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Author Topic: Professional Mad Scientists of all kinds, unite!  (Read 12752 times)
The Grand Duchess
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« on: March 17, 2007, 07:50:17 pm »

Ok, I'm going to come clean.  I'm... gasp... a Mad Scientist.  Yup.  And I suspect I'm not the only one here.

I went into anthropology for all sorts of fancy reasons, but I was in part encouraged by the pulp and neo-pulp of Indiana Jones, Flash Gordon, and the original version of The Mummy, along with a heavy duty reading of folklore. I groove on the writings of 19th Century and Edwardian anthropologists who spent time among 'primitive' tribes, observing headhunters and voodoo rituals.  I really wish I could go back into time and have sex with Sir Richard Francis Burton, who must have been very... um.. talented. My favorite stories in the Sherlock Holmes canon have to do with devolution, foreign cultures, and so on.  I really like The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins for the same reason.  And I actually have glass lab equipment packed away in hopes of the day I can set up a mini-mad science lab, although not one that is as sinister as the late and unlamented Dr. Herbert West, so that I can date ancient scrolls and artifacts. Stories about evolution gone wrong, native tribes who snack on entire European scientific expeditions like senior citizens at a buffet table in Vegas, Sumerian amulets that open passageways to lost worlds and dark gods whose names shouldn't be spoken...  I love that stuff.  And I'm a real-life soft scientist.

Am I the only one?  I hope not.  Come one all of you- hold your beakers, pith helmets, lab rats and steam-driven computational devices high! How many of you are out there?  Are there any scientists (soft or hard), engineers, doctors, architects or others out there who have a private passion for the 'dark side' of their professions?
« Last Edit: March 17, 2007, 07:52:15 pm by The Grand Duchess » Logged

A true alternative subculture is one that not only questions the social status quo but poses viable solutions to some of the perceived underlying problems. Difference from the norm is not the same as superiority to the mainstream unless it can be  argued that the difference is positing a better way.
Ultimate Antihero
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« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2007, 08:00:20 pm »

I'm sadly not one... yet! I'm still a student, but I certainly have some teachers who could easilly qualify as Mad Scientists. Even if primary fields of some of them are mostly theoretical, I can certainly recognise that glare in the eye and those evil smirks that appear once in a while.

These teachers, I noticed, earn more of my respect than those who lack the aura of a Mad Scientist about them.
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The Grand Duchess
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Patior Sed Supervivo


« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2007, 08:08:05 pm »

I have to admit that I get off telling my students actual stories that are stranger than fiction- like the recent news that female chimpanzees have been observed hunting down bushbabies with pointed sticks. Or the discovery that all humans are not only related, but share approximately 26 common relatives.

Now if I could only do something really cool, like make a monkey-human, or find an ancient tomb with the secrets of life and death written on the walls.  THAT would teach my enemies not to laugh at me behind my back. Bwahhahhahhah.
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Fantômas
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« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2007, 08:14:33 pm »

Ok, I'm going to come clean.  I'm... gasp... a Mad Scientist.  Yup.  And I suspect I'm not the only one here.

I went into anthropology for all sorts of fancy reasons, but I was in part encouraged by the pulp and neo-pulp of Indiana Jones, Flash Gordon, and the original version of The Mummy, along with a heavy duty reading of folklore. I groove on the writings of 19th Century and Edwardian anthropologists who spent time among 'primitive' tribes, observing headhunters and voodoo rituals.  I really wish I could go back into time and have sex with Sir Richard Francis Burton, who must have been very... um.. talented. My favorite stories in the Sherlock Holmes canon have to do with devolution, foreign cultures, and so on.  I really like The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins for the same reason.  And I actually have glass lab equipment packed away in hopes of the day I can set up a mini-mad science lab, although not one that is as sinister as the late and unlamented Dr. Herbert West, so that I can date ancient scrolls and artifacts. Stories about evolution gone wrong, native tribes who snack on entire European scientific expeditions like senior citizens at a buffet table in Vegas, Sumerian amulets that open passageways to lost worlds and dark gods whose names shouldn't be spoken...  I love that stuff.  And I'm a real-life soft scientist.

Am I the only one?  I hope not.  Come one all of you- hold your beakers, pith helmets, lab rats and steam-driven computational devices high! How many of you are out there?  Are there any scientists (soft or hard), engineers, doctors, architects or others out there who have a private passion for the 'dark side' of their professions?

do you have some accent? you don't need to but it helps...
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Tinkergirl
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« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2007, 08:17:37 pm »

I've wanted to be a mad scientist since I was just 6 years old.  I even drew a little picture in my 'news jotter' for the day with a picture of myself in a lab with white lab coat on, and three balloons in the background.  One labelled air (it was on the ground), one labelled hot air (it floated somewhat) and one labelled gas - it bumped the top of the page.  So my science was a bit off, but I'm still terribly proud of my 6-year old self for that drawing.  *chuckles*
I used to get science books as a child, and very self-importantly I would teach 'lessons' to the other children while we were playing.  I'm not sure I really understood the concepts though - I was trying to explain DNA and I really didn't get it myself.  Didn't stop me trying!
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The Grand Duchess
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Patior Sed Supervivo


« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2007, 08:43:01 pm »

Ok, I'm going to come clean.  I'm... gasp... a Mad Scientist.  Yup.  And I suspect I'm not the only one here.

I went into anthropology for all sorts of fancy reasons, but I was in part encouraged by the pulp and neo-pulp of Indiana Jones, Flash Gordon, and the original version of The Mummy, along with a heavy duty reading of folklore. I groove on the writings of 19th Century and Edwardian anthropologists who spent time among 'primitive' tribes, observing headhunters and voodoo rituals.  I really wish I could go back into time and have sex with Sir Richard Francis Burton, who must have been very... um.. talented. My favorite stories in the Sherlock Holmes canon have to do with devolution, foreign cultures, and so on.  I really like The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins for the same reason.  And I actually have glass lab equipment packed away in hopes of the day I can set up a mini-mad science lab, although not one that is as sinister as the late and unlamented Dr. Herbert West, so that I can date ancient scrolls and artifacts. Stories about evolution gone wrong, native tribes who snack on entire European scientific expeditions like senior citizens at a buffet table in Vegas, Sumerian amulets that open passageways to lost worlds and dark gods whose names shouldn't be spoken...  I love that stuff.  And I'm a real-life soft scientist.

Am I the only one?  I hope not.  Come one all of you- hold your beakers, pith helmets, lab rats and steam-driven computational devices high! How many of you are out there?  Are there any scientists (soft or hard), engineers, doctors, architects or others out there who have a private passion for the 'dark side' of their professions?

do you have some accent? you don't need to but it helps...

I can do a decent Oxbridge accent, from years of watching Monty Python.  I can also do a totally fake German one, too.
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Lasairfion
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« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2007, 10:06:13 pm »

Despite comments made to me in real life, I have yet to actually become a mad scientist due to a distinct lack of knowledge about sciency things.

Some of the stuff you guys get up to fascinates me, and loses me a little. Fortunately Mr Google  is at hand to try and explain  these wonders.
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fmra
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Dollmaker


« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2007, 10:06:20 pm »

Guilty.  Growing up I made my mother accompany me to buy flowers of sulphur to use in attempt to make black powder from it.  I created a most interesting recipe for ink that would bubble in the well and fade on the page over time to a beautiful sepia.  I tore apart my father's lawnmower to discover how it worked, and blew the fuses in the house numerous times.

There is a bottle of liquid mercury on my night stand and a collection of projector lenses in my garage (awaiting me to frame them into a solar furnace).

My profession in library sciences gives me access to the most interesting knowledge and I'm constantly trying to bend it to my will.

In fact, my next research project is in the design, technology, and aerodynamics of rigid airships.

MWAHAHAAH

Oh, and BTB, my regrets to our New York inhabitants... municipal code prohibits thebuilting and use of LTA craft and use of any type of flammable gas used for such purposes...
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Tempus Rerum Imperator.

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HAC
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« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2007, 10:44:02 pm »

Ah.. Richard Francis Burton.. Now there was a character, I have in my small library a copy of his "Book of the Sword" as well as a compilation volume of his travels in Africa and the Middle East. His tale of making the hajj is quite something..
 Yes, they don't make them like that anymore..

Cheers
Harold
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The Grand Duchess
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« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2007, 11:14:34 pm »

Ah.. Richard Francis Burton.. Now there was a character, I have in my small library a copy of his "Book of the Sword" as well as a compilation volume of his travels in Africa and the Middle East. His tale of making the hajj is quite something..
 Yes, they don't make them like that anymore..

Cheers
Harold
If we ever discover space aliens, I'll be there.  I want to be like my hero...
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Marcus Rowland
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« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2007, 11:29:54 pm »

I'm actually in the Egor business: an educational laboratory technician, best described as the blunt edge of science.

I do design and build odd bits of equipment occasionally, for example I made some laser ray boxes for optics experiments last year; cost us about three pounds each, as opposed to fifty plus for one that was professionally manufactured, except that my time to build 15 probably cost the school a couple of hundred pounds, and since then laser line markers (as used by carpenters etc.) have dropped in price to 4 or 5 pounds and can do the same job. On a more steampunk note, I've built a giant model of an electric motor, about 30 times larget than the ones kids build in science lessons, which actually works if you supply it with 20 or 30 amps and an array of 20 or so heavy-duty magnets, a couple of Hero's engines, and recently retro-fitted an old glass fractional distillation apparatus with brass plumbing joints and pipes after someone broke the top off it.

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Miss E
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« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2007, 11:55:07 pm »

I'm a mad scientist in training...I guess. They kind of kicked me out of major last semester (Biology...I really should have been Biotech, straight up Bio is dull)....

I'm more of a Bio/Psych/Anthropology/Sociology mad scientist. Science has always been fascinating and pretty easy for me (until you get into all those numbers and equations...then you've lost me.)  I wanted to be able to communicate with animals when I was younger and I practiced until i was convinced that I was fluent in both cat and goat (I've long forgotten cat, but I've been known to do a few goat calls on occasion). I lost interest in animals and became very interested in plants. In particular, flesh eating plants (I used to give these as Christmas presents to people.), pretty yet poisonous plants (foxglove is my favorite), cacti (the strange looking and/or spiny the better), herbs and flowers with less than savory sounding or just plain creepy names (love-lies-bleeding for example) and members of the nightshade family (I blame Attack of the Killer Tomatoes). Humanwise, I always found the systems of the human body facinating, in particular the muscles and the nervous system. Man has seen beyond our solar system with satellites and explored the depth of the Marianas Trench. The human mind is the last great frontier. The way the human mind works, how it can be manipulated, the idea of reality...it is my greatest passion now. Chemicals, symbols, flight vs fight, mental maladies, advertising, dreams, nightmares, society's effect on the mind...oh..it makes my phalanges curl just thinking about it...

So yeah...mad scientist...or just plain mad..
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Lazaras
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« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2007, 12:03:33 am »

I make no claims of being a Madboy. Tinkerer sure, philosopher and occasional brain bender too. However the realm of Mad Science is beyond me right now. Glad to know one of my favorite female forumites is both a mad scientist, AND can pull off both a really great english accent, AND the overblown theatrical german one.

Always willing to help, just so long as I don't end up on anyone's slab...or in a jar.
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kiskolou
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« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2007, 12:46:14 am »

Is human genetic engineering mad enough? Fight commercialization of the genome, stop gene patenting! No corp will bar me from experimenting with what is part of me! Oh, wrong punk (biopunk) .
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Ruby
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« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2007, 01:33:54 am »

Not quite a mad scientist, but I have a degree in Ancient History & Archaeology. I wrote my thesis on spent far to much time avoiding writing and looking at pictures of the visual depiction of Assyrian war and conquest, which gave me such visual delights as the Assyrian battering ram. It's a fun vehicle, as you can see. It's like an ancient tank!

Alright, alright... maybe that's a little too bronzepunk.
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Zeke Warren
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« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2007, 03:16:20 am »

I'm just a student, but I'm planning on double majoring in both Physics and History of Science. Though, at my college, choosing a major is pretty much nothing more than saying "I like this", since the system is flexible enough that you can make and form your own classes and majors.
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The Grand Duchess
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« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2007, 04:35:38 am »

Not quite a mad scientist, but I have a degree in Ancient History & Archaeology. I wrote my thesis on spent far to much time avoiding writing and looking at pictures of the visual depiction of Assyrian war and conquest, which gave me such visual delights as the Assyrian battering ram. It's a fun vehicle, as you can see. It's like an ancient tank!

Alright, alright... maybe that's a little too bronzepunk.


Don't feel badly.  I dawdled while spending time reading up on vice in NYC during the 19th century.  I really wanted to be an archaeologist, but I like cultural just fine.
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heavyporker
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« Reply #17 on: March 19, 2007, 06:08:10 am »

Oh, man... to be a professional mad scientist...
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The Grand Duchess
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« Reply #18 on: March 19, 2007, 03:06:03 pm »

It's a simple thing to be.
1. Go into debt because of your masters and PhD studies.
2. go into further debt teaching as an adjunct professor.
3. hope for a full-time position.

Wash rinse repeat, and pretty soon you too will be setting up a lab and trying to take over the world.
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Emperor
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« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2007, 04:54:13 pm »

I am a mad scientist and even have a piece of paper on the wall declaring me to be an official MSc - which is just short for Mad Scientist.

I actually prefer the term "eccentric scientific genius" as "mad scientist" has such derogatory connotations. I know some of you radical young types are reclaiming the term but it is a little too strong for my blood after so many years of having to dress in my lab coat behind closed doors and carry out my experiments as quietly as possible to avoid detection.
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Emps

if I went 'round saying I was an Emperor just because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me, they'd put me away!

Steampunk Collective thread
heavyporker
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« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2007, 06:20:24 pm »

It's a simple thing to be.
1. Go into debt because of your masters and PhD studies.
2. go into further debt teaching as an adjunct professor.
3. hope for a full-time position.

Wash rinse repeat, and pretty soon you too will be setting up a lab and trying to take over the world.

Well, that's certainly mad in one way.

You need to whip together some diabolical creatures in order to sell (Perhaps to the circus, creature collectors or military kennels) then you'd be completely clear of debt.
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MrFats
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« Reply #21 on: March 19, 2007, 06:21:45 pm »

Indeed, I as well look forward to the day when I incur great debt whilst searching for a position in the scientific community. I shall be studying forensics, and will get a degree in that field.

Mad? I don't know....As people would say "there is a thin line between genius and insanity." I constantly walk that line.
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The Grand Duchess
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« Reply #22 on: March 19, 2007, 06:40:39 pm »

I am a mad scientist and even have a piece of paper on the wall declaring me to be an official MSc - which is just short for Mad Scientist.

I actually prefer the term "eccentric scientific genius" as "mad scientist" has such derogatory connotations. I know some of you radical young types are reclaiming the term but it is a little too strong for my blood after so many years of having to dress in my lab coat behind closed doors and carry out my experiments as quietly as possible to avoid detection.

It gets parsed this way-
I am a visionary thinker.
You are an eccentric scientific genius.
He or she (of whom I don't approve) is a mad scientist.

I think some of the young folks claim it because they think using it will take the negative gloss all of it- that's because they didn't suffer under the oppression we did, having to do experiments during thunderstorms, using dark lanterns in graveyards on moonless nights, and evading villagers with torches and pitchforks.  If only they could understand the pain we suffered, they wouldn't be so flashy and cavalier.

I could have a piece of paper on the wall but I'm too lazy to put it up. I suppose I should- but I'm not even sure where I put my diploma,
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Lazaras
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« Reply #23 on: March 19, 2007, 06:44:58 pm »

You, lazy? Never! You're too busy teaching the next generation.
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Penny Dreadful
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« Reply #24 on: March 23, 2007, 06:20:26 am »

    I'm in training to be a mad scientist, of the cognitive/neuro sort.  In my neck of the woods there is a dirth of mad scientists.  When I was working in a neuroscience lab at ucsd it was very frowned upon when I made any mention of Egor (as in 'I'll egor for that brain-surgery experiment this afternoon.') 
   When I was little, around three, I mixed up 'experiences' (misheard experiments) to try to turn myself into Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. 
   As far as what I do fits in with steampunk.  I don't know. I kinda' like phrenology, as it's a weird victorian misstep towards neuroscience. I have worked on brain computer interfaces, designing smart cars, and (now) language, nary a gear in sight!
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