Characters You Didn’t Know Were SCIENTISTS!

Sure, everyone knows Reed Richards and Braniac-5 are master scientists, but there are lots of characters in the wild word of comics that bring the science-sauce to their lives. I can say from experience that it’s hard to juggle superheroics with a career in science, so the reason you may not know about some characters is because their life in the lab has passed them by. However, due credit must be paid the unsung heroes of comic science!

Wonder Woman (as reminded by WonderAli)

Branch of Science: Athenian

I have to give Ali credit for even inspiring this post in the first place and thus it wouldn’t be fair of me to not also mention Ali’s fictional counterpart Wonder Woman. She was even created by a scientist… sort of. Marston invented the polygraph, commonly known as the lie detector test, and even though it's validity has been completely discredited it still takes a dose of science to get the thing cobbled together in the first place, right? Lasso of Truth makes more sense now, don't it? According to her bio she was trained as a scientist by none other than Athena herself! (I always thought Mercury was more of science god, but I guess he’s not allowed on the island.) We know the Themyscerans have some impressive tech, what with their invisible jets and horrific female cloning program (horrific in that it removes my gender’s chromosome contribution from the game). But Diana herself is no slouch because she invented the purple ray! That’s right people, rays of purple. If you think it sounds dumb think about how X-rays got named. X = unknown; ray = ray. Sometimes it’s best to keep it simple.






Branch of Science: SCIENCE

No more information is given about Tomar-Re’s academic pursuits. Maybe in Tomar’s world of Xudar they’re actually behind the times and Tomar is kind of a renaissance man, master of all branches. I can empathize, modern science requires such a high degree of specialization that some days it’s easier just to say “scientist” instead of you sub-sub-sub-discipline. Keep living the dream for the rest of Tomar.



Dr. Strange

Branch of Science: Medicine

The man really does hold an M.D. and he’s also our only Marvel character on the list. I’m guessing the Marvel Universe ramping up in the 60’s instead of the 40’s meant that there were more stories to be told by having characters as outward men and women of science. But medicine is science too! Sure, Strange was a scalpel-jock, but we won’t hold that against him. I’m not sure if there are any med students reading this, but you can’t survive undergrad, med school, residency and beyond without having one hell of a brain for science. If you doubt Strange’s skillz I heartily recommend The Oath by lamented lost talent BKV and current powerhouse artist Marcos Martin (see above image). Spoiler: the titular oath may have nothing to do with magic at all!


Rex Tyler (aka Hourman)

Branch of Science: Biochemistry

I have a feeling this one is less of a surprise and more of a reminder. We all know that it was Rex Tyler himself that created Miraclo, the drug that gives its user 1 hour of super strength, speed and durability. He even runs his own chemical company! I like to imagine a world where my inbox is regularly flooded with spam trying to get me to by Miraclo over other miracle cures to problems I don’t have.



Branch of Science: Genetics

I’ve never read any stories that focus on Kilowog’s genetic work. I instead like to imagine that there’s some University of Bolovax Vik waiting for him to come back to school. Poozer U, if you will. Grad student’s e-mails going unanswered, letters of recommendation never being submitted. It’s publish or perish, Kilowog, get your head in the game or you won’t make tenure!

So that’s my list. As with any list I expect to hear from the iFanbase who I forgot to include (i.e. fodder for Round II). I was kind of inspired making this because it can be hard to feel like you can balance your work (science) with your hobby (heroics) and it’s nice to have some fun, if not completely absurd, examples.


Ryan Haupt could have included Hawkman, but we all know archaeology isn’t really science. Hear him talk to other science heroes every week on the podcast Science… sort of.


  1. Hey, I knew some of those were scientists! Fun piece, though.

    Dream Girl might be a fun addition, she may look like a platinum blonde airhead but in her first appearance she changed Lightning Lass’s electricity powers to weight control, via science. Since then she’s been listed as one of the Legion of Super-heroes’ top brains.

  2. “What about Batman?”

    “Batman’s a scientist”


  3. These lists get better and better.

  4. @HomeTeam790  Hell Batman is everything. Also Superman has a lot of knowledge due to his understanding of Kryptopian Science.

    I think that most superheroes don’t like being labeled a scientist because several super villians are scientist or even mad scientist.

  5. Power Girl apparently is a computer scientist because Superman downloaded all computer knowledge into her head.

  6. Surprisingly I didn’t know about Kilowog.

  7. I didn’t know about Kilowog either.  Very interesting.

  8. Didn’t Kilowog also create the Rocket Red suits? He’s a regular Tony Stark as well.

  9. Kilowog not only created the Rocket Red suit, he also built a time machine, and was the JLI’s resident tech guy/mechanic for years.

    People don’t really realize that, when the character was introduced, he bore little resemblence to the character as he currently exists (even physically, believe it or not!). He was a melancholy, sensitive character whose simple-minded exterior belayed a high level of scientific acumen. He had nothing to do with this rough and tumble drill instructor/warrior.

    Arkkis Chummuck was originally ‘that character’, but they killed him off, and used Kil to fill the role.

  10. Besides Hourman, I had no clue about the others.  Good, enlightening list.

  11. @Desaad  Yeah, I knew he was a tech whiz but I couldn’t resist the University scenario with him as an awful professor.

  12. Kilowog was a Commie for a while, too.

  13. why is BKV lamented? D:

  14. @pppiquer  He’s not. “…lamented lost talent BKV…” You skipped over two words.

  15. No only did I not know Kilowog was such a scientific guy, but Bolivax Vik was destroyed like twice already. No Uni for him to go back to. 🙁 Didn’t know about Tomar either – man, some GL authority I am.

    Knew about Diana and the purple ray (although that is SILLY), and about Rex Tyler. I think I did know Dr. Strange was a medical doctor also. Probably a number of medical doctor characters that aren’t obvious.

  16. It’s often forgotten, I think, that Wonder Man was a scientist originally, long before his acting days. It was fun when he showed up on the Avengers cartoon as a scientist.

  17. @flakbait: Yeah, I really dug that they brought back that aspect of the character.

    Another character who was originally a scientist, although it’s mostly forgotten now: Thunderball, from the Wrecking Crew, was a brilliant gamma radiation physicist, named Dr. Eliot Franklin, once known as the “black Bruce Banner”.