This is a comparative study of the image of the scientist held by Israeli Jewish and Arabic student teachers from various backgrounds. The image of female scientists among these groups was also investigated. Five groups of female students (N=500) from four colleges were studied. Traditional tools (DAST) were combined with more informative methods (captions, statements, and free writing) and supplemented by interviews. The stereotypic image of the scientist was found to be a bespectacled male using conventional research equipment, who prefers intellectual occupations for leisure pursuits was perceived by most participants. The image held by the secular Jewish student teachers largely conformed to the Western image of the scientist – a disheveled man working in a laboratory, with few social connections. An image of a scientist as a revered, authoritative teacher or scholar emerged amongst the traditional groups (Bedouin, Orthodox, and Ultra-Orthodox). The image found amongst Arabic student teachers of the North (a moderately traditional group) was unique: a young scientist, using computers, whose work is partially done outside of the laboratory. Among the traditional groups, the female scientist is perceived to be “torn” between her career and tradition. Conclusions from this research and implications for science study and teaching curricula are discussed.
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