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Tropes on Science and Unscience

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"The cosmos is full beyond measure of elegant truths; of exquisite interrelationships; of the awesome machinery of nature."

Tropes on how science gets portrayed, represented or misrepresented in fiction.

In this context, "unscience" includes pseudoscience, misrepresentations of actual science and science that's not real or not really scientific. It does not include things that are not meant as science, such as regular magic. Nor does it include tropes about things that are unscientific, unless their being unscientific is part of the point or premise. Note that the tropes are not sorted by this divider. The overlap is too big, and often varies from setting to setting within the same trope.

See also: Futuristic Tech Index, Indexed and Nerdy, Make My Index Live!, Math Tropes, Philosophy Tropes, Psychology Tropes, and Robot Roll Call.


Character Tropes

Also see:


  • Absent-Minded Professor: A flighty, forgetful but competent scientist.
  • Clandestine Chemist: A student of chemical sciences who uses his knowledge for shady purposes.
  • Emperor Scientist: A scientist becomes The Emperor.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: An evil scientist who believes humans need to evolve more and it's up to them to make it happen.
  • Horny Scientist: A scientist has a crush on the lead female character.
  • Hot Scientist: A scientist who's seen by the other characters as hot.
  • Kidnapped Scientist: The bad guys kidnap and enslave a scientist.
  • Mad Scientist: A screwy, evil scientist.
  • Maker of Monsters: A scientist or other researcher who uses their knowledge to make monsters.
  • Misfit Lab Rat: Alternative subculture-types or nonconformists who have jobs in science or technology.
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  • Motherly Scientist: A scientist who feels sympathy for the test subject/s.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: A scientist who's an expert on all the sciences.
  • The Professor: A heroic genius who is part of an ensemble.
  • Professor Guinea Pig: A scientist doing experiments on themselves.
  • Reluctant Mad Scientist: A scientist who works for the villain but doesn't want to or something they invented gets used for evil but they didn't want that.
  • Rich Genius: Someone who gets rich off of their inventions and/or experiments.
  • Science Foils: Two scientists who act as foils to each other.
  • Science Hero: Somebody who uses science to save the day.
  • Science Hero's Babe Assistant: A scientist's comely assistant, who doesn't do much science.
  • Sole Surviving Scientist: Most people have died/turned into zombies/whatever, but one scientist is unaffected and trying to solve the problem.
  • Science Wizard: This is a scientist who is also trained in the mystic arts.
  • Stupid Scientist: A character who's meant to be a genius but believes that if something is highly unlikely, that means it is definitely false. This character will be proven wrong.
  • The Worm Guy: A scientist in a specialized field of study is consulted on a subject foreign to them, but in which their knowledge is relevant.

Other Tropes

Alternative Title(s): Tropes Of Science And Unscience