Media images of scientists as male nerds and of women marginalised in the profession are keeping it male dominated. Even brainy Dana Scully of the American television series "X Files" spends most of the feature film "Fight the Future" languishing from an alien virus while male co-hero Mulder struggles to save her.
American researchers point to the enduring impact of stereotypes of scientists in popular films, cartoons and television shows.
The researchers argue that if media images exert such a powerful influence on students' beliefs about science and scientists, then critical ways of exploring, countering and reconstructing images should be included as part of science instruction.
'Now THAT's Science!!! Media images, school science and the construction of science in the lives of adolescent girls' by C Carter, M Keyes and P Kusimo of Appalachia Educational Laboratory, Inc. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org