It is thought the good looks of former musician and TV physicist Brian Cox and anatomy expert Alice Roberts may have played a big part in their roles as science communicators.
But, if the results of a study by psychologists at Cambridge University are to be believed, neither are rated as highly competent scientists by members of the public.
Lead researcher Dr Will Skylark, from the Department of Psychology, said he wanted to find out what impact good looks had on the perception of scientists.
"Given the importance of science to issues that could have a major impact on society, such as climate change, food sustainability and vaccinations, scientists are increasingly required to engage with the public.
"We know from studies showing that political success can be predicted from facial appearance, that people can be influenced by how someone looks rather than, necessarily, what they say. We wanted to see if this was true for scientists."
– Dr Will Skylark, University of Cambridge.
In the first of a series of trials, volunteers were shown photos of more than 300 British and American scientists and asked to rate them for intelligence and attractiveness.
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