The perceptions of scientists as being mad, bad or dangerous to know persists, in spite of the efforts by the Committee on the Public Understanding of Science (Copus), the Association for Science Education (ASE)and other professional bodies. Mind you, the careers and educational guidance system Fast Tomato (www.fastomato.com) could put an end to that.
Obituaries are a valuable resource. Those in the broadsheet papers are especially good as they condense the individual's scientific contributions into clear, non-technical language and also comment on that person's interests and family life. Scientific biographies tend to concentrate on discoveries rather than lives.
Excellent sources on the contributions of women to science are Women in Science by MB Ogilvie (ISBN 0-262-15031-x) and Margaret Alic's Hypatia's Heritage (ISBN 0-7043-3954-4). Race, Equality and Science Teaching: A Teacher's Handbook by John Siraj-Blatchford, pound;7.50 from ASE (tel: 01707 267411), provides ideas for looking at science through the eyes of other cultures.