Anyone who has ever had a disastrous day in the lab, set fire to the bench, accidentally sniffed too hard over a fuming conical flask, you are now in good company.
Anyone who has ever had a disastrous day in the lab, set fire to the bench, accidentally sniffed too hard over a fuming conical flask, you are now in good company. The UK populace has spoken and voted the Muppet Dr Honeydew and his seemingly indestructible sidekick, Beaker, as their favourite screen scientists.
Fighting off competition from such heavyweights as Mr Spock (Star Trek) and Dana Scully (the X-Files), the hapless chemists romped in with an impressive 33 per cent of the vote, carried out by the BBC and the British Association for the Advancement of Science (BA). ’They’re the kind of scientist you’d like to be but never quite dared to’, said Alan Slater, reader in developmental psychology at the University of Exeter, attending this year’s BA Festival of Science, where the announcement was made. Undoubtedly many Chemistry World readers will have dared time and again to be just that kind of scientist. However, what does such a survey do for the noble chemist’s reputation?
Tony Ryan, professor of physical chemistry, University of Sheffield, and one-time Royal Institution Christmas lecturer (see Chem. Brit., May 2003, p35) was, like many, slightly non-plussed by the publicity. ’I guess asking people for their cult favourite will always get a trivial response,’ he told Chemistry World. ’They just continue with the caricature of the mad scientist. It might as well have been the "nutty professor".’
Katharine Sanderson/Exeter, UK