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Exploding pens, police boxes and time-warping transvestites: the search for the UK’s favourite screen scientist
Image courtesy of the BBC
Embargoed until 12.00 Tuesday 20 July

Doctor Who is about to face his toughest challenge, battling an old man with an exploding pen, a despotic madman with a penchant for ill-tempered sea bass, and a sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania. Not a plotline from the new series of Doctor Who (planned for next year), but a search to find the UK’s favourite screen scientist.

The vote, to be launched on 20 July by and the BA (British Association for the Advancement of Science), is to tie in with the theme of this year’s BA Festival of Science, ‘the responsibility of being a scientist’. Voters will be able to take part online at /cult where they can choose from a top ten list of screen scientists including Mr Spock, Dana Scully, Q and Dr Strangelove.

“The return of Doctor Who next year shows his enduring popularity,” says James Goss, Content Producer, Cult on . “It will be interesting to see who comes top, though – in our straw poll, it certainly wasn’t the Doctor. In the world of science fiction, nothing is predictable.”

“It is interesting that not all of these characters are the archetypal ‘mad scientist’,” says Roland Jackson, Chief Executive of the BA. “Some, such as the Doctor and Dana Scully are clearly on the side of good. Some, however, are forced to face the consequences of their actions, whether it is having created a monster or having brought about the end of the world.”

The top 10 list to be voted on is:

Beaker and Dr. Honeydew (Muppets)
Dana Scully (X Files)
Dr Evil (Austin Powers)
Dr Frankenstein
Dr Strangelove
Dr Who
Emmett Brown (Back to the Future)
Frank-N-Furter (Rocky Horror Picture Show)
Mr Spock (Star Trek)
Q (James Bond)

The vote will run until 23 August, with the results being announced at the start of the BA Festival of Science (4-11 September) in Exeter.

Download a fact sheet about the screen scientists (PDF 114KB)

Note for editors

1. The BA (British Association for the Advancement of Science) is the UK's nationwide, open membership organisation dedicated to connecting science with people, so that science and its applications become accessible to all. The BA aims to promote openness about science in society and to engage and inspire people directly with science and technology and their implications. Established in 1831, the BA organises major initiatives across the UK, including the annual BA Festival of Science, National Science Week, programmes of regional and local events, and an extensive programme for young people in schools and colleges. For more information about the BA, please visit the-ba.net.

2. The BA Festival of Science is the UK’s longest-established science festival, attracting over 300 speakers and has been taking place since 1831. The BA Festival of Science takes place from 4-11 September at the University of Exeter. For further information, visit the-ba.net/festivalofscience.