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Sunday, April 18 • 23:00 - 23:50
The Unhelpful Legacy of Mad Scientists: Writing Scientists as Positive Role Models

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The mad scientist archetype has a long history in science fiction and comic book media that we feel has had a damaging impact on public trust in scientists, as seen in rising climate denialism and anti-vaxxerism. In this panel, we will deconstruct the archetype down to its most damaging tropes, talk about the historical and philosophical context in which the mad scientist archetype fits into, and look at the gender bias in fictional depictions of scientists. We will also talk about craft suggestions and techniques to portray scientists in a more realistic and positive way.

avatar for Sid Jain

Sid Jain

Biotech engineer and science fiction/ fantasy author specializing in postcapitalism, post-colonialism, and post-cyberpunk. Interested in themes of utopia, climate change, science-military-industry-acedemia nexus, history of technology and politics. Published in Podcastle and Uncanny... Read More →


Octavia Cade

I am a New Zealand writer with a Masters in biology and a PhD in science communication. I have a particular interest in how science is presented in science fiction and horror, and have had a number of academic papers published on the subject, as well as several conference presentations... Read More →
avatar for Arula Ratnakar

Arula Ratnakar

Arula Ratnakar is a scientist, artist and science fiction writer who is currently studying biology, neuroscience and architecture at Carnegie Mellon University (Class of 2021). Her writing can be found in Clarkesworld Magazine and her artwork can be found in the first issue of Dark... Read More →
avatar for Benjamin C. Kinney

Benjamin C. Kinney

Attendee, Escape Pod
Benjamin C. Kinney is a neuroscientist, SFF writer, and assistant editor (submissions editor) of the science fiction magazine Escape Pod. His short stories have appeared in many excellent magazines including Strange Horizons, Analog, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. You can read more... Read More →

Sunday April 18, 2021 23:00 - 23:50 UTC
  Writing, Panel |   Prose, Panel