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Mad Scientists

Sorry, cant add anything, just wanted to say thanks...good thread.
"We who prescribe scepticism as if it were the intellectual equivalent of Vitamin C, should remember that when a torch-wielding mob storms the scientist's castle, it is not necessarily a mob of sceptics or revolutionaries - it might just be the landlord's agents, coming to evict a troublesome tenant. Rationalism is the keystone of all our freedoms. It is also, in its purest and most generous sense, the keystone of forteanism."

GOOD FORT, BAD FORT, by Mat Coward
Surely Dr Strangelove is about as mad as they get. But what about real mad scientists?
mads scientists archytype......have u noticed, meglomaniac, german accent, oldish?...operation paperclip perhapse?
my votes got to go with adam hart davis as he apears to be a very knowledgable man also having read his book "what the victorians did for us" i have found out that he is related to the queen

btw he seems quite mad aswell
It's probably because Adam Hart-Davis looks like the classic mad scientist that he's on the box in the first place. Just think of Magnus Pike, Heinz Woolf & of course Patrick Moore, you've gotta look the part if you want any street credd!!!!!!!!!!1
O.K. How's about good old Isaac Newton. Not only did he partially lever one of his eyeballs out in the name of science (for his treatise on optics), but he was also a member of parliament.

His only recorded speech to the house was a request that someone open a window as it was rather warm...:)
Can anyone remember Dr Magnus Pyke? I forget what TV program he was on, but he certainly cultivated the image of the mad scientist.

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My vote definitely goes for Tesla, especially considering the times in which he was working. With his arrays of batteries and lightning and such, I'm sure the neighbors took him for mad.
Tesla is probably the archetypal mad scientist. The orthodox view
is that he lost it and spent his declining years trying to re-interest
the press by ever madder claims. But the suspicion remains that
his notions of free energy were subversive of Capital.

Andrew Crosse was called mad by his neighbours but seems to
have been a sane man who reported what he had observed.

The fact that he observed living creatures emerging out of volcanic
rock by electrolysis was disturbing to the natural order. But
others replicated the results. Now where has Tubal Cain got to? He
knows all about Crosse. :confused:
Seems scientists who disturb the status quo are demonised.
Pons and Fleischman still are: Lovelock and Leakey were.
I don't know about "mad", but wearing a copper/brass fake nose and dying of a ruptured bladder makes Tycho Brahe an interesting, dashing scientist/fighter type:

garrick92 said:
Fascinated by the archetype of the 'mad scientist' with world-threatening plans. My favourite thus far is Thomas Midgely -- take a gander at the link below!


Got any other nominations?
Ahh, Thomas Midgely. To cause one environmental disaster is unfortunate. Two begins to look like carelessness...

Who could forget Julius Sumner Miller? And his successor (in Australia at least) Karl Kruszelnicki.

Of course, the archetype owes as much to Einstein as to anyone else. Particularly the forgetfulness and wild hair.
Fortis said:
O.K. How's about good old Isaac Newton. Not only did he partially lever one of his eyeballs out in the name of science (for his treatise on optics)

Pedantically, I though he just poked it with a "pointed stick" to distort the lens. Either way....<brrr>
Not content with poking his eyes, surely Newtons dabbling (though spending more than 10 years qualifys as more than mere dabbling) in alchemy and his pursuit of the philsophers stone at the height of his intellectual powers would make him mad enough to appear in any top ten mad scientist list.
surely Newtons dabbling (though spending more than 10 years qualifys as more than mere dabbling) in alchemy

In the fictional account of his life that's in the book Newton's Niece, he becomes both impotent and insane as a result of mercury poisoning aquired accidentally through his alchemical works.

I don't know how acurate that is, heavy metal poisoning certainly does send you mad, but whether it afflicted alchemists as well as hatters...? Who knows. Possible I guess...
I would nominate either Edward Teller or John von Neumann, both candidates for 'the real Dr Strangelove'. The former was a keen advocate of hydrogen bombs for everything from removing hills to making harbours and digging in the garden. The latter invented game theory and tried to persuade the President that a nuclear first strike was the only rational approoach to winning the cold war.

For 'Very Sane But Entertainingly Eccentric Scientist' it has to be Richard Feynman, bongo-player and all-round decent bloke who didn't take it all too seriously.
I second Feynman - but I would like to include an honourable mention for Millgram and his 'shocking' experiments :D
Dr. Koch

Probably the greatest of early 20th Century German surgeons, Dr. Koch (sorry, I can't think of his first name at the moment) spent the last few years of his life as mad as a hatter - and still operating, for nobody dared tell the once-Great Man that he was bonkers.

Except for MRS. Koch. When potential patients attempted to consult with Dr. Koch in his home-surgery his wife would stand guard outside and attempt to warn them away. These warning were not always successful, however, since many of the patients who came to the surgeon's home were very poor and Koch was quite generous and more than happy to perform his senile butcheries for free.
I clicked on that but was immediately distracted by the link about tsunamis. :oops:
Does this chappie qualify as mad?

Leading scientist ejected by audience after 'trying to crowd surf' at classical music concert

A leading scientist was ejected by fellow audience members during a performance of Handel’s Messiah after he took the director’s invitation to “clap and whoop” to the music a step too far by attempting to crowd-surf.

Tom Morris, artistic director of the Bristol Old Vic, encouraged the audience to respond with enthusiasm to the music but accepted that Dr David Glowacki had “got very over-excited”.

The show was a forerunner to the Bristol Proms, launched by Mr Morris as a more “accessible and informal” alternative to the traditional classical concerts, which will start next month.

Before the performance, Mr Morris invited the audience to bring their drinks into the standing area in front of the stage and instructed them: “Clap or whoop when you like, and no shushing other people.”

But Dr Glowacki, a Royal Society Research Fellow, was so overcome during the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ he began lurching from side to side with his hands raised and whooping before attempting to crowd-surf, witnesses claimed.

Irritated by the distraction, audience members proceeded to physically eject the Bristol University academic from the area, in what Mr Morris claims is the first such incident at a classical concert since the 18th century.

Some ticket holders are now urging Mr Morris to set clearer guidelines for acceptable behaviour but the director is unwilling to re-impose the strict rules of etiquette which he has sought to cast off.

However, he has agreed crowd-surfing during classical concerts will not be tolerated.

“He got very over-excited,” Mr Morris, who directed War Horse at the National Theatre, told The Independent.

“The Bristol Proms are contributing to a ground-breaking way of thinking which will pave the way for a new kind of classical concert.

“But by allowing an audience to respond in whatever way they want, you also allow an audience to self-regulate, as we discovered.”

He added: “David was investigating what the nature of the rules are using the skills that make him an extraordinary scientist – and for some in the audience, a slightly irritating one.” ...

- See more at: http://www.independent.ie/world-news/eu ... mxVIM.dpuf
The conductor should have directed the scientist to the mosh pit.
And let's not forget Leon Theramin

Theremin set up a laboratory in New York in the 1930s, where he developed the theremin and experimented with other electronic musical instruments and other inventions. These included the Rhythmicon, commissioned by the American composer and theorist Henry Cowell.

In 1930, ten thereminists performed on stage at Carnegie Hall. Two years later, Theremin conducted the first-ever electronic orchestra, featuring the theremin and other electronic instruments including a "fingerboard" theremin which resembled a cello in use.

Theremin's mentors during this time were some of society's foremost scientists, composers, and musical theorists, including composer Joseph Schillinger and physicist (and amateur violinist) Albert Einstein.[clarification needed] At this time, Theremin worked closely with fellow Russian émigré and theremin virtuoso Clara Rockmore.

Theremin was interested in a role for the theremin in dance music. He developed performance locations that could automatically react to dancers' movements with varied patterns of sound and light.

The Soviet consulate had apparently demanded he divorce Katia. Afterwards, while working with the American Negro Ballet Company, the inventor married a young African-American prima ballerina Lavinia Williams.[21] Their marriage caused shock and disapproval in his social circles, but the ostracized couple remained together.[24]
The Theremin is a fun instrument to play occasionally, in my opinion, but I wouldn't make a playlist of its music.