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Ambri
11-12-2011, 09:10 AM
Does anyone know the name of any real life "mad scientists" of yesteryear that I can randomly mention in this tall tale my MC is telling? I'd prefer it to be a name with enough recognition that a decent percentage of readers would get the reference, if possible.

Drachen Jager
11-12-2011, 09:35 AM
Josef Mengele

You can google that. Many people will know the name.

Night_Writer
11-12-2011, 10:03 AM
Uh.....I was going to suggest Nikola Tesla.

Snick
11-12-2011, 03:41 PM
What kind of "mad" are you looking for? Over the centuries there have been many strange people involved in what might have been considered science.

Alessandra Kelley
11-12-2011, 03:44 PM
Uh.....I was going to suggest Nikola Tesla.

I second Nikola Tesla.

Kitti
11-12-2011, 05:06 PM
John Nash? Or are you looking for an evil mad scientist instead of just a scientist who happens to be mad?

Steve Collins
11-12-2011, 07:22 PM
Einstein looks mad.

ironmikezero
11-12-2011, 11:21 PM
How about Jack Horner (Montana State U Museum in Bozeman, MT)...

He's trying to genetically reverse engineer dinosaurs from chicken DNA, specifically, some say, velociraptors and tyrannosaurus rex a la Jurassic Park. What could possibly go wrong?

See: Wired Magazine 19.10, Oct. 2011, p. 150 (print edition)

http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/09/ff_chickensaurus/

http://www.montana.edu/wwwes/facstaff/horner.htm

Snick
11-12-2011, 11:32 PM
Einstein looks mad.

And some of his ideas are quite mad.

Ambri
11-13-2011, 05:24 AM
Great responses, thanks! Specifically, I'm looking for a "slightly evil" mad scientist. I think Mengele is far TOO evil for my purposes. My rock star MC is pausing between songs to introduce his bandmates. When he gets to the drummer, I want him to say something along the lines of, "The one, the only <name>. You won't find a smarter guy this side of MIT. He once met a tarot reader who said he's the reincarnation of either Einstein or <dead mad scientist>." I don't want anyone too evil, 'cause it's really just glib tall tale characteristic of his rock star "persona."

What do y'all think about Sidney Gottlieb, aka Dr. Feelgood? He has something of a movie supervillain feel, and his experiments were off the wall and kinda evil, without being "worthy of the lowest level of hell" evil, if that makes sense?

How about Jack Horner (Montana State U Museum in Bozeman, MT)...

He's trying to genetically reverse engineer dinosaurs from chicken DNA, specifically, some say, velociraptors and tyrannosaurus rex a la Jurassic Park. What could possibly go wrong?

See: Wired Magazine 19.10, Oct. 2011, p. 150 (print edition)

http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/09/ff_chickensaurus/

http://www.montana.edu/wwwes/facstaff/horner.htm

SERIOUSLY!? Wow! Wonder if he got the idea from the novel/ movie . . . Will forward the link to science-nerdy family members. They'll get a kick out of it.

Drachen Jager
11-13-2011, 05:55 AM
Now that I see it in context, it looks like you're just trying too hard.

mirandashell
11-13-2011, 09:38 PM
Why not use Baron Frankenstein? Everyone knows the name and will get the reference. In fact, 'somewhere between Einstein and Frankenstein' sounds good too.

If it's a throw away line, you don't need to get too serious with, do you?

jennontheisland
11-13-2011, 10:01 PM
My rock star MC is pausing between songs to introduce his bandmates. When he gets to the drummer, I want him to say something along the lines of, "The one, the only <name>. You won't find a smarter guy this side of MIT. He once met a tarot reader who said he's the reincarnation of either Einstein or <dead mad scientist>." I don't want anyone too evil, 'cause it's really just glib tall tale characteristic of his rock star "persona."

What do y'all think about Sidney Gottlieb, aka Dr. Feelgood? He has something of a movie supervillain feel, and his experiments were off the wall and kinda evil, without being "worthy of the lowest level of hell" evil, if that makes sense?
I think that you'd better have some other Motley Crue reference in there if you're going to call your drummer Dr. Feelgood.

areteus
11-14-2011, 01:33 PM
Einstien was the archetype of the Mad Scientist trope - certainly the reason why so many of them have crazy hair. Not sure there have ever been any truly evil scientists outside of Nazi Germany but then concepts of evil are a little relative (Einstien contributed to the Atom bomb, in terms of how much evil that created how does he compare to the Nazi scientists? Ok, unfair example because Einstein famously protested against its use but you can see the point...).

Scientists are rarely evil in the real world. They may come up with ideas which end up being used by corporations and governments for evil ends but I don't think many of them actually sit down and say 'I know, I'll come up with a way to kill more people in less time' usually they say 'Hmmm, if it were possible to split the atom there is a great potential for energy to be released by the resultant chain reaction...' followed by someone military saying 'Hey, yeah, and then you could kill a lot of people very quickly...'

If you want mad, though, look at Paracelsus. He was completely insane and incredibly arrogant (my wife, who is studying him at the moment, calls him a 'total cock' and I cannot disagree with her arguments because she is a much better historian than me :) ). May be a little early (because there was no real 'science' at that point but he certanly had the right personality. You might also want to look at Newton... the sane stuff he did with gravity was only his early work, he later went on to dabble in Alchemy which at the time was considered out of date and insane (ironically enough it was his work in optics which later allowed the atom to be split and there is a potential in nuclear physics to convert one element to another, i.e. lead into gold, but it does cost a lot more than it would to actually buy the gold in the first place...).

MTaillard
11-14-2011, 08:36 PM
If you want a current day "mad scientist" come talk to me. A large portion of my current research is the potential for the use of economics as a combat weapon. Sure I'm not a known name yet but I'm working on that and it doesn't get much better than that subject for the stereotype.

Xelebes
11-14-2011, 11:54 PM
Dr. Oliver Wenger (Tuskagee Experiment)


Off the top of my head with regards to American mad or criminal doctors/scientists.

jennontheisland
11-14-2011, 11:59 PM
Really, are any of these references likely to resonate with the MC's rock concert going audience? (or your intended readers?)

I know some people who only know of Mengele *because* of Slayer's song Angel of Death. None of them would know who anyone mentioned in this thread are beyond Einstein and Frankenstein. (and even then will think of Frankenstein's monster, not Frankenstein himself)

So while it may be all clever and shit to point out that the drummer went to MIT, I'll bet half the people in the audeince don't even know what it stands for.

Archerbird
11-15-2011, 12:12 AM
Pick a Russian, any one of them will do. Ivanov and Demikhov are two.

cbenoi1
11-15-2011, 01:15 AM
Wernher von Braun.

Sending a man on the moon just for the fun of it. That's mad science all right... |8-}

-cb

mirandashell
11-15-2011, 01:18 AM
I think he did that cos Kennedy said he would........

One more thing and excuse the derail but... what was 'the other thing?'

Drachen Jager
11-15-2011, 01:19 AM
Really, are any of these references likely to resonate with the MC's rock concert going audience? (or your intended readers?)

I know some people who only know of Mengele *because* of Slayer's song Angel of Death. None of them would know who anyone mentioned in this thread are beyond Einstein and Frankenstein. (and even then will think of Frankenstein's monster, not Frankenstein himself)

So while it may be all clever and shit to point out that the drummer went to MIT, I'll bet half the people in the audeince don't even know what it stands for.

Exactly why I said it stinks of trying too hard.

If the words don't flow they ain't meant to be. If you have to stop to look up some guy's name who YOU have never even heard of to name-drop it in your book then it does not belong there.

quicklime
11-15-2011, 01:32 AM
one more suggesting the name-drop is probably taking more away from the story than it adds.

between einstein and frankenstein would be something people might relate to, the others just risk losing the reader, or worse, alienating them if they take this as a self-indulgent "christ am I clever, here" moment.


sorry...

DrZoidberg
11-15-2011, 12:29 PM
I too immidiately thought of Nikolai Tesla. His laboratory really looked like Baron Von Frankenstein's.


This is a good one:
Trofim Lysenko. It was the misfortune of USSR that he managed to convince Stalin that he was a real scientist. The implimentation of his theories led to the starvation of millions. Too add to the "craziness" was that Lysenko wasn't at all a scientist. He was just a fraud. He'd only studied enough to be able to fool the politicians... and was just muddling through with is bizarre pseudo scientific ideas. He truly was just a fraudster milking his mark, which turned out to be all of USSR.


A bit more modern you have, Robert Root-Bernstein and Joseph Sonnabend. They're famous for convincing South African president Thabo Mbeki that HIV doesn't cause AIDS. In true despot fashion Mbeki then decides (in spite what SA's scientific community thinks) that these guys are correct and then orders SA's anti-AIDS efforts to be informed by these guys, and in turn making SA's already huge AIDS problem many times worse. Root-Bernstein and Sonnabend are real scientists though and have since this shifted in their scientific convictions. So they're not quite as "crazy" today.

WyrdeDragon
11-15-2011, 12:58 PM
Okay, tesla's good. But seriously, no one suggested Dr. Timothy Leary? Especially in the context used? The guy that was credited with bringing LSD to the masses? Definitely sounds like a mad scientist potential, but not "lower levels of Hell worthy". And would fit for a rock musician's snarky comment.

DrZoidberg
11-15-2011, 01:05 PM
Oh, and pretty much all the scientists who worked on the Manhattan project.

Werner Von Braun (model for Dr Stranglove).
Richard Feynman brilliant but clearly a little bit crazy (in a good way)

The Grift
11-15-2011, 09:17 PM
Here's nine.

http://www.cracked.com/article_17039_9-real-life-mad-scientists.html

L.C. Blackwell
11-16-2011, 03:53 AM
Pick a Russian, any one of them will do. Ivanov and Demikhov are two.

I was able to find the reference to Demikhov. I'm not sure which Ivanov you're referring to.

Also, I don't know if you meant to be funny with the first comment, but it's hardly accurate.

akbowens
11-16-2011, 04:35 AM
I found some interesting and twisted ones here http://www.oddee.com/item_96484.aspx

HTH :)

Ambri
11-22-2011, 01:25 AM
Thanks for all the suggestions! I may take the suggestion of "Einstein to Baron/ Dr. Frankenstein."

ETA . . . LMAO. This is my 666th post. How freakin' ironic is that? ;)

mirandashell
11-22-2011, 01:26 AM
You're welcome!

Mark G
11-23-2011, 09:33 PM
I second Nikola Tesla.

I third Nikola Tesla. Perfect! He was really "outside the box" and got screwed over bigtime so he was "mad" from either interpretation of the word :)