Pictures of Alchemists by the David Teniers (circa late1600's)
and the Stereotyping of Scientists

The Chymist by David Teniers the Younger                                                                                                     Les plaisirs des fous by David Teniers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  (probably the Elder)

1. List the similarities between the two pictures.
2. What is the most significant difference between the two pictures?
3. Based on the answer to #2 and the title of the picture, what point might David Teniers the Elder have been trying to make?
4. Is their any resemblance of the alchemist's equipment of the 1600's to the chemist's equipment of today?

When elementary school students (in this case fith graders) are asked to draw pictures of scientists, the responses usually resemble the pictures below (copies of actual examples).

1. What themes are common to the pictures?
2. Is there any reality to the common themes?
3. Is there any similarity in the way science may have been viewed in the 1600's and the way it is viewed today? If so, is there any threat to society from this perspective?

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