jean's relationship with Molly in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! is the Pinocchio Scenario. Slight variation in that Bob was the one who raised her from infancy since Jean didn't realize her experiment had produced her until Molly was already grown, but Jean is now completely devoted to raising her right.
    • She's tried to develop a similar rapport with Molly's clone "sisters," Golly and Jolly, but they had each grown and established their own lives before Jean even met them.
    • Molly considers her robot Roofus her son, and he calls her Mom.
    • Golly considers both Jolly (it's complicated) and Gosh her children, which they acknowledge, but she has a poor relationship with both of them.
  • Dr. John Bowman of Freefall has produced Uplifted Animals as a "proof of concept". To prevent them from being scrapped, he arranged for their release in public. Although since he's recluse who is described as a jerkass by the few people who have met him, Florence hasn't quite ruled out the possibility that he believed his experiments would be dangerous, and just released them because he thought it would be funny.
  • Tabitha in Far Out There definitely qualifies. Her crowning achievements are a pair of super-powered zombie children, of whom she is extremely protective.
  • Lindesfarne of Kevin & Kell experimented on some mice (who, in this fictional universe, are as sapient as she is) for a school project. Kevin at one point expresses concern that she might get overly attached to them, and this is proven correct when she cancels the experiment and does an alternate project, keeping the mice around in her room and often having conversations with them.
  • Follower: Dr. Calway appears to treat the second generation Chio as her own children.
  • A Miracle of Science: Despite being a stern taskmaster and occasionally short-tempered, Dr Virgil Haas cares for and respects his robotic minions Dryden and Chaucer. The feeling is mutual, which plays an important role in the denouement.
  • The only slightly Mad Scientist who turned Jack into the titular Super Soldier with serious Shock and Awe in Crankrats did implant steampunk contraptions in a six-year-old's chest, but other than that he treated Jack like a son.

    Western Animation 
  • Professor Utonium from The Powerpuff Girls (1998), who creates the title characters and winds up adopting them as his children.
  • While Godzilla, Jr. imprints on Dr. Niko "Nick" Tatopoulous in Godzilla: The Series, Nick does react as if Godzilla is truly his son.
  • Dr. Noreen "Nora" Wakemen for XJ-9, aka Jenny, in My Life as a Teenage Robot. Jenny calls her "Mom".
  • On Invader Zim, Word of God says Professor Membrane's "son" Dib was created as some sort of experiment (possibly a clone, since the two look alike).
    • Admittedly, he's not a very good father most of the time. He does try, though — he's just really busy being the most important scientist in the world and one of the more competent adults. After all, he did give Dib the keys to the anti-Santa weapons arsenal when he needs it to save the world from a giant Santa robot monster... seriously.
  • Inverted in Defenders of the Earth: The crystal that powers the Dynak X computer holds the memories of Flash Gordon's deceased wife. Her son Rick is extremely fond of her, even if she remains in computer form.
  • Adventure Time has Princess Bubblegum. In the case of her creation Goliad, she acts as a kindly mother or preschool teacher figure to her. But when Goliad turns out to be evil, Princess Bubblegum abandons this attitude quickly and traps Goliad in a psychic battle to save her kingdom.
    • In the case of Lemongrab, she initially has an I Have No Son! attitude towards him, because he is a failed experiment and a very mean person. Later on, however, Princess Bubblegum talks to Lemongrab and discovers that he is actually very sad and lonely. She feels great sympathy for her failed creation and takes it upon herself to try, in various ways, to ease his unhappiness and solitude. Even when he is openly hostile to her, she tries to help him, knowing that he is her responsibility. Eventually Princess Bubblegum makes a Lemongrab clone, for Lemongrab "to be with". The Lemongrabs become very fond of their creator after this, and the princess affectionately calls them "boys". The Lemongrabs call Princess Bubblegum "Mother Princess", and Lemongrab on one occasion refers to her as "Mommy". But like any real dysfunctional family, the Lemongrabs immaturely blame their mom for most of their self-inflicted problems, and Princess Bubblegum finds them to be frustrating and annoying to deal with, even saying, "I need to keep a closer eye on them so they don't get into any more trouble."
    • The Lemongrabs are a male example, being fatherly scientists. They create twenty-something little creatures and refer to them as their children. Unlike PB, they take this a step further by actually being openly affectionate and doting to their creations. Then the first Lemongrab makes the ultimate regression and becomes a horrifically abusive father, while the second Lemongrab evolves to the opposite extreme and ends up sacrificing his life for his children.
  • Dolores and Jonathan Vale from Static Shock, who created a genetically engineered superbaby partially to fill a void from being unable to have children of their own. When they realized the lab planned to turn her into a Super Soldier, they rescued her and spent life on the run, raising her as their daughter.
  • Implied to be the case with Max Sawyer in Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers. Max was a scientist on the Supertrooper Project, and pretty much the father figure in Goose's life. Max's dying words to Goose are very paternal, complementing the young Ranger on the fine man he's become.
  • Dr. Erika Slate of Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot designed and built the titular boy robot and treats him as a son, often going to extremes to aid him if he's in danger although he's a walking weapons platform. However, she was extremely surprised to hear Rusty ask if she was his mother.
  • Justice League has Professor Emil Hamilton showing considerable concern for the welfare of Galatea, a clone he created from DNA he stole from Supergirl. In the episode "Panic in the Sky," while she's shown to be rather snarky, it's shown that she certainly sees him as a father figure, given the farewell she gives him before leaving for a mission.
    Galatea: [hugs Hamilton] Goodbye, Daddy.
    [Hamilton's eyes widen, then he looks on forlornly as Galatea leaves]
  • Professor Venomous from OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes is an interesting male example; Venomous is a villain that apparently created Fink. Though he doesn't refer to her as his child and instead just calls her a "minion", he pretty much treats her as if she was his child.
  • Young Justice (2010): Helga Jace, a scientist in service of the Markovian royal family, is forced into service activating teenagers' metagenes; when rescued, she acts as a Parental Substitute to Brion and Tara, as well as Halo. She's eventually revealed to be a more twisted version of this, believing that Brion and Tara have been "reborn" as "her children" due to her experiments; she feels the same about Halo until learning that she was empowered another way, at which point she switches to That Thing Is Not My Child!.
  • Gyro Gearloose in DuckTales (2017). His inventions may case him no end of headaches, but considers them his "darlings" and will go Papa Wolf on anyone he believes has misused them. The only robot exempt from his treatment is his first invention B.O.Y.D./2-BO, whom Gyro considered no more than a Killer Robot. When he learned B.O.Y.D.'s previous rampage was from being overwritten by his old mentor, Gyro immediately did a 180 and embraced the robot like it was his own son.
  • Flashbacks in Monster Force show Dr. Viktor Frankenstein was this to his creation. Having given him life, Viktor didn't want his creation to be alone and so he willfully decided to create the monster a mate. It's implied that Viktor accepting and seeking to help his creation is why the Monster wound up being heroic.

    Real Life 
  • Dian Fossey from Gorillas in the Mist: First she goes to Africa to study the gorillas, and then fights to protect them (bonus points for being a real person).
  • Same with Jane Goodall.
  • Koko, the signing gorilla, seems to think of Francine "Penny" Paterson, the researcher who taught her most of the sign-language and seems to have raised her, like her mother. Penny seems to see Koko as her child as well.
  • Christina Maslach, who brought about the early end of the infamous Stanford Prison Experiment by objecting to the subjects' suffering as she was preparing to help with the experiment as a graduate student. Philip Zimbardo, who ran the experiment, noted that she was the only person out of more than fifty people who had observed the experiment to question its morality.

Alternative Title(s): Fatherly Scientist, Parently Scientist