Spanning three centuries and two terrible movies
On Saturday, April 22, Columbus will participate in the worldwide March for Science in defense of publicly funded scientific research and evidence-based government policies. (Read more in our community feature on page 10.) If you can’t join the march, at least you can salute the following scientific visionaries, ranked for your enjoyment.
13. Gary Wallace and Wyatt Donnelly
This nerdy teenage duo brings a virtual dream woman to life in the movie “Weird Science.” I remember watching this as a kid, but I can’t recall further details. After reading about the plot, which includes a “giant, talking turd,” I will not be watching this as an adult. [Editor’s note: Your loss]
12. Professor Philip Brainard
Because of his amazing performances in “Jumanji,” “Mrs. Doubtfire,” and “Aladdin,” Robin Williams was a major part of my childhood. But even his charismatic professor Philip Brainard in “Flubber” could not save the movie from bad reviews.
11. Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan
When “Bones” premiered in 2005, you could say the main character became “the new Scully” on TV. But I’ve never seen an episode, so I am likely short-changing her here. (BTW, there are some Scully vs. Bones comparison pieces online, if you’re so inclined.)
10. Dr. Alexx Woods
So women of color aren’t widely represented as scientists on TV or film. A Google search will take you directly to “Hidden Figures,” which doesn’t apply here. But I remember Dr. Alexx Woods from “CSI: Miami,” who maintained a fairly prominent role on the show for six seasons. And actress Khandi Alexander, recently nominated for an Emmy for her work on “Scandal,” has been turning out impressive performances for years.
9. Dr. Frank N. Furter
Like him or not, you can’t take your eyes off Tim Curry’s magnetic "sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania."
8. Dr. Henry Jekyll
A character in a novella that has reportedly inspired well over 100 film adaptations is obviously worth noting.
7. Steve Urkel
Every second-grade girl in my school was in love with Urkel’s creation, Stefan Urquelle.
6. Randall Frazier
Through his autopsy work, Frazier helps Jimmy McNulty crack the case of the dead sex-trade workers in season two of one of the greatest shows of all time. (I shouldn’t have to tell you the name.)
5. Dana Scully
One of the most badass women on television, she allegedly inspired “the Scully Effect,” an increased number of women entering science, medicine and law enforcement.
4. Doc Brown
Apparently there was a major 1980s/1990s franchise called “Back to the Future,” featuring a wild-haired inventor who created some sort of time-traveling car, but I’ve never seen it, so proceed with your judging.
3. Sherman Klump
Because the best science professors are lovable hopeless romantics who sing Teddy Pendergrass songs to microwaveable TV dinners.
2. Victor Frankenstein
He created one of the most notorious monsters of all time, and people are still mistakenly calling the creature by the creator’s name.
He is the one who knocks.