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Free Character Writing Prompts #81: 
Scientists and Researchers

There's nothing like a mad scientist and these character writing prompts are out to prove it. At any given point of time, there are thousands of scientists and researchers throughout the world who are taking part in countless tasks to develop chemicals, create medical countermeasures and learn more about people. Billions of dollars go toward these researchers to fund the next advancements in science that can help us to live longer and safer lives. Many scientists portrayed in stories seem to take on the "mad scientist" archetype, when in actuality, most scientists work hard, have families and do what they can to forward human progress. In stories of disease, weaponry and sociology, try playing around with a scientist or two for credibility's sake. 

Free Character Writing Prompts #81: Scientists and Researchers

1. When he was a kid, most of his peers were running around the neighborhood or watching TV. Meanwhile, he had his nose firmly pressed against the pages of a book at the local library. There was something about information that he just couldn't get enough of. During high school, he took an internship researching for a historical fiction author and it was the most fun he'd ever had. Later on, he would take on larger and more professional roles than helping the latest bestseller, but no matter what project it was, he simply loved getting paid for accumulating more knowledge. What are some of his favorite subject matters to learn about and why?

2. He was doing some of the most complex scientific experiments in the world that could protect humanity as we know it from a deadly epidemic. But when he got home, he only cared about two things: being a good husband and a good father. He'd seen some of his colleagues become so consumed by their work that it ruined their home lives. Even though he had the same number of degrees as they did, he refused to ignore his most precious experiment: his family. From time to time, he'd get a little detail obsessed around the house, like wanting to stop a leaky faucet or a sputtering snow blower with his brilliance. His wife helped him to rein it in, because after all, fixing problems was for work and living the solution was for home. How do the other scientists treat this family man who actually keeps his work and home life separate?

3. She had absolutely no problem being the only woman in a field typically filled with men. After all, she was one of the few female PhD candidates in her program and she was the only one who made it through. Also, by being the only woman in a sea of men, she became something of a prized commodity. She was fawned over and well taken care of with free meals and drinks at most conferences she went to. She wasn't interested in a relationship, since it distracted her from her work. Fortunately, most of the younger scientists she met felt the same way. As a result, she worked extremely hard, putting in 13 to 15 hour days when necessary and she played even harder than that. She wondered what all those boring popular kids from high school would think of her now. What are a few of her main goals in life and how does she work at achieving them?

4. She wasn't the biggest fan of people, after all, they'd always sort of mocked her long face and her glasses. She didn't love reading or writing either, but it gave her something to do while other people were off apparently having fun. She had an aptitude for science and enjoyed it, even if nobody wanted to be her lab partner. She vowed that one day she would create something, perhaps a new polymer or element, and she would cement her place in history. This way, while everyone who mocked her would be forgotten shortly after their death, the memory of her achievements would continue on forever. What are some of the fields in which she is attempting to solidify her legacy?

5. He had been born into a family of scientists. His father had made a pioneering discovery about surgical techniques involving the heart. His mother was the first person to develop a vaccine against several kinds of cancer. Needless to say, the pressure was on him to create something or discover something even grander than his parents. He followed their lead into some of the best scientific programs in existence. He achieved high marks and seemed destined for greatness. There was only one problem: he didn't really want to be a scientist, he wanted to be an actor. Will he be able to tell his parents of his true passions before he's forever locked into a life of science?

6. He wasn't what most people would call stable and he had some radical political beliefs that he kept pretty silent when he was considered for a position with the U.S. government. He fashioned himself somewhat of a sleeper cell, who would infiltrate the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and use his knowledge to create a bioterrorist act so heinous, the country would scarcely be able to recover from it. He kept his life as normal in appearance as possible, getting married and having two lovely children. After seeing how precious they were, he wondered if he still wanted to go through with a plot he'd been planning for most of his life. What are his reasons for wanting to do something that could kill thousands and what are his reasons against it?

7. People who knew her back in college thought it was funny that she'd gone from busting heads to trying to protect them. She was a star lacrosse player at the same time that she was a budding chemist. She had seen players get injured despite wearing helmets and padding and she became interested in finding new compounds for protective gear that could prevent those injuries. She interned at large athletic wear companies, only to eventually begin her own lab that looked into developing lightweight and extremely strong materials. She continued to play sports on the side, if for nothing else than testing out some of the gear on the field. Some of the technology that her and her team developed was later licensed by the athletic wear companies to be used by millions of young men and women. What does she enjoy more, lacrosse or chemistry and why?

8. When the signal came from another world, she was the one to detect it and decipher it. She wanted to be the one to make contact with another form of life when the two races connected. She'd always held out hope that life existed elsewhere. It was a statistical improbability that they were alone in the universe, like she had been for the last decade or so. It was extremely hard on her when her parents passed away and she took their favorite activity, stargazing, to heart. She devoted her life to the stars and learning the answers to the questions of the cosmos. The signal proved that something was out there and if she was chosen to make first contact, she knew that somewhere beyond the stars, her parents would be proud of her. Describe the selection process and what will happen if she is picked.

9. It's funny how things work out sometimes. He developed the time machine on the same day that the world was about to end. He had no time to test it, so he had to go back himself in an effort to protect civilization. He survived his trip backwards one day and learned all he could about what happened to cause the Armageddon. He'd spent so much of his life developing the device as a gateway to fame and fortune. If he was unable to save the planet, however, there would be no such thing as fame, fortune or even him. He was no hero and hadn't thought much of others along the way. Now he was their only hope. What are some things he learns about himself in his attempts to save the world?

10. All scientists would like the opportunity to change the world for the better. When she discovered a legitimate, renewable, safe energy source that could replace fossil fuels, she automatically became the most famous researcher on the planet. It was the impact of her work that was important to her, not the fame, and when she was making talk show appearances, she wished she could be perfecting her discovery. She knew that if this energy source could be used in cars and power plants, the planet could begin to recover from some of the ways people have ravaged it over the last several hundred years. For a long time, she'd wondered if all those times she worked through the night and all those normal activities she'd ignored (like starting a family) would be worth it. On this day, she believed it truly had been. Will she be successful at implementing her new power source? 

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Done with Character Writing Prompts about Pirates? Go back to Creative Writing Prompts. 

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Written by Bryan Cohen

Bryan Cohen is the author of more than 30 books, many of which focus on creative writing and blasting through that pesky writer's block. His books have sold more than 20,000 copies. You can find him on and Facebook.

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