Why do fiction-writers shy away from using modern (rather than historical) science, or scientists, in their stories? And why are publishers so wary of taking on novels that include even a hint of science? It can only be a condescension to think that readers will find the science 'too difficult'.
Fiction that mentions science does not have to be science-led, nor need it fall anywhere near the genre of science-fiction: my novels are not 'about' science.
It has always been important to me to use scientists as characters, major or very minor, in my novels; after all, they are just people who do a certain type of job. And in researching the characters' subjects, I have had the fun and privilege of many enjoyable and fascinating conversations with people who are experts in their fields.