The Depiction of Female Scientists in Fiction

 Samantha Carter of the Stargate universe – PhD in Theorectial Astrophysics

Doctor Ryan Stone of Gravity – medical engineer and mission specialist

Doctor Elizabeth Shaw of Prometheus – archaeologist, paleontologist, and expert in mythology


Dana Scully  of The X Files– Bachelor of Science in physics and a medical degree

Claudia Donovan of Warehouse 13 –  computer programmer par excellence and inventor

Doctor Jemma Simmons of Marvel’s Agents of Shield – genius biochemist with two PhDs by the age of seventeen. She has inventor chops as well.

Abby Sciuto of NCIS – an honours degree with a triple major in sociology, criminology and psychology, and a Master’s degree in criminology and forensic science.

Bernadette and Amy from The Big Bang Theory – Dr Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz with a PhD in Microbiology; Dr Amy Fowler with a PhD in Neurobiology.

With Scarf

Petronella Osgood from Doctor Who – invents technology and evaluates alien technology for UNIT.  She must be very good at what she does to be an advisor for UNIT. I’m making a stab at a couple of PhDs in Electrical Engineering and Physics, maybe Chemical Engineering as well.

Liz Shaw from Doctor Who – scientific genius, with degrees in medicine, physics and a dozen other subjects. 

Colonel Virginia Lake from UFO – computer specialist




Filed under Characterization, Pop Culture, Steampunk Feminist, Uncategorized, Women in Science

8 responses to “The Depiction of Female Scientists in Fiction

  1. Sorry, my dear. I came with great hopes but was soon disappointed. All I got was a string of photos and character-names. No insights. No analysis. No digging into the tropes and weaknesses still evident in sci-fi today.
    Please do!
    At most I see that (with the exception of Big Bang Theory (which I really must watch, sometime)), female scientists are well dressed, very pretty, un-flustered and perfectly sane.
    Oh; and white. – Ah: There *is* a revealing point!

  2. There’s also robopsychologist Dr. Susan Calvin from I, Robot; and (presumably astrophysicist) Dr. Eleanor “Ellie” Arroway from Contact. In the near term, I understand the importance (necessity, really) of giving young girls good role models — competent, good-looking women succeeding in previously male-dominated fields. At some point, fiction will have to get past that and give us the full spectrum of scientist characters, including female evil mad scientists.

    • Define ‘mad’…

      Joking aside, you are completely correct. We need a full spectrum of female scientists’ characterisations. I look to a time when I don’t have to hunt up these role models. I tend to think they are all good looking simply because movies and television tend to avoid showing ugly people.

      Tomorrow, I will be including Julia and Grace from ‘Murdoch Mysteries; and Molly Hooper from ‘Sherlock’. I will add Susan (from the Isaac Asimov books as well as the movie) and Ellie to the last.

    • Steven, although it is not quite published, I have added to literature’s pantheon of (to quote:) “female evil mad scientists” in Book IV of my series ‘Across the Stonewind Sky’.
      I hope (without giving away too much by mentioning her name) Madame Cure-Ray will fulfill your requirements.

      Lynne, I’ll one day ask you to beta-read it in case I’ve missed a few details or possibilities. (There are additionally about six other women scientists in Madam’s private universe.)

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