Do a Google image search for "leading scientist." (For the lazy, click here.) Ignoring the flotsam and jetsam of random Matt Damon and Peewee Herman images, what do you observe?

Neither of us want to say it, but we both know what I'm getting at.

For comparison's sake, try "realtor." Try "attorney." If you want to be a little frightened, try "news anchor." (No matter where you're standing... the eyes... they follow you everywhere...)

Yes, I know, our collective cultural obsession with physical appearance is appalling. This is shameful and superficial and sad. But... wouldn't you like to look at some cute scientists? I mean, you're here already, and there are cute scientists below. You can totally denounce this as shallow trash afterward, which is bound to make you feel great about yourself. Ready?

Dorian Warren, Political Scientist

Dorian Warren is the Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, where he specializes in the study of inequality and American politics, and in looking fantastic at all times. Research shows that his faculty page headshot wasn't a fluke of lighting or a good day for him; Dr. Warren is consistently and gloriously fine.

I already feel a little cheap about doing this. Let's move on quickly.

Bénédicte Fontaine-Bisson, Nutrigeneticist 

When she's not causing cars to collide by just walking down the street, Dr. Fontaine-Bisson works as Assistant Professor in Nutrition Sciences at the University of Ottawa. She works in the field of nutrigenomics, which explores how nutrients and the human genome interact to affect metabolic pathways; she's probably pretty awesome at it, because it seems clear that there's nothing wrong with her nutrient intake, genetic make-up, or metabolism.

Her hair is so shiny. I bet she eats lots of avocado. Onward!

Matthew Herder, Medical Researcher

The foxy Matthew Herder is Assistant Professor at Dalhousie's Faculty of Medicine, where his research interests lie in “money and science.” And that sounds great, I recommend we give him all the funding. Peep his pretty eyes and adorable scientist-on-safari linen jacket! 

Over here is a photo of him with a hipster beard, and it's kind of working for him, I think.  

Christina Agapakis

Christina Agapakis a post-doc at UCLA, where her research is in the field of synthetic biology. She is the winner of last year's L'Oreal Women in Science Award (this picture is from some sort of red carpet event they had), and that sounds just about right, doesn't it?  

When she's not wooing the paparazzi outside of award ceremonies, she looks a little crunchier, but still cute as a wee button. (I am not being patronizing. She IS wee.)

Jennifer Jacquet

Jennifer Jacquet is a Clinical Assistant Professor in Environmental Studies and Jennifer Garner doppelgänger  at NYU. She is currently writing a book about the evolution, function, and future of shame.

I feel as though she knew, while this photograph was being taken, that we would someday be ignoring her shiny intellect and focussing instead on her amazingly symmetrical features, and that she felt sorry for us.

This list is not exhaustive, and I feel I could easily add to it once I stop feeling so terrible about treating intelligent people like pieces of meat. In the meantime, please feel free to suggest additional great-looking scientists you would like us to objectify.