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Science Hero

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"We are not only men of science: we are men of hope."
Dr. Jonas Venture, The Venture Bros.

Oh no! The city is in danger! This looks like a job... For Science!

A hero who uses science, technology and/or super-science to save the day. A staple of science fiction and an expression of the faith that science will save us rather than doom us. The Science Hero is the third part of the Hero Triangle, alongside with Action Hero and Guile Hero.

This hero is one part Badass Normal, two parts The Smart Guy, with a hint of Wrench Wench and Gadgeteer Genius. They're defined mostly by being highly technically proficient scientists (often in all fields) and with a sense of adventure and curiosity. Plus, gadgets!

The Science Hero has become something of a Forgotten Trope with the onset of Postmodernism. Post-modernism rejected progress for progress's sake, which is a favorite motivation for a Science Hero, and allowed a resurgence of Science Is Bad, Nature Hero, and Rock Beats Laser. Also, The Everyman is just more relatable to the general audience. There is also the fact that real science is a lot more slow paced and less dramatic than generally depicted in the media.

It also demanded personal motivations for characters. Classic Science Heroes tended to do their science for the good of society/humanity/the universe/etc. or For Science!, and viewers were expected to be inspired by them. Modern Science Heroes are expected to have a personal or psychological reason for getting into science. Some reasons make the character a Mad Scientist, with all the craziness that implies. It's good craziness used for a good cause, but we're not supposed to take that kind of character as a role model! Other reasons allow the pursuit of science to end or be shoved in the background because it is a means to a reachable end or to an end that can be better reached some other way. And, in modern fiction, even a Science Hero can be thrown off track by The Power of Love — and more likely than not, this will be expected to be seen as a good thing...

The gentleman scientist of old time adventures (think Jules Verne and H. G. Wells) is a relic of the dusty past. Today's scientists are less likely to be independent inventors with a lab in their basement. They are going to typically be career academics, company employees, or otherwise working for somebody else to make a living as a scientist. Real life science professors, if university employees, when not teaching classes, are likely to spend most of their time writing research grants, maneuvering in the politics of academia, or competeing for tenure (back when tenure meant something). Scientists working for the private sector are typically part of a team, working on a project that is funded and owned by the company.

For these reasons, it is hard to find new, unambiguous Science Heroes. It's a pity — we still need to inspire the scientists. There are, of course, a healthy number of real life role scientist role models, but their stories are more about real life empowerment or achievement, and less about fighting supervillains.

A Playful Hacker can be this trope when viewed in a positive light in the world of computing. See also Giving Radio to the Romans. Compare Nature Hero, Badass Bookworm, Omnidisciplinary Scientist, Lovable Nerd, and Celibate Eccentric Genius if the Science Hero rejects romantic love in favor for benevolent use of science. Contrast Science Is Bad and Mad Scientist though heroic mad scientists are becoming more popular. Often a champion of the Enlightenment in works featuring Romanticism Versus Enlightenment and opposed by an Evil Luddite. If the work portrays them positively, it likely also ascribes to Science Is Good and, depending on certain situations, Working-Class Hero. A Puzzle Thriller is a good place to find them.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Aldnoah.Zero, protagonist Inaho starts out as an Ordinary High-School Student with basic Kataphrakt training, not an Ace Pilot, and his Sleipnir Kataphrakt is a lightly-armored training rig instead of an Ace Custom. He is able to win against the insanely powerful, One-Man Army Kataphrakts used by the knights of Mars thanks to his extensive knowledge of physics and phenomenal powers of analysis, which allow him to deduce how the enemy mechs function, what their weaknesses are and how to exploit them.
  • In Bleach, Kisuke Urahara is the universe's premier technological expert and, when he isn't providing support for the front lines or engaging in battle directly, is inventing new devices and weapons to use for every possible outcome. His prowess in creating counters for everything through what he knows is so great that Yhwach, a being of godlike power and near-omnipotence, classifies Urahara as a "Special Threat," warning all of his minions that there is nobody Urahara cannot outsmart or any plan Urahara cannot observe and find weaknesses in. Urahara's assistant and current head of the Soul Society's R&D department, Mayuri Kurotsuchi, is almost Urahara's equal in science and technology and conducts research even more furiously than Urahara, though his morals are less than pure. Kurotsuchi just finds himself repeatedly in situations where he must play the hero to survive.
  • Bulma is pretty much the nearest thing to one that the Dragon Ball setting can have, and the most prominent one on Team Goku; while she rarely, if ever, takes a front-line role (since it's very hard, at best, for tech-based heroes in this setting to keep up with ki-based fighters), her genius-level skill with gadgetry has given the Z Fighters a non-combat edge time and again.
  • Dr. STONE's Senku serves as the protagonist of the story, constantly trying to solve problems with his extraordinary knowledge of science. He even wishes to make a "Kingdom of Science" in the new, electronics-lacking future he's stuck in.
  • Gamma has Nina Goto, essentially a female Iron Man expy. Unlike most of the other heroes in the setting, she doesn't have super powers. Instead, she builds armored suits and investigates villains scientifically.
  • In Kemono Friends, Kaban, despite having only a few days born since the start of the anime, can think and solve problems quickly. Turns out that this is her special attribute as a Friend.
  • Zig-Zagged by the Mad Scientist Bondrewd of Made in Abyss. He's saved countless lives as his research has led to some of the most important advancements and inventions in his field, however he's also an Anti-Villain that committed some of the most revolting and horrific acts in the story in order to make this possible. He genuinely wants to help people, but his Blue-and-Orange Morality makes him incapable of seeing when he's gone too far.
  • Magilumiere Co. Ltd.: Akasaka, the magical girl for the RIMT corporation, is a scientist who researches Kaii at her work, and her outfit reflects that having lab goggles and coat as part of her magical girl outfit.
  • While not as obviously impressive as the above examples, the Demon King from Maoyu is responsible for a scientific and cultural revolution among humans and demons alike. From four-stage crop rotation to public education to the potato to the greenhouse to the gun and even the printing press, she is unquestionably the mover and shaker of their history, whether through her own innovations or by expert diplomacy or by inspiring others (public education, after all) who share her ideals, often with them contributing in amazing ways themselves.
  • Record of Ragnarok: Nikola Tesla is one of the human representatives of Ragnarok, going against Beelzebub to fight for humanity's survival. With the aid of his scientist colleaguesnote  and the material from Gondul, Tesla designs and equips the Super Automaton β, a high-tech suit of armour, in hopes of triumphing against divine might.
  • In Sonic X, Tails creates most of the equipment the cast use to against Dr. Eggman and the Metarex.

    Asian Animation 
  • In Happy Heroes, Careless S. builds weapons that he can use to help fight monsters along with the other Supermen, placing him on the technological end of the trope.
  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf, Mr. Slowy is a scientist whose various inventions often come in handy when the goats need to save the day from the wolves.

    Comic Books 
  • For a short time, Hank Pym (aka Ant-Man, aka Giant-Man, aka Goliath, aka Yellowjacket, aka...) ditched the costume, code name, and powers altogether and fought crime in a lab coat and civvies (or, more famously during his stint with the West Coast Avengers, a red jumpsuit) with nothing but his tool-belt full of super-tech. Recent plot developments have brought back the scientific acumen in full force. He's even got a fully functional pocket dimension lab on him at all times.
  • Astro City has Augustus and Julius Furst, the scientist/adventurer brothers. Augustus is the head of the First Family, and while the rest of the team charges into battle with their super-powers or BFGs, Gus will hang back and analyze the enemy's weakness to six decimal places, then whip up some Applied Phlebotinum to finish it off. Julius is the true Badass Normal of the family, and can hold his own against all manner of nefarious superhumans with a badass cigar and a home-built BFG.
  • Atomic Robo is setting a new, two-fisted standard for these characters in his efforts to study/stop/bludgeon weird science across the globe. Also notable in that the titular Robo leads an entire organization of these people. He was built by Nikola Tesla, who turns out to have been something of a Science Hero himself back in the day.
  • Ray Palmer and Ryan Choi are both university scientists with extensive knowledge in the field of atomic manipulation and molecular biology that spend their time shrinking down to the size of said atoms and molecules to kick the crap out of bad guys.
  • Batman. Yes, he's stealthy and scary and crazy strong and skilled, but the reason he's the most dangerous human in the universe is that he's forced to use scientific smarts to get the job done — unlike other superheroes, his strength has limitations. Which explains why he's defeated beings referred to as gods with his wits alone. He can take down anyone because he has contingency plans for anything happening and anyone going rogue. He's also a Gadgeteer Genius who's had a part in the design of most of his own gadgets. In addition, being the World's Greatest Detective means an extensive knowledge of forensic science which he puts to use examining evidence and curing toxins that villains like the Joker use.
  • Black Panther, in addition to being a Super-Soldier and Action Politician with the resources of a super-advanced nation at his disposal, has a PhD in physics. At one point in his 2016 series, he privately reflects that without The Chains of Commanding, being a scientist would be his first choice in life.
  • The second Blue Beetle Ted Kord had elements of this, as seen in his cameo on Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
  • Fantastic Four: Reed Richards stands out in this regard — his stretching abilities are usually used to make his research easier, not so much for fighting. In an issue of Marvel Team-Up from the 80's with Spider-Man, he lost his genius, and was extremely upset, even telling Spider-Man that he has always considered his mind to be his true super-power.
  • Both Jay Garrick and Barry Allen, the first and second The Flash respectively, are both experts in science. Jay is the director of a laboratory which was crucial in protecting Earth-Two, and Barry is a police scientist who uses his speed in creative ways in conjunction with his science knowledge.
  • The Incredible Hulk: Bruce Banner is a great example, especially in the run-up to Fall of the Hulks where he spent a good while Hulkless. The man does such things as manufacturing his own super-tech mini-computer out of an old iPod and while men like Reed Richards and Tony Stark consider themselves smarter than him overall, they at least know when to bow to him as the eminent scientist in the field of nuclear radiation and its mutating effects on biology.
  • Iron Man became quite the Trope Codifier for being a man who fights evil with his inventions.
  • Qubit from Irredeemable. Being an expy of another Science Hero, the Doctor (specfically, the Tenth Doctor), he serves to try and counteract the terror going on with his scientific prowess and ability to invent anything.
  • Jill Trent, Science Sleuth was a Golden Age Science Heroine.
  • Brainiac 5 from Legion of Super-Heroes has a twelfth-level intelligence and is absolutely unafraid to use it to create anything that will solve a situation, up to and including weapons of mass destruction. The Animated Adaptation turned him into a Do-Anything Robot.
  • Paul Dini's Madame Mirage revolves around both Science Heroes, and Mad Scientists and other science-abusing villains.
  • The Vault Comic Money Shot is a parody of the Science Hero sci-fi story like Star Trek where a group of brave scientists use a star-gate to explore strange new worlds and seek out new life-forms and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before ... and make porn. Seriously. The logic being that most of humanity's great inventions and endeavors were in some way related to pornography, so their show would be the best way of re-awakening people's interests in space-travel.
  • Rahan manages to be a stone age example of this. At the rate he's going, it won't be the stone age for much longer...
  • Not only does Tim Drake (Robin III/Red Robin III) create his own gadgets and help modify the computer in the Batcave and assist Barbara when she updates the computer she uses as Oracle he also finds ways to apply reactive chemical compounds and other innovations to crime fighting. It fits as he's a detective before a fighter, even if he is quite good at fighting.
  • Spider-Man: Peter Parker invented the web-shooters that allow him to Building Swing around New York, and often finds himself up against much larger and/or stronger foes that require him to think on his feet to defeat them, such as when he defeats Morlun by irradiating his own blood in The Amazing Spider-Man (J. Michael Straczynski). He also invented a tracking device that's keyed to his own Spider-Sense and thus has no conventional radio signal to detect. Hank Pym was initially impressed by these inventions, and then amazed when he realized that Peter Parker created them at age 15 with virtually no resources.
  • Superman: One of Superman's many hobbies is fiddling with human or Kryptonian devices or phenomena and trying to make something useful. All-Star Superman was made of this stuff. To compare, he's much more science oriented than even Batman; Batman uses science for practical reasons and forensic work, while Superman tends to do it just 'cause... That aspect of the character, however, was greatly toned down Post-Crisis.
  • Mister Terrific is the 3rd smartest man, and his superpower is using his knowledge of science and technology to save the day.
  • Tom Strong. Indeed in the whole America's Best Comics universe Science Hero is actually the preferred term for what are commonly called Superheroes. Note that though called Science Heroes, not all the characters in that multiverse fit this trope. (For example, Splash Brannigan is called a Science Hero despite having no scientific knowledge, background or indeed, common sense. His powers even derive from the fact that his body is composed of MAGIC four-dimensional ink.)
  • Kalish in Universal War One. A man who saves the day with theoretical science!
  • Wonder Woman started out as a scientist with her own laboratory in which she and an Amazonian physician nursed Steve Trevor back to health, Diana aiding by inventing the Purple Healing Ray. She also flew an experimental stealth Space Plane. Later writers moved her further and further from the role, instead focusing on the ties her mother and birth via Aphrodite's aid gives her to Classical Mythology, despite the original comics usually treating those Olympians that showed up more as aliens than gods.
  • The X-Men's X-Club is an entire team of Science Heroes. X-Men's founder (Charles Xavier) and one of its charter members (Hank "Beast" McCoy) are two of the world's most prominent geneticists in the Marvel Universe. Beast is super-strong and agile, but compared to the likes of Colossus and Rogue he's not really one of the team's heavy hitters; it's his mind that makes him formidable, and he can often be found tinkering with the Blackbird or Cerebro or the Imported Alien Phlebotinum of the week.

    Fan Works 
  • Adult Stuck: The "Science Bros", which includes clones of Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein, Ben Franklin and several others.
  • Tealove's Steamy Adventure re-imagines the farmer Applejack as this. She initially started her science lab to study and improve apple cider recipes. Currently, her lab safeguards the Epic Tea Leaves so the evil cultist can't obtain them all.
  • Rear Admiral Zandra Taitt in Beat the Drums of War. Instead of expecting Starfleet forces at Earth to meet the invading Heralds head on, she hatches a plan that successfully diverts their gateway into a black hole. She dies in the process and is posthumously awarded the Federation Medal of Honor.
  • Amazing Fantasy:
    • Peter is a Genius Bruiser who designed most of his tech from scraps and makes creative use of scientific principles to get ahead of his foes, exploiting Newton's Third Law to allow one trigger-happy crook to maim himself via Deadly Dodging.
    • Similarly, the Melissa of Earth 2018.65 designs most of her own gadgets with the help of her father, a Science Hero in his own right. These include her Transformation Trinket, her Cool Car, and web-cannons.

    Films — Animation 
  • Atlantis: The Lost Empire has Milo Thatch, who uses his linguist abilities to operate ancient technology, revive a dying civilization, and save the princess from a band of mercenaries.
  • Big Hero 6 is about a team of self-proclaimed nerds who fight evil with science/tech-created superpowers 20 Minutes into the Future.
  • In Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Flint Lockwood wants to be one of these, but his inventions (usually created to address a specific need in his community) have a tendency to either fail horribly or cause more problems than they solve.
  • Megamind is a Mad Scientist who chose to be evil because that's what he grew up believing mad scientists should do (and he was raised by convicts in jail). He undergoes a Heel–Face Turn when he finds out he has other options and becomes a hero outright when Titan threatens his hometown. He enters combat using whatever devices he has already built and can carry on his person, making up for his lack of physical strength by quickly adapting whenever the battlefield situations change and finding unconventional uses for those devices.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The cast of Destination Moon. The one guy who isn't a scientist is the radio operation of the rocket, and the other two figure out their way to solve a Cold Equation with little more than some rope and a file.
  • The hero of Stephen Chow's film Forbidden City Cop is a member of the imperial guard by family heritage rather than martial arts ability. He's actually a gynecologist by trade and part-time inventor who uses his creativity and analytical mind to succeed where the other bodyguards fail.
  • Ghostbusters (1984): The Ghostbusters are (mostly) doctors in various unusual fields who put their knowledge to work bustin' ghosts with a self-designed arsenal of anti-spook gadgets.
    Peter Venkman: Back off, man. I'm a scientist.
  • Except for its female lead, the basic plot of Gravity would not seem out of place in a fifties Golden Age of Sci-Fi story.
  • Tony Stark in the Iron Man films, especially in Iron Man 3 where his suit is out of commission and he resorts to his knowledge of technology and chemistry to use handmade gadgets to fight the bad guys.
  • The Martian features an entire cast full of these. Excepting public affairs head Annie Montrose, literally the entire cast is made up of scientists and engineers. It becomes necessary to save astronaut Mark Watney when he becomes stranded on Mars. Or as Mark himself puts it:
    Mark Watney: In the face of overwhelming odds, I'm left with only one option: I'm going to have to science the shit out of this.
  • Bernard Quatermass of the Quatermass movies is a rocket scientist who battles alien invaders and always manages to dispatch them by using science to uncover their weaknesses.
  • The entire cast of Real Genius is a bunch of super-geniuses making a living on a California university. They both manage to create a high-tech laser theoretically capable of immense destruction as a grading project and manage to infiltrate a top-secret base to manufacture a Disastrous Demonstration when they find out that they've been duped into making a Kill Sat prototype for the CIA.
  • Most of the crew of the Icarus II in Danny Boyle's Sunshine (2007), especially Capa, are intended to be this. There is action, but there's also at least as much thinking.
  • Tomorrowland is about what happens when Tomorrowland calls for future Science Heroes, such as Casey, to go there and develop their projects. Except that the party was cancelled, and the people who could have been heroes instead turned into a Hidden Elf Village. Which is a bad thing, as the world's about to die from a bunch of calamities that need optimistic Science Heroes to fix.
  • Adam Royston from X the Unknown is a Captain Ersatz of Quatermass who manages to find a way to trick and kill a monster with little more than his knowledge of radiation.

  • Olaf Neddelsohn in The Cambist and Lord Iron is, unusually, an Economics Hero, employing concepts like free market principles and revealed preferences against the challenges with which he is faced.
  • Willy Wonka is a good-kind-of-crazy Mad Scientist — he uses his omnidisciplinary talents in the service of making and marketing the best candies in the world, and in the process has created everything from a teleporter to antigravity technology. (In the 2005 film adaptation, tech-savvy Mike Teavee calls him out for not considering other uses for his technology.) In Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, his skills help save most of the crew and guests of a space hotel from shapeshifting aliens, and he turns out to have invented both a Fountain of Youth pill and its Rapid Aging antidote.
  • The Cold Equations has been argued long and hard by people ever since it came out, but the general consensus about the story and its Shoot the Dog Downer Ending is that it was an (arguably necessary) slap in the face of the proliferation on Fifties sci-fi of the Science Hero capable of creating a Deus ex Machina Ass Pull and giving it a Hand Wave of "science!". The pilot main character hits all the points of the Science Hero, but the more he tries to analyze the situation, the more he sees than the unfairness of the facts (especially the Rocket Equation itself) cannot be surpassed with what he has on hand, no matter how creative he tries to think. Unfortunately the reaction of a modern reader tends to be more like "how incompetent did everyone involved from ship design up have to be to even get into this situation?"
  • The Danny Dunn series by Raymond Abrashkin and Jay Williams features an aspiring scientist schoolboy and his mentor, Professor Bullfinch, who use science to get into and out of many adventures.
  • Doc Savage and his team are the Ur-Example from Two-Fisted Tales.
  • In Factory of the Gods Julian is an engineer and — while his Powered Armor makes him effective in a fight — he gets the most benefit from inventing and building off the factory.
  • While stretching the term of the word 'Hero', Kiritsugu Emiya of Fate/Zero frequently does battle with magi who are almost universally more skilled and powerful than he is. His solution? Don't use magic, use a sniper rifle. The target is using magic? That increases body temperature, use infrared lenses. Magi do not guard against purely physical dangers and are almost always caught completely off guard by such methods. The mere fact that he does use technology makes many view him as worthless, weak scum. When he finally combines the two, he has an intensely powerful gun that uses bullets that happen to carry the trait that they sever the magic using ability of those they are used on. You can't use mere armor to stop the bullet, and if you use magic to do so all your organs will be horribly ripped apart by the backlash of your magic circuits disintegrating. Oh, and he attaches normal cameras to the underside of bat familiars because you can't trick a camera with magic like you can the eye or brain and it also records better.
  • The hero of Forest of Boland Light Railway is an inventor who designed, built and drives the first ever steam locomotive. He also defeated a feral horde of goblins.
  • Quite a lot of Robert A. Heinlein's works have this kind of hero. Of particular note is the fact he wrote the novel Destination Moon in the Film section was based on.
  • Hostile Takeover (Shwartz): Protagonist CC is a financial analyst, and she uncovers a diabolical peculation scheme with spreadsheets!
  • While most of the adult characters in Jurassic Park are scientists and engineers, Alan Grant fits the mold best, saving the day with his knowledge of dinosaurs (such as deducing that the T. rex's vision is motion-based).
  • The Lensman series starts off with science heroes and villains, then quickly spins Serial Escalation. A specific example is LaVerne Thorndyke: "If it could be built, 'Thorny' Thorndyke could build it. If it could not be built, he could build you something just as good." Arguably a prototype for Montgomery Scott. The Virgil Samms era has Fred Rhodebush and Lyman Cleveland, but they are contracted civilian scientists who are sometimes needed near the front line rather than serving combat officers. And there's Bergenholm, the Arisians' thumb on the scales.
  • While he is mostly a Guile Hero, Shiroe of Log Horizon spends a lot of time examining the physics of his new world and inventing strategies and technologies to take advantage of them. The Roderick Firm is an entire guild of Science Heroes, to the point where their nickname is "Roderick Labs".
  • In Lord of Light, Yama, the Death God, becomes this after his Heel–Face Turn. He's responsible for most of the advanced weaponry on both sides of the war between the Gods.
  • Mark Watney in The Martian, along with the rest of the mission and the team back on Earth that helps save him, definitely qualify. Given the training and skill of astronauts, this definitely qualifies as Truth in Television.
  • Maureen Birnbaum, Barbarian Swordsperson: Rod Marquand, a student who Maureen first encounters at the Earth's Core is a stereotypical example. He's an inventor who fights crime as a costumed superhero, and has what he calls a "subterrene" — it's like a submarine, except it travels through earth rather than water.
  • The Mercenaries by H. Beam Piper. Multinational Teams for Free Scientists sell their services to the four superpowers dominating the world. The plot involves uncovering a traitor in their own ranks, something they can't delegate to the government as it would destroy their reputation and independence.
  • Cyrus Harding in Jules Verne's The Mysterious Island. After the group crashes on an island, he basically builds a mini-civilization out of natural resources and his own engineering prowess, including building a telephone network and a nitroglycerin plant. The latter becomes very important when the island is attacked by pirates and our heroes have to fight them off.
  • In The Reckoners Trilogy we have Prof, real name Jonathan Phaedrus. He takes the fight to the evil Epics with the aid of some of the devices he invented, amongst which energy shields, the tensors and the harmsway. He even wears a black Badass Labcoat and a pair of goggles into battle to complete the image. Subverted. He's really an Epic himself, and all his 'devices' are really powered by his special abilities. What's more, he's not so much a scientist as a 5th grade science teacher, for which he took cues from Bill Nye the Science Guy.
  • Neal Stephenson's books live, eat and breathe this trope. To give but an idea, Cryptonomicon provides us with an example of a cryptologist Science Hero (who devises and breaks a variety of codes throughout the book, and gives an exact explanation of how it was done).
  • Tom Swift is one, too. A classic boy scientist who invented an electric gun that would become the inspiration for the taser and inspired many prominent science fiction writers.
  • Whateley Universe: There are a number of these around in 2006note , most notably Dr. Amazing (a Mr Fantastic Expy), Dr. Helen Smart, and the entire Wilde, Ferris, and Havoc families. They were even more common in the first half of the 20th century through to the end of the Fifties, with science heroes and heroines popping up left and right - there was even a Teen Genius Science Hero team in the 1950s, with both Amos Messing and Adam and Eve Wilde as members. Heavily deconstructed in several of the stories, such as in "Evil Genius", which features the cast of a Science Hero Teen Genius reality television show.
    • Note that in-universe, Science Heroes (and to a lesser extent, Science Villains such as Dr. Diabolik) are generally seen as a different phenomenon from those Mutants whose powers involve super-science (whether they are the Gadgeteer Geniuses whose Psychic Powers let them invent things decades or even centuries ahead of the curve, or the Devisors whose Magic-Powered Pseudoscience often breaks the laws of physics). The latter are subject to Fantastic Racism for being mutants, whereas most people are supportive of the Science Heroes who are not also mutants.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Andromeda Strain: Team Wildfire are the heroes of the story, being a team of scientists fighting against the deadly Andromeda virus using their scientific expertise, with each being a specialist in different fields.
  • The members of The A-Team, while not scientists per se, usually found themselves imprisoned in a location with sufficient junk metal and obsolete machines to build an armored, armed, yet non-lethal, battle machine. Call it the Engineer Hero sub-trope.
  • Dr. Tenperance Brennan and her team of “squints” on Bones . Brennan is the scientific half of the Booth/Brennan team while Booth does the police work. Having Minored In Ass Kicking helps too sometimes.
  • Mr. White of Breaking Bad is an anti-heroic form of this. In the seven-episode first season alone, he uses his chemistry know-how to cook incredibly pure crystal meth, kill two drug dealers with phosphine gas, blow up an annoying yuppie's car, intimidate hardened criminals with exploding fulminated mercury, and melt through a solid metal lock with thermite. Though by the end he ceases being a hero and becomes a Science Villain Protagonist.
  • In the Cosmos reboot, many scientists are highlighted for their crucial work in furthering understanding of the cosmos, but the one that really fits this trope is Clair Patterson who, as a side-effect of determining the Earth's age, realized how bad lead contamination was and refused all industry pressure to make him back off. He squared off with Robert Kehoe, an industry scientist, in front of Congress and his efforts resulted in the banning of all lead products in the United States.
  • Grissom on CSI. All the CSI cast, in fact. The other two shows have varying levels, because some characters are more detective while others are more science-y.
  • Lampshaded and parodied in the Disneyland episode "Mars and Beyond", where the science hero is too busy thinking up arcane equations to notice the Damsel in Distress has been kidnapped by evil Martians. Fortunately she's resourceful enough to rescue herself.
  • In Doctor Who, the Doctor in most of their incarnations, though they're not averse to less refined tactics when necessary. In fact, the word "doctor" comes from them (possibly as a result of a Stable Time Loop), and means "healer" across the universe. That is, except in the places where it means "mighty warrior" instead.
  • John Crichton of Farscape; quite apart from being both a scientist and an astronaut, he's one of the most scientifically-minded members of the cast, often found experimenting with gravity slingshots and wormholes, and once cobbling together a home-made nuclear bomb. Also, he's also a very firm advocate of ethics in science; quite apart from condemning Namtar for his use of unwilling sentient beings in his Bio-Augmentation trials, he also tries to avoid taking shortcuts in developing wormhole tech ("If you're not smart enough to develop it on your own, you're not smart enough to use it wisely"), at one point spending the months between Seasons 3 and 4 working out the calculations and variables. In the movie, he even goes so far as to set off a Wormhole Weapon just to demonstrate why nobody should be willing to use them.
  • Ross from Friends wrote a comic about a Kid Hero named "Science Boy", who had a superhuman desire to learn.
  • Ladies and Gentlemen, Professor Roy Hinckley. Who can build a nuclear reactor out of coconuts but can't fix a two foot hole in a boat.
  • The Great British Bake Off:
    • Paul has extensive knowledge of the science of baking and is always explaining the various chemical processes that occur during a bake. Mary is also incredibly knowledgeable but she doesn't go into quite as much detail as Paul, preferring to use more easy to understand expressions.
    • Biochemist Yann in Season 8 came up with a load of smart scientific ideas to improve her bakes, including creating pearls of mango with agar and injecting gelatin to make a poppy.
  • In Helix, the series premise is that a CDC rapid response team of pathologists and their liaison from the Army Core of Engineers have been sent to save a private research base full of Morally Ambiguous Doctorates from a Synthetic Plague that's turned into an outbreak of The Virus.
  • The Imperfects: Abbi, one of the leads looking to reverse the effects of their own altered DNA, is also a student in genetics. As a results, she has a better understanding of the nature of her condition than her companions. This allows her to ask relevant questions to people who might potentially help.
  • Itch: Itch gets out of many a tough situation with some science, such as temporarily blinding pursuers, creating a noise grenade, and taking a car out of action with a potato.
  • Kamen Rider Build: The title character, Sento Kiryu, is a genius physicist and the second-smartest Kamen Rider to datenote . He's also the only Rider to invent his own Transformation Trinkets, weapons, and upgrades, though he didn't invent his transformation belt. It was created by "Demon Scientist" Takumi Katsuragi, whose memories were wiped and became...Sento Kiryu. Despite the fact that the show's villains employ similar technology, Sento rejects the notion of "evil science", viewing it as a tool that can be used either for good or ill depending on its user's intent. Which is why he has no problem continuing to use the Build gear after learning that it was created to be a weapon of war.
  • MacGyver (1985), despite the jury-rigged nature of the title character's devices, definitely qualifies; nearly every episode's conflict is resolved by an improvised invention.
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers:
    • Billy, the original Blue Ranger. When the team transitioned to Power Rangers Zeo, he stepped back from heroics to support the Rangers from the lab full-time (though he still got into the occasional fight).
    • His teammate Tommy stepped into this trope by Power Rangers: Dino Thunder, having become a paleontologist and high school teacher by that point in addition to being a Sixth Ranger yet again.
  • Detective Murdoch in Murdoch Mysteries, who believes in using the scientific method in solving crimes, whether that means analysing the situation as one would a scientific hypothesis, or inventing new machines to aid detection.
  • The Mythbusters have put many an Urban Legend to the test by means of figuring out the specifics of how the legend is supposed to work and then trying to replicate the results with their extensive experience in special effects... and quite a few explosions.
    Adam Savage: Remember, kids, the only difference between screwin' around and science is writing it down.
  • Our Miss Brooks: Mr. Boynton ends up saving the day in "Living Statues". Walter Denton had invented a new type of paint to remove scratches. Unfortunately, at the last minute he mistakenly adds liquid cement to the concoction. After using the paint in Mr. Conklin's office, Miss Brooks, Mr. Conklin, Mr. Boynton, and Walter Denton get stuck to the wall or the furniture. Mr. Boynton managed to free himself and go off to his laboratory to mix up a dissolvent to free everyone else. As for Walter Denton; he goes to help, limping off still stuck to the pedestral that usually held the bust of the school founder, Yodar Kritch.
  • Sanctuary: Dr. Helen Magnus, with a vengeance. She's also a VERY capable fighter who definitely Minored in Ass-Kicking.
  • The title character of Sister Boniface Mysteries is a nun who also happens to be a pioneering forensic scientist and has her own lab in the convent.
  • On Stargate SG-1, Samantha Carter's physics/technological knowledge and Daniel Jackson's linguistic/archaeological/anthropological knowledge end up saving the day numerous times, justifying their inclusion on a front-line team. They can kick ass when necessary too, though.
    • While Sam does wield the science like nobody's business, she's also a highly skilled soldier, which justifies her inclusion on the team, brilliance aside.
  • Science is also Rodney McKay's preferred weapon on Stargate Atlantis. The importance of science in saving the city is Lampshaded by McKay and Zelenka when the military bursts in at the end of Season 1 and takes over.
    McKay: I should be in that meeting. I am the foremost expert on the defense capabilities of this city.
    Zelenka: You know how it is — when military steps in, scientists take a back seat.
    McKay: Until they need us.
    Zelenka: I don't think they need us.
    McKay: Yeah, they don't think they need us, right up until the point that they need us, and then, they need us.
  • Star Trek in all its incarnations has heroes like this, though it throws in plenty of diplomatic and straight-up military challenges for variety. The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "The Alternate" had this to say:
    Dr. Mora: I'm beginning to think that the scientific method and police method have a lot in common. In science we look for the obvious. We track in straight lines. If something looks too good to be true, it usually isn't true. If there appears to be more to something than meets the eye, there usually is more. We take it step by step.
    By the DS9 era, this had more or less become the Federation's hat, and Starfleet engineers have a reputation for being able to "turn rocks into replicators". Star Trek: Voyager also has Captain Janeway work her way up to commanding a starship from being a science officer, and helping out her crew as captain whenever they need scientific know-how.
  • Sam and Dean Winchester on Supernatural are the supernatural equivalent of this, taking down monsters using their in-depth knowledge of all kinds of mythology and the weaknesses of each creature in it.
  • Artemus Gordon of The Wild Wild West is not only a Gadgeteer Genius and a chemistry wiz, but he seems to have at least a basic familiarity with every field of scientific endeavor which existed at the time.

  • Emperor Ravana is often thought of as the demonic villain of the Ramayana, but in his native island, Sri Lanka, folklore paints him in a very different light. Most record Ravana as a scholar king who improved the life of his people with advanced medicine and engineering, creating flying machines and floating bridges. His engineering and innovative skills were so advanced that Sri Lankan folklore holds he was mistaken for magical by supersticious mainlanders.


    Pro Wrestling 
  • Jim Nye, science guy of feds such as Fringe Pro and Alpha 1. He is however, not an Omni Disciplinary Scientist, and trying to help people outside of his practicing fields usually leads to trouble.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons of all games eventually added a class based on this: the Artificer, technomagical engineers from the Eberron setting.
    • Dr. Rudolph van Richten of Ravenloft was about as close to this trope as someone whose field investigations involve undead and lycanthropes can get.
    • The Alchemist class from Pathfinder might be considered this, even though he's technically using magic spells shoved into various potions, bombs, and mutagens.
  • Artificers and Scholars are based on this concept in GURPS: Dungeon Fantasy.
  • Most of the playable roles in Pandemic are scientists or medical professionals.
  • Spirit of the Century happily encourages the Science Hero type for player characters to contrast prominent Science Villains, and also because Science Heroes are cool.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Played with in regards to the Adeptus Mechanicus. Within the galaxy-spanning Imperium of Man, one of their most important institutions is the Adeptus Mechanicus. Rather than being "just" the Imperial Office of Technology, they're a full client empire, replete with their own planets, fleets, armies, and enjoy a monopoly on most Imperial technology, and with it a presence in almost all Imperial institutions and forces. They maintain the entirety of the Imperium's technology and industrial base with faithfulness and a brusqe efficiency. Now for the downside: they're also a secretive priesthood of cyborgs and techno-theocrats who sometimes operate as a society unto themselves more than as a part of the Imperium, and their conservative and highly dogmatic approach to technology makes them more akin to glorified technicians who hoard all the best tech for themselves. Their approach to new technologies sees that almost all science and innovation are potentially dangerous and even heretical (admittedly with some good reason), making them highly, highly regulated and next to nonexistent; while this has meant that the Imperium has seen some innovation over the many centuries, the AdMech is largely responsible for the Imperial technological stasis. The source of new technologies instead comes from the recovery of STC artifacts, which are recovered artifact technologies and blueprints from humanity's technological golden age.
  • World of Darkness:
    • The oWoD game Mage: The Ascension gave us the Sons of Ether, gloriously so; they even have an informal Adventurers faction that's expressly made up of Science Heroes. Some members of the Technocracy might count as Science Anti Heroes.
    • The [1] has a fan gameline named Genius: The Transgression. While this tends to lean towards Mad Scientists, the Science Hero is a common character type for players, even having as far as a merit called Science Hero.
    • Princess: The Hopeful: Many Seekers will end up as this, as their Calling's Duty is to learn and share truth. Similarly, almost any Princess of Diamonds will have some shade of this, since their Court's philosophies revolve around the value of knowledge and reason.

    Video Games 
  • From Battleborn:
    • Beatrix is an amoral Mad Doctor Anti-Hero that fights in the battlefield using various viruses and diseases she concocted to either aid her allies or enfeeble her opponents. She does so with the aid of her large, prosthetic syringe-arm which she uses like a Sniper Rifle.
    • Kleese is an Insufferable Genius Mad Scientist type of character who aids his fellow Battleborn both off and on the field. He is a brilliant physicist and tech expert. When it comes to quantum physic related problems and the sort, such as the universal law breaking capabilities of the Varelsi, he is the man his comrades turn to regardless of their feelings towards him. Being the former CTO of Minion Robotics, Kleese is an expert on Magnuses and their programming. His skills as such include knowing the effects of Varelsi portals have on Magnus A.I. and reprogramming rouge Magnuses to aid the Battleborn. On the battlefield, Kleese rides upon his hovering Battle Throne which is capable of firing a Shock Taser as well firing a barrage of energy mortars. He also uses a laser firing Wrist Cannon as well as deploy tech that can open up Energy Rifts that support allies' shields and tech that can summon miniature Black Holes against opponents.
    • Phoebe is a rich brilliant inventor who uses her creations to aid her in the battle against the legion of cosmic horrors threatening cause universal heat death. Her inventions include phasegate tech which allows her to teleport around the battlefield, and a cybernetic implant which allows her to telekinetically control four of her five rapiers.
  • In Champions Online the "Gadgeteering" power set appears to be specifically made to accommodate player characters using this trope, complete with rayguns, robots and other near little science-y toys. A canon example is seen in Dr. Silverback, the settings big name Science Hero... who's also a sentient talking gorilla wearing a lab-coat.
  • Lucca of Chrono Trigger is a Gadgeteer Genius who fights with apparently self-designed laser guns and protective gear designed for her by her equally science-minded father, and repaired and reprogrammed fellow party member Robo, adapting to working with technology from a thousand years in the future within a couple hours.
  • A number of player characters in City of Heroes, as well as canon example Positron. The character creator specifically lists "Science" and "Technology" as two of the 5 selectable origins for a player character.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Attack of Darkforce: Platinum is a Gadgeteer Genius who creates and manufactures most of the equipment for the PMEC team, including the shoulder-mounted cannons that she carries into battle. She's able to create a magic detection device when given a machinist shop to work in, and can further augment her combat capabilities by analyzing hitherto unseen alien technology recovered from the battlefield.
  • In Fallout, a character with a high Science skill and Good Karma can become this, solving problems with their advanced knowledge. This especially comes into play in the Fallout: New Vegas DLC Old World Blues, which takes place in a facility for a group of Mad Scientists and where the Science skill gets quite a bit of work. In fact, if the main quest is completed with Good/Neutral karma, the epilogue states that the Courier becomes the benevolent caretaker of the technologies of the Big MT and kept them safe until they could be used to help mankind.
    • In Fallout 3, the Lone Wanderer's parents were the lead scientists and brains behind Project Purity, meant to cleanse the residual radiation in the tidal basin and provide mass amounts of clean drinking water to the entire Capital Wasteland. After the death of your mother in childbirth, the Project was abandoned for nineteen years until you father decided to leave Vault 101 and start it back up again.
    • The Lone Wanderer can follow in their footsteps if taking the multiple tier Daddy's Boy/Girl Perk, which appropriately provides a boost to their Science and Medicine stat.
  • League of Legends has heroic examples in Jayce and Heimerdinger, along with Science Villains such as Singed and Viktor. Most of the Piltover/Zaun champions have at least a touch of this, with Ekko in the mix to show that Zaun's method can produce good guys too.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Prof. Mordin Solus from Mass Effect 2 may not be human, but his character is probably one of the straightest mainstream examples of this trope out there. While not a squeaky clean example of scientific ethics, he clearly struggles with prioritizing The Needs of the Many in the case of Genophage, which he helped (re)design to cripple the krogan birth rates — and thus to preserve both them, with their We Have Reserves mentality, and other species from another devastating Krogan War. While he is ready to exercise deadly force at the drop of a hat, he'll generally only do so to protect his patients, and he draws a clear line when it comes to actually using science to harm others. One of the few times he actually shows strong emotions is when he finds out Reaper science twisted the Protheans into mindless husks — the Collectors. A major reason why he went from a being top salarian scientist with near unlimited funding to running a clinic on Omega was because he wanted to spend the last decade of his life doing something that wasn't morally questionable, and in Mass Effect 3, he manages to pull off a Heroic Sacrifice worthy of a true Science Hero: after designing a cure to reverse Genophage under extreme time pressure, he personally chooses to deliver it for dispersal because he is the only one who can do so quickly enough before the dispersal tower collapses — someone else might have gotten it wrong.
    • Commander Shepard themselves qualifies in certain classes:
      • Sentinel!Shepard, due to their proficiency in using both biotics and tech skills during combat. This would undoubtably indicate that Shepard not only went through biotic training, but also studied engineering during their time training with the military.
      • Engineer!Shepard can also be considered a Science Hero. In Mass Effect 2 Engineer!Shepard gets a reduction in research costs indicating it is not just purely battlefield combat engineering s/he studied during his/her training but also scientific knowledge required for researching and developing technology. In the Omega DLC for Mass Effect 3, Engineer!Shepard gets the first ever class-specific interrupt, where in the middle of General Petrovsky's Hannibal Lecture about having to sacrifice civilians to stop a reactor breach, Engineer!Shepard mocks him for thinking they are a simple grunt, shuts the reactor down in seconds and leaves him standing there with egg on his face.
  • Dr. Hawkins of MDK exemplifies this trope. Every level in which the player uses him involves finding a way to create weapons to kill enemies or gadgets to cross obstacles out of pure MacGyvering.
  • In Metal Gear Solid, Snake does all the sneaking and fighting, but Otacon's engineering and hacking is what enables him to do so.
  • Overwatch features several such characters, most notably Winston, a gorilla who was himself created by the scientist who was his namesake, and Mei, a Chinese climatologist who was the only survivor of a failed expedition in Antarctica.
  • For ParaWorld, in an alternate universe full of dinosaurs and vikings - among the most powerful units there are...three scientists from our modern world: geologist Anthony Cole, zoologist Stina Holmlund, and astrophysicist Bela Andras Benedak. Other heroes you can find also tend to be scientists who are analogue to historical figures like Nikolaj Taslow as a stand-in for Nikola Tesla. Besides amazing statlines, these scientist heroes also grant a special buildable unit for every tribe they're working with.
  • In Pathologic, the goal of the protagonists is to Find the Cure! against The Plague, and one of them, Daniel Dankovski, Bachelor of medicine uses scientific methods and knowledge of biology, and the other, Artemiy "Haruspex" Burakh, while being also a skilled physician, relies on an ancient steppen practicies. There is also Stanislav Rubin, while he is not a protagonist, he also uses science to resolve the plot.
  • Ringo Andou from Puyo Puyo takes an interest in mathmatics, even theming her magic spells after math terms ("cosine", "tangent", "algorithm", etc.). She's also very curious and will question the logic other characters go by as being "unscientific". Gadgets and inventions, on the other hand, are more Risukuma's thing.
  • Giacomo, the main character of Rise of Legends, who invented the Clockwork Men.
  • The Karavan of Ryzom fulfill this role to an extent — at the very least, they have the only metal on the World Tree of Atys anywhere and are more in favor of Technology rather than Magic.
  • Bentley of the Sly Cooper series. Considered to be the team mastermind, he performs a variety of science-based tasks, many of which involve destroying structures.
    Bentley: Behold the majesty of gravity and inertia!
  • In the X-COM series, your soldiers may be the ones taking the fight to the aliens, but it's the scientists and engineers back at base who turn them from barely surviving cannon fodder to elite alien-killing machines. The Firaxis reboot highlights this by elevating the head scientist and engineer into primary NPCs.

    Visual Novels 
  • Among the main cast of Code:Realize there's Impey Barbicane, a self-declared "genius engineer" who delights in fantastical machinery and devices and waxes gleeful over the wonders of science, and Victor Frankenstein as an alchemist who makes up for his lack of physical ability by cooking up all sorts of useful compounds for things like flashbombs and knockout gas.

  • Mori of The Dragon Doctors. Interesting in a world of wizards and magic.
  • Dr. Nonami stars a young female scientist who fights villains with her inventions.
  • Dubious Company's Captain Walter uses his Avoisian engineering to counter The Empire's magic-based elites, if he's not using it to make silly cool stuff and is properly motivated.
  • Girl Genius lives and breathes this trope. Naturally, the best exant example is the eponymous heroine, Agatha Heterodyne. Othar Tryggvassen Gentleman Adventurer is a troperrific example, with the dark-ish twist that he's also trying to kill all the others, and then ultimately himself. The best examples were the Heterodyne Boys. Agatha's working up to follow in the footsteps of her father and uncle now that she knows who they are. And for a somewhat deconstructive version, Klaus Wulfenbach protected all of Europa through his machines by conquering it, establishing the Empire, and check-reining all of the Mad Scientists running loose everywhere.
  • Katerina Donlan from Gunnerkrigg Court is a teenaged Science Hero in the making. The sentient robots of the Court already consider her an angel sent by their Creator.
  • Jade Harley of Homestuck is a scientist with a 'dog', regularly uses radiation and, when she gets access to Item Crafting, creates multiple large rifles for herself. Did we mention she's 13 by her introduction?
    • A lot of Skaia's mechanisms require these. Ectobiology, for example, requires the designated hero to go back in time and create paradox clones of their guardians. Frog breeding is an entirely different kind reserved for the Knight player and the Space hero, which also requires at least some knowledge about the Genesis Frog.
  • A Miracle of Science, being a world where being a Mad Scientist is a diagnosable mental illness, gives a few of these, including the population of an entire planet.
  • MK's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde: Dr. Jekyll plays a prominent role in this adaptation by using his genius and understanding of science to deduce things, research and create things that could help.
  • A Science Hero makes a brief appearance in one strip of Narbonic. The Science Villain title character finds such good Mad Scientists decidedly creepy.
  • Sluggy Freelance often has Riff take this role, though he's also responsible for a lot of the disasters he's helped to solve.

    Web Original 
  • Percival de Rolo from Critical Role, the second son and third child of a noble family who spent much of his childhood and adolescence studying engineering, history, and the natural sciences. Following the massacre of his house by usurpers, he spent a year or two on the run before unknowingly making a deal with a demon, who gave him the inspiration to craft firearms—not just his first, but the first ever made, a creation that Percy deeply regrets. He becomes Vox Machina's resident engineer, creating several innovations throughout the campaign; he crafts trick arrows for Vex, he creates a trap that temporarily restrains an ancient dragon, and he builds a network of steampipes beneath the streets of his hometown to heat the roads so they won't need to be cleared of snow or ice in the cold northern climate. His dream, as he returns to help lead his city, is to make it "a shining beacon on the hill of what mankind's future could be".
  • Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog features a science Anti-Villain, who invents a Freeze Ray to rob banks for social justice and has a PhD in Horribleness. Until the end when he drops the 'anti', anyway.
  • Guilded Age: The majority of people use medieval arms and armor, but gnomes employ guns and a lot of Clock Punk-inspired devices that far outstrip the rest of the setting's technology, including autonomous fighters good for war or training, and massive house-sized tanks. Then you have massive dirigibles providing bomber support, Rendar's flying machine and white phosphorous grenades, goblin Hammertanks, and Goblaurence's rocket launcher that he put together out of battlefield scrap. Though, a fair bit of it seems to be Magitek.
  • Similarly, Phoenix from "Heroes and Scientists" is the scientist of the story, not the hero.
  • The Salvation War has this when a captured demon realizes another reason why Humanity is beating Satan's forces so completely: their scientists approach the unknown as something that can be explored, and are flexible through the doctrine of falsifiability to change their thinking to solve problems and mysteries far faster and better than Hell's Demons can.
  • Everyone in Symphony of Science, as the name suggests.
  • As his semi-official title suggests, Carlos the Scientist from Welcome to Night Vale. Rather commendable, considering that scientific laws don't quite seem to hold in Night Vale.
    • But he isn't a hero. He's a scientist.
  • In Worm, the Tinker-class heroes are all essentially this to lesser and greater extents. Each one has a specialty, a specific area in which they can create things better than anything normal people can. This specialty can vary widely, from ecosystems, to miniaturization, to modular systems, to copying the work of other Tinkers.

    Western Animation 
  • In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Batman is a science hero, moreso than in some other incarnations, as was his friend Ted Kord (second Blue Beetle) when he's shown in flashbacks.
  • Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers: Gadget Hackwrench fulfills this trope with ease. Plus, she is both a Gadgeteer Genius and a Wrench Wench.
  • Dexter (and later Jimmy Neutron) embodied this trope for kids shows. (Even though they cause nearly as many problems they solve.)
  • Peter Dickinson in The Flight of Dragons has one foot in magic and one foot in science. He ultimately defeats the evil mage by explaining how his magic is scientifically impossible, and in doing so banishes himself from the world of magic forever.
  • Freakazoid! brilliantly spoofed this trope with "Toby Danger", a parody of Jonny Quest.
  • For that matter, Dr Benton Quest.
  • Kim Possible: In contrast to Kim's Action Hero, the rest of the Possible family is almost entirely comprised of scientific geniuses, whether present or in the making. Doctors James and Anne Possible are both highly knowledgeable in their fields (rocket science and neurosurgery, respectively), which they have occasionally used to help their daughter. Jim and Tim have constructed various impressive gadgets over the years, notably a portable silicon phase disrupter, something that both its original creator and Dr. Drakken thought to be impossible. Slim created a series of cybertronic robot horses that are able to mimic the form and function of a real horse (along with handy magnahooves) and developed an advanced satellite surveillance system capable of monitoring his entire ranch and the surrounding area. Joss, while idolizing her cousin and wishing to be like her is clearly more this trope, which can be seen with her self-made grappling hook and impressive knowledge of her father's equipment. Nana, Kim's grandmother, is the only one who is able to match and even surpass her granddaughter's fighting abilities.
  • Kowalski from The Penguins of Madagascar is more of anti-hero than a pure hero and a Mad Scientist, but he is still heroic and uses his scientific prowess to aid his squad.
  • Phineas and Ferb: The titular characters use their vast imaginations and technological prowess to save the day and they occasionally have to combat with them (usually in specials though).
  • Sid the Science Kid stars a boy who drives the plot with a science question posed before breakfast.
  • In Sonic Boom most episodes that feature Tails as a major character tend to have him wielding some new invention he's built either to combat Eggman or improve the lives of his fellow villagers. Of course, in the grand tradition of the Science Kid Hero, this last part sometimes causes more problems than it solves.
  • Gear/Richie Foley from Static Shock is this. Initiallly, he created gadgets for Virgil that complimented his powers (The Static Saucer, Zapp Caps, and Shock Vox for example), but later they discovered that Richie had inhaled trace amounts of the mutagen gas from "The Big Bang" present on Virgil's clothes after the event, boosting his already impressive intellect. At that point, Richie developed his own technology for both himself and Virgil, and created the "Gear" identity to fight crime as partner to Static, becoming a more active part of his best friend's superhero lifestyle through the use of science.
  • The Venture family of The Venture Bros. is a century-spanning line of "super-scientists" dedicated to improving the world with their brilliance. They are also a Deconstructive Parody: every son of the Venture family is a Deconstructed Character Archetype with a different interpretation of the trope.
    • Thaddeus S. “Rusty” Venture is current patriarch, a deeply-flawed Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist who seems to be floundering in his father's shadow. He is cynical and disillusioned with the idea of "super-science," and a glimpse of his history shows why: after a Hilariously Abusive Childhood at the hands of his father, he wants nothing to do with the family legacy. However, he also proves himself Brilliant, but Lazy: on the (rare) occasions he gets his act together, he is a genius Omnidisciplinary Scientist capable of incredible feats. He approaches Science Heroism with pessimism and disdain, but is too good at it to stop completely.
    • Jonas Venture Sr. seems the ideal fulfillment of this trope — at a distance. A closer look reveals he was not merely an Abusive Dad to Rusty, but callous and exploitative toward nearly everyone in his life. His concealed legacy makes him seem an amoral Designated Hero at best, or a Mad Scientist Villain with Good Publicity at worst. Deliberate Values Dissonance suggests that the same deeds and qualities that make him repugnant to us make him perfect in the mid-20th century.
    • Jonas "JJ" Venture Jr. is Rusty's Long Lost Sibling who quickly surpasses his washed-up brother. He lacks Rusty's Daddy Issues with their father and aims to live up to the ideal super-scientist image the old man set. He does even better: JJ is successful and beloved, a bit of a Smug Super like his dad, but he does not share Jonas Sr.'s worst flaws. Rusty resents his "little" brother, but also respects and even admires him. After JJ makes a Heroic Sacrifice in the premiere of Season 6, his brother inherits the Ven-Tech company. This inspires Rusty to embrace his heritage in a sort of Decon-Recon Switch.
      Thaddeus S. Venture: Ven-Tech? This building was my father's, it's built on my great-grandfather's building. That's the legacy! A legacy of superscience! A legacy of looking at tomorrow like it hasn't come yet and when it's here, it'll be amazing!
    • Professor Richard Impossible, a Corrupted Character Copy of Reed Richards, subverts and skewers this trope. He initially seems far more heroic and brilliant than Rusty but is quickly exposed as a pompous and exploitative Jerkass.
      Sally: What could possibly be more important than your family, Richard?!
      Richard: ... sssssssssssscience?
    • Colonel Lloyd Venture, the first of the Venture line, describes himself as "a man of hope" even in dire danger near the beginning of the 20th century.
    • Dean Venture, of the youngest generation, has always had a knack for science. His father Thaddeus has groomed and encouraged him to become a super-scientist and continue the family tradition. By the time Dean attends college in Season 7, he still loves science, but has grown disgusted with the "heroes and villains" rigamarole that seems to inevitably come with "super-science." He believes science can improve the world, but wants to break from his family legacy, and explains this to his teacher. Professor Von Helping wholeheartedly agrees — he used to be Victor Von Hellfire; his father wanted him to be a Science Villain and he refused. He allows Dean to reject "super-science" but convinces him to give "regular" science a try.
      Von Helping: But you know what saved me? The power of science. Not the kind of power he was after — I'm talking about the power to make the world a better place, the power to help mankind. That's the kind of power you need if you want to escape gravity!
      Dean: ... What's the least-super-sciencey class you have?
      Von Helping: [smiles] All science is super, young Dean!
      Dean: [uncomfortable groan]
      Von Helping: Err- botany. Let's try you on botany.
  • Wallace for Wallace & Gromit. Though Gromit has quite a keen mind he does not get the impression that science is the answer to everything the way Wallace does.

    Real Life 
  • Most astronauts possess a scientific degree. NASA, for instance, holds that a master's degree in the relevant field (generally hard sciences) is required for a mission specialist, with a doctorate being preferable, and even the pilot of a spacecraft has to have a bachelor's degree in one of the natural sciences, mathematics, or engineering. Other space agencies have similar requirements. So astronauts ARE a subset of scientists, and thus it's not unusual that they're being both. Of course, since it's a given that they have to be in prime physical condition as well, any Real Life astronaut has the potential to be both a Badass and a Science Hero. (Think Genius Bruiser and/or Badass Bookworm.)
  • Every scientist and rational thinker whose inventions and theories have led to the decrease of famine and disease, the rise of technology and civilization, the expansion of the breadth of humanity's knowledge, and in general the increase in the quality of life for the average human across the board is a Science Hero. Rousseau Was Right, indeed.
    • In fact, there's a direct correlation between the penetration of the sciences into a given society, and the quality of life that society enjoys.
    • The greatest Science Hero is almost certainly Norman Borlaug. He started the Green Revolution and his selectively bred crops, which he personally spent his life propagating have saved many, many people from starvation. Just to be clear, the number of lives Norman Borlaug is credited with saving is in the BILLIONS.
    • For better context, think of all the lives that all the heroes in all of history have saved. Chances are, Borlaug has saved more than all those numbers COMBINED.
    • Taken collectively, the centuries-long war on infectious disease fought through both medicine and sanitation by a host of brilliant and compassionate minds has prevented more human suffering and death, especially among children, than any human endeavor ever. Most tropers would have to ask their parents, at least, for first-hand accounts of times when tens of thousands of children every year were crippled by polio. Smallpox killed more people in the last century than war, but it's now extinct in the wild.
    • Dr. Jonas Salk — developer of Polio vaccine, and lauded as a Science Hero after the discovery, along with his sponsoring institutions did not seek a patent for their discovery. This was both a moral decision and a legal one, as by the standards of his time the discovery may not have been eligible for a patent anyway, though Salk certainly did tell Murrow during a television interview, "There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?"
    • Dr. Dennis Slamon — developer of Herceptin, a non-toxic drug (based on antibodies) against breast cancer.
    • Ignaz Simmelweiss — Later named "The Savior of Mothers", for his work in averting Death by Childbirth.
    • Joseph Lister, 1st Baron Lister — Similar to Simmelweiss, fought against unsanitary conditions in surgery, and developed the antiseptic principle of sterilizing instruments and washing doctors and patients with antibacterial chemicals. And yes, Listerine is named after him.
  • Played with in the case of Fritz Haber. He invented a process for producing fertilizer that feeds billions today.
  • The Bletchley Park crew that solved the Enigma code in World War II.
    • And before that, the Polish scientists M. Rejewski, H. Zygalski and J. Rozycki. They started the decrypting process in 1930 and passed their results to British and French intelligence agents in 1939. Without access to this team's discoveries, Turing and his buddies would have had to start from scratch.
  • Ralph Bagnold, who used information gained by the study of the North African desert to become a commando during World War II.
  • Carl Sagan. Aside from being a huge proponent of scientific literacy, Carl and his colleagues in planetary science may well have saved the actual world by developing the theory of nuclear winter, demonstrating that nuclear war on even a "small" scale is incredibly harmful ecologically, and thus making the biggest stick-shaking superpowers more reluctant to use them.
  • Today we look upon them with a little more ambivalence, but the scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project were certainly seen as Science Heroes during World War II.
  • Jacques Cousteau, as both the world-famous oceanographer he was in later life and as the badass intelligence operative he was during World War II.
  • Reginald Victor Jones: The chief scientist of Britain's scientific intelligence branch in World War II who led the successful efforts to thwart Nazi Germany's newest inventions like radio navigation and then invent for his own country weapons to help strike back like radar jamming chaff.
  • Louis Pasteur: Thanks to pasteurization, food stays edible. After successfully devising a cure for the rabies virus, he started getting mail addressed to "The man who defeated Death".
  • George Washington Carver: A polymath scientist famous for making peanuts popular in crop rotation in the days when cotton was king. (Keep in mind that cotton takes a lot of nutrients out of the soil, making crop rotation all the more important.) Called a "Black Leonardo" in his day, he also was deeply involved in the civil rights movements of his time, and managed to get even racist congressmen to applaud for him when he testified before Congress!
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci has served in various American health organizations since 1968, as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since 1984, and for 20 years was one of the most cited scientists in the world. And he wasn't some desk jockey either. He has been on the frontlines, personally interacting with patients and researching every major international killer disease you can think of: AIDS, SARS, the 2009 swine flu pandemic, MERS, Ebola, and COVID-19 just to name a few.
    • He was one of the first people to treat people with HIV in the 80s, back when it was considered an unstoppable act of god against gay people and political suicide to even discuss, much less personally treat. The reason why AIDS can be treated today and is no longer an instant death sentence is because of his research, which he's still continuing into the 2020s.
    • When Ebola was getting a foothold in the U.S. and there were fears even amongst his fellow doctors about its infectivity, Fauci, who we remind you was director of NIAID, treated the patients himself, not just so that he could get better insight on how the virus worked by physically interacting with the patients, but also to shield his younger colleagues while setting an example on treating the disease.
  • After the 2016 US federal election, groups of researchers and volunteers worked to download and save countless pages of environmental data from the EPA website, believing it was at risk of being deleted by the administration at the time. This process was called The Guerrilla Archiving Event, and all of its participants are certainly real world science heroes for saving such great sums of vital data.
  • Meteorologists, especially those who study tornadoes and hurricanes. Their early warnings of dangerous weather have saved countless lives.
  • In a similar vein as above, Volcanologist risk their lives to gather data about dangerous volcanoes and provide early warning for potential eruptions.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Science Heroine


Steampunk heroic scientist

Very buff for some reason and can build amazing inventions that completely break the laws of physics.

How well does it match the trope?

4.67 (6 votes)

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Main / ScienceHero

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