My Five Favourite Fictional Female Scientists

February 11, 2020

Today is International Day of Women and Girls in Science and so I wanted to share with you some of my favourite fictional female scientists. These are in no particular order other than the order they came to me in but all worth celebrating – even if they’re not real.

Temperance ‘Bones’ Brennan – Bones

Bones is a sort of crime drama series that follows forensic anthropologist, Dr Temperance Brennan, as she assists a cocky FBI agent, Seeley Booth, in solving crimes, normally murders, where a normal coroner would struggle to get the evidence (basically because the body is normally too fucked up). Almost every episode starts with a gross discovery so don’t watch it when you’re about to eat. Oh, and Tempy isn’t the only strong female role in this one. Angela Montenegro, Camile Soroyan and Daisy Wick are all brilliant too.

FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth and Dr Temperance Brennan

Dana Scully – The X-Files

If you don’t know who Dana Scully is then… Well, I don’t know but it ain’t good!
Scully is a forensic pathologist that gets dumped with the weird guy at the FBI that chases aliens and plays with unsolved cases.
The character is believed to have initiated a phenomenon referred to as “The Scully Effect”; as the character inspired many young women to pursue careers in science, medicine and law enforcement, and as a result brought a perceptible increase in the number of women in those fields.” – Wikipedia

Dr Dana Scully – X Files. Played by Gillian Anderson

All of the female Ghostbusters – Ghostbusters

I couldn’t choose one. I tried. Just couldn’t. Erin Gilbert is the ditzy as fuck one, Abby Yates is the sarcastic one and Jillian Holtzman is the scarily dangerous one. All three brilliantly clever and completely different. It’s not often you get an all-female team, especially not in STEM roles and even less so when the ‘pretty, eye candy’ character is male.

Ghostbusters 2016 cast (image from iMDb)

Dr Jo Harding – Twister

So, Jo is a tornado hunter. She became fascinated by tornados as a kid when she witnessed her dad being sucked out of their cellar by an F5 tornado. Years later, she worked on a tornado warning system called Dorothy (as in The Wizard Of Oz) in an attempt to stop what happened to her dad happening to other families. She’s a proper strong female lead. None of that cutesy girly crap here, thank you!

Dr Jo Harding – Twister. Played by Helen Hunt (image from iMDb)

Dr. Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz – The Big Bang Theory

I debated which of the girls to add here. I first thought about Leslie Winkle because she didn’t take any shit and always told it as it was – but she was written out by season two and barely had any lines. I opted for Bernadette over Amy mainly because Amy is exactly what female scientists are often portrayed as. She’s frumpy and struggles to make friends/relationships because she’s ‘too smart’.
Bernadette, on the other hand, is small, squeaky, blonde and booby – Not your stereotypical scientist, at all and her line,

So who would you add? I’m sure there are loads that I’ve missed – but there is always next year.
According to UNESCO data (2014 – 2016), only around 30 per cent of all female students select STEM-related fields in higher education – so if the Scully effect is real, maybe some of these other characters could inspire some future scientists too!
Happy International Day of Women and Girls in Science!!

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