Stereotyped images of scientists in popular culture can have a profound effect on the way the public perceives science. Such images, familiar to virtually all moviegoers, range from the arrogant, amoral researcher who wants to rule the world to the benign genius who is out of touch with reality.

The implications can be far-reaching. Young people, who are heavily swayed by what they see on TV and in the movies, for example, may choose not to pursue careers in science because of these recurring portrayals of scientists as either nerds or mad geniuses who work all the time.

Moreover, the public at large may be reluctant to support increased budgetary allocations for scientific research grants or education, because they don't really understand what scientists do and are not altogether sure that today's scientific research will benefit humankind.

Researchers who are working to improve scientists' image offer these suggestions to those...

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