I'm thinking that us scientists may have an image problem...
A group of seventh-graders were asked to write down what they thought a scientist was. A couple of prize-winners:
"I always see a scientist holding a bottle with a bubbly substance and it is usually a weird color, like green or red."
"To me, a scientist is bald and has hair coming out of the sides of his head. . . . Scientists live in their own world and the rest of society puts them there."
I also noticed that pretty much every kid referred to their imagined scientist as a "he". People, these kids are 12-13 years old!!
Luckily not all of them were so oblivious to what science is all about - and although not technically very explanatory, my favorite description was:
"When I think of a scientist I think of a person who is smart. They also have a little bit of funny joyful in there too. Scientists are very important to us today."
AND they got taken to meet some real scientists and then asked to revise their opinions. Check out the descriptions and the "before" and "after" drawings here.