This is more like a collection of notes than a proper posting, I have more than 20 half written posts queued.
Cartoons and movies: mad scientists, Dexter, lab coats. X-Files and CSI. Medics and forensic scientists are often portrayed in positive light because their purpose can be easily understood to be good.
News/ current affairs: not bad at least on British TV. Reporting on current developments as they influence life directly, medical progress, biology and physics dominate. When interviewed on TV scientists usually claim false authority by claiming to hold the consensus view of the scientific community. News readers most commonly heard to say “Scientists say”, this annoys me greatly because I’m not a climate scientist or bioengineer, etc, they shouldn’t talk for everyone else.
Historical: Newton, Darwin, Einstein?
Einstein is probably the most commonly portrayed scientific icon and image of genius. Andy Warhol, computer games, TV, movies.
We know more about the work they produced than Newton, Darwin or Einstein as people, despite the fact that they are scientific giants. We know more about Einstein maybe because he was more recent.
Metallurgists: Villian in bond movies, Dr. No and Goldfinger. Metallurgists are always the bad guys, be careful.