Astronauts, in fact, come to mind.
When I was a child I dreamed of becoming an astronaut. (That is, when I wasn't dreaming of becoming a stunt motorcycle jumper, a CIA assassin or, in at least one case, a firetruck.) Astronauts are fearless heroes, physically superior human beings... and they are also smart! One of the prerequisites for gaining admission into NASA's elite club of fliers is often to be a rocket scientist! I mean, how cool is that?
"What do you think you are, some kind of rocket scientist?"
"Why yes, in fact. I am! SUCK IT, LIBERAL ARTS MAJORS! MUA HA HA!"
Well, that perception is beginning to change. In large part I'm afraid it's because of the curious behavior of Lisa Nowak. Lest we forget, Lisa was the sky jockey who wore a diaper while driving cross country to douse the face of another female astronaut with pepper spray because of some sort of dispute over a paramour shared by the two. The recently released video (linked above) of Ms. Nowak during her time in confinement can only lead one to wonder.
Eventually she begins to unravel. She lies on the floor in a fetal position, her back against the door. She gets up, and officers bring her something to drink. She seems to say she feels dizzy, and they offer to bring her food. She asks for an apple.
"Do you know where you are, what city you're in?" one officer asks. Her response is inaudible.
"You seem like you're kind of out of it," he replies.
"I've been awake for a long time," she replies tearfully.
Another officer brings her an apple, and she begins to eat.
"What's going on in your mind right now?" an officer asks.
"That I'm going to be locked up forever," she replies in part, tearfully.
It's really becoming somewhat less attractive to refer to someone as a rocket scientist these days. But what other terms of admiration and endearment will fill the bill? Brain Surgeon was always a popular one, but let's face it... people latched on to that one in droves in the 80's and 90's. These days you can't swing a dead flight technician without hitting a brain surgeon. The market is flooded and I believe the guy who sold me my double cream, half-caf latte yesterday morning was drilling into somebody's cerebral embolism less than a year ago.
So what profession can we use when attempting to highlight a person's dizzying intellect?
I'm thinking Internet pundit.
"What do you think you are? Some kind of blogger?"
"Why yes, in fact. I am!"