[[quoteright:340:[[Franchise/{{Frankenstein}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/0508a_franklab_6891.png]]]]

->''His laboratory was equipped with the sophisticated tools of modern science: Jacob's Ladders, Van De Graaf generators, bulky pilot-lit cabinets, poorly-adjusted Bunsen burners, retorts bubbling with sinister chemicals, murky jars holding mutant monstrosities, strung wires with bad insulation.''
-->-- '''Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space'''

The place where ''[[ForScience Science]]!'' happens. Usually pronounced "lah-BOHR-ah-tor-ee" in ominous, stentorian tones.

Every MadScientist has to have a lab. This is typically a refurbished dungeon of some sort, with aging stone walls. It also must contain most of the following lab equipment:

* An [[StrappedToAnOperatingTable operating table]]. Two if the MadScientist does brain transplants. Optional, though, is the winch for raising the table up to the roof.
* A big honking [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spark_gap#Visual_entertainment Jacob's Ladder]] (the thing that looks like a rabbit-ear antenna with an electrical arc between the posts)
* A [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesla_Coil Tesla coil]].
* A roof that opens to the sky, to let the lightning in and/or the DeathRay out.
* A 60s-style mainframe computer with big dials and switches on the front. Add [[ComputerEqualsTapedrive spinning tape reels]] for extra credit.
* Bits of animals and people preserved in formaldehyde.
* A whole bunch of glassware, especially test tubes, beakers, [[TechnicolorScience flasks of colored liquid]], distilling columns, condensers, burettes, Bunsen burners, and that thing you get when you hook a bunch of them together.
* Optionally, depending on your flavor of MadScientist, you may find a wall generously populated with chains and manacles (just to make sure the experimental subjects stay handy and don't wander away) and a big worn chalkboard filled with equations.
* Dusty piles of [[CowTools incomprehensible failed experiments]], which may or may not suddenly become a danger to anyone wandering around unsupervised.
* May be in the dungeon of the HauntedCastle, or on an isolated tropical island.
* Big levers or control panels ([[ExplosiveInstrumentation that may or may not explode]]).
* [[BigElectricSwitch Ginormous knife switches]] for completing dangerous electric circuits.

Never mind that real science does not generally call for all of these things at the same time -- or within the same discipline! -- the MadScientist [[OmnidisciplinaryScientist doesn't specialize]]. All the same, most of what he does will at least ''look'' like chemistry, since nothing shouts "science" to the casual viewer more than a guy in a lab coat fiddling with a beaker of [[TechnicolorScience colored liquid]].

Laboratory glassware frequently shows up in period settings that predate their invention. Erlenmeyer Flasks, glass retorts, Griffin/Berzelius beakers, separatory funnels, Leibig condensers, and even test tubes date back only as far as the late 18th century at best; some of these were clearly developed in the mid to late 19th century. Dedicated laboratory equipment did not truly exist prior to the early 1800s and even then would have been primitive bearing little resemblance to familiar modern glassware. Prior to that, much chemistry was done with whatever bowls and jars were already available. Other equipment (such as alembics) was made of metal.

Also never mind that modern chemistry has very little use for the big impressive glass-sculpture thing with with a lot of burettes, condensers, and funny coils of glass. (These actually were useful constructs at one time, but they're the chemistry equivalent of doing differential equations on an abacus. Also, even when they were used, a typical experimental setup would have consisted of three to six of the pieces put together; never dozens of pieces, all connected, as shown on the screen.) You need this stuff because otherwise, the [[ViewersAreMorons audience won't realize]] that ''Science'' goes on here.

The archetypical movie MadScientistLaboratory probably came from the classic silent film ''Metropolis'', though the Universal remake of ''Frankenstein'' added a fair amount. Both were probably strongly influenced by a real-life example that was a staple in popular media between 1900 and 1940; the various laboratories of UsefulNotes/NikolaTesla, which actually did feature gigantic incomprehensible machinery, scary robotic devices, Tesla coils, and lots of gaudy electric-arc effects.

All of the film, TV, and comic versions of the Mad Scientist's Lab derive originally from Gothic horror stories of the 18th and 19th centuries, the most famous of them being Creator/MaryShelley's novel ''Frankenstein'' and Creator/HGWells' ''The Island of Doctor Moreau.'' The concept developed from older stories about the lairs of alchemists and sorcerers. The Enlightenment put paid to many kinds of mystical dabbling by dilettantes, tinkerers, and wealthy eccentrics, but these characters were replaced in the public imagination by gentleman scientists -- many of them self-taught, many very eccentric -- who built laboratories and observatories in their homes and made a number of important discoveries in the new disciplines of chemistry, physics, and biology.

The age of the gentleman scientist was ending by the 1850's, when the most famous of them, CharlesDarwin, published his Theory of Evolution. More and more, experimental research became associated with facilities provided by universities, foundations, museums, governments and industry. However, the romantic image of the mad scientist -- isolated from his fellows and angry with a world that would suppress his ideas -- has deep archetypal power. It's also [[EconomyCast dramatically compact]], needing only the scientist, an assistant, and a faithful servant or two as characters. The {{meme}}'s emotional energy and enactment efficiency has kept it alive into the 21st Century, and it's even routinely projected into future scenarios via television shows like ''Franchise/StarTrek'' and ''Series/TheOuterLimits1963''.

This is edging toward becoming a DiscreditedTrope, at least in the classic beaker/Jacob's Ladder/operating table configuration.
----
!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* Jail Scaglietti of ''MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha'' has the operating table, but lacks most of the other stuff. He makes up for it by having rows and rows and rows of PeopleJars.
* ''Anime/MazingerZ'': BigBad Dr. Hell had his own laboratory installed in his SuperVillainLair, but it was barely seen in the series. [[TheProfessor Dr. Kabuto's]] lab in the original manga also counts.
* Washuu from ''TenchiMuyo'' has a giant laboratory that spans ''five planets'', set up in other-dimensional space and accessible through a door that is usually located under the stairs in Tenchi's house, but which can vanish or move as Washuu wills it.
* Professor Franken Stein from ''Manga/SoulEater'' has quite an interesting home/lab. Stitched patterns are found randomly throughout the house, both the inside and outside (and also on his clothes and even his person). He has an older looking computer and many chemistry related items such as a Bunsen burner, beakers, Erlenmeyer flasks, etc. Arrows are painted on the floor pointing in different directions, usually away and toward doorways.
** He no doubt has an operating table somewhere in his lab, since he has an affinity for dissecting things. Anything.
* In ''Manga/WildFangs'', Syon was [[BioAugmentation created]] and grew up in one of these, of the castle dungeon variety.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]

* Merlin's cottage in Disney's ''Disney/TheSwordInTheStone'' is one of these. In that film, he's a powerful wizard who uses magic to teach science to young Arthur.
* The ''Film/JamesBond'' films had their resident good-guy MadScientist, Q; almost every film features a peek into his lab, which usually features several [[TheIgor assistants]] participating in such dubious experiments as testing a new bulletproof vest by putting one on and getting shot.
* Dr. Putrid T. Gangrene's lab in ''Film/ReturnOfTheKillerTomatoes'' certainly qualifies, but he isn't mad, just a little angry.
* ''Film/SkyCaptainAndTheWorldOfTomorrow'' (2004). The laboratory of Dr Walter Jennings (with mutated fetus and tiny elephant), and the room in [[TheShangriLa Shangri-La]] (shown in a deleted scene) where Totenkopf conducted experiments on radiation victims from his uranium mine.
** Dr. Totenkopf requires a special mention here as his 'laboratory' is a whole factory complex, complete with a [[spoiler: rocket launch silo]].
* ''Film/IronMan'' Tony Stark has an updated version in the basement of his house. [[TheIgor Robot assistants]], machine shop, [[InformedAbility electronics fabrication]], CADCAM system.
* ''Film/DayOfTheDead'' (1985).
* Dr. Rotwang's laboratory in ''Film/{{Metropolis}}'' (1927) is perhaps the earliest example of the trope on film, and features all the necessary paraphernalia, along with large pentagrams to tie him to the classical magician/alchemist archetypes.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]

* Deconstructed a little in TeresaEdgerton's ''[[{{Celydonn}} The Castle of the Silver Wheel]]'' by Gwenlliant's reaction to Lord Cado's wizard's laboratory. When Gwenlliant - who grew up at court and was taught by the resident alchemist / wizard - first sees Cado's laboratory, she is immediately uneasy, knowing that he must be a bad wizard - "either not very principled, or not very wise". No proper wizard would bother to keep so many showy magical experiments running at once; they would be set up one at a time for research purposes, and would not be shown off to visitors.
* No surprise that ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' can't have a scene in a magic-user's residence without poking fun at the Mad ''Wizard's'' Laboratory variant of this trope. Most common are jokes about how they all order identical decor out of a kit: pre-dribbled candles, dusty skulls (with optional raven on top), mysterious alchemical glass apparati (usually filled with green-dyed water and soap), and the sorcerer's equivalent of the Jacob's ladder, i.e. [[ApothecaryAlligator a stuffed alligator hanging from the ceiling]].
** We actually meet a dealer in such accoutrements in the Tiffany Aching series of ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' stories, as well as a catalog marketing the witch's version: packaged cobwebs (with optional rubber spiders), icky bubbly goo for cauldrons, big ominous mirrors with a selection of frames, enough dopey Wicca-wannabee amulets to strangle a giraffe, etc. Boffo!
*** Magrat was a sucker for this stuff in ''Discworld/WyrdSisters'', though Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax thought it was all a waste of time, though maybe good for "headology".
* ''Literature/ComradeDeath'', a short story by Gerald Kersh, features Sarek's Under World, the underground nightmare where his company's increasingly horrible chemical weapons are developed.
* The title character of ''TheChroniclesOfProfessorJackBaling'' has a rather mundane version of one of these in a shed in his backyard, but in the second episode he encounters some really sophisticated ones in the Prometheus Corporationís HQ, some of which even have Jacobís ladders and bubbling beakers.
* The eponymous MadScientist in HPLovecraft's ''Herbert West - Reanimator'' has a hidden laboratory, first in a dilapidated farm house and later in his cellar, for his experiments of [[OurZombiesAreDifferent dead body revival]] and other, [[{{Squick}} more gruesome]], things. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] in-universe, as he also pursues a quasi-legitimate career in medicine and research at the Arkham University and could procure scientific apparatus -without attracting unwanted attention- by plain old theft.
* ''The Probability Broach'', by L. Neil Smith. Lampshaded by the protagonist when he enters the lab in the Colorado State University that (unknown to him) is actually a gate to an AlternateUniverse.
* In ''Literature/HeartOfSteel'', Alistair Mechanus has a sprawling labyrinth of a lair inside a dormant volcano on Shark Reef Isle, mainly comprised of laboratory and research space.
* The [[Literature/GauntsGhosts Gaunt's Ghosts']] main objective in ''Salvation Reach'' is to [[spoiler: raid a well-defended Chaos research facility and capture as much intelligence material as possible, which may be further used in advantage to the Crusade. The laboratory is described as grim halls filled with strange and disturbing devices. Although they cannot read them, even mere touch of scrolls and dataslates stored there fills the Imperial Guardsmen with a feeling of dread.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]
* For seven seasons, the villains on ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'' worked in an ElaborateUndergroundBase - the audience occasionally glimpsed chemistry equipment, chalkboards, computer consoles and mysterious air ducts. Things became tighter when the villains' [[SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute replacements]] had to work out of a space-travel-equipped VW Microbus, but that was for only one season - they returned to a [[HauntedCastle more appropriate environment]] soon enough.
** In the [[ScrewedByTheNetwork Screwed By The Studio]] [[TheMovie Motion Picture]], Dr F's lab gets a major overhaul. Complete with a fish tank packed with acid.
* ''Series/{{Firefly}}'': The Academy.
* ''Series/BreakingBad'': The meth lab on wheels. It's got the smoking flasks, mysterious coloured goo, and pretty much anything else they can cover with RuleOfCool.
* ''{{Series/Supernatural}}''. Played straight in "Monster Movie", where the MonsterOfTheWeek is a fan of monster movies like ''Film/{{Frankenstein|1931}}'', and so has his own laboratory to electrocute Dean via BigElectricSwitch. More updated versions are seen in "Asylum" and "The Man Who Would Be King" -- the latter being the most disturbing of all [[spoiler:given that it involves AffablyEvil Crowley dissecting demons while discussing business with supposed good-guy Castiel.]]
* ''Series/GameOfThrones''. The maester's laboratory in "The Children" is a MedievalEuropeanFantasy version once [[MadDoctor disgraced ex-maester Qyburn]] starts PlayingWithSyringes on a dying [[TheDreaded Ser Gregor Clegane]].
-->'''Queen Cersei:''' You can save him?
-->'''Qyburn:''' Difficult to say, your Grace. But if [[TestedOnHumans my past work is any guide]]... we stand a chance.
-->'''Cersei:''' Do everything you can. Come to me for anything you need.
-->'''Qyburn:''' Thank you, your Grace. You should know, the process may, [[CameBackWrong change him.]] Somewhat.
-->'''Cersei:''' Will it weaken him?
-->'''Qyburn:''' ''[[CameBackStrong Oh, no.]]''
* StarTrek: the interior of a Borg ship can come across like this. Notably at the start of "Dark Frontier part 1", the ship is lit by blue flashes and the sound of electrical arcs, with the occasional burst of steam, even ''before'' they enter combat with Voyager.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Pinball]]
* The entire playfield for ''Pinball/StrangeScience'' is decorated like a classic laboratory. Operators can also install a backbox topper resembling a Jacob's Ladder with an electric arc between the poles.
* The "Tower" table in ''[[VideoGame/ThreeDUltraPinballCreepNight 3-D Ultra Pinball: Creep Night]]'' takes place in one of these.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Roleplay]]
* In Roleplay/DinoAttackRPG, XERRD - an entire organization of {{Mad Scientist}}s - has three notable Mad Scientist Laboratories where they perform experiments on dinosaurs: the Dino Island Laboratory, the LEGO Island Laboratory, and the Adventurers' Island XERRD Fortress.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]
* SpiritOfTheCentury has an interesting play on this with Der Blitzmann, a German MadScientist has a portable lab, in the form of his mechanical exoskeleton. Despite the nontraditional size and style, it does come complete with Tesla Coils. Weaponized Tesla Coils.
** Given some of the other [=NPCs=], it's hard to not to imagine their secret lairs set up this way:
*** Dr. Methusala seems to set up a lab wherever he happens to be conducting his latest experiments, and probably has more chalkboard and less stuff lying around.
*** Baroness Blackheart probably has a good old fashioned alchemical lab, complete with smoking cauldron and eye of newt.
*** Mizrahi probably has something somewhere between the two, filled with chalkboards, but also with various kabbalistic paraphernalia.
** Heck, considering that the Mad Scientist is a possible character build, and having a laboratory is no real problem, the [=PCs=] could easily play to this trope.
* A lab is very important to the protagonists of ''TabletopGame/GeniusTheTransgression''. The problem is that lab space is expensive and obsessively making things that break when {{Muggles}} touch them is [[PerpetualPoverty bad for the bank balance]].
* The Nazi base Festung Seig from ''TabletopGame/RocketAge'' includes laboratories for their scientists.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Toys]]

* LEGOFriends brings us Olivia's Inventor's Workshop, complete with colored beakers of liquid and helpful robot assistant. Might be a bit too pink to completely qualify, though.
** LEGO Studios and LEGO Monster Fighters play this trope more straightly, with each line's resident MadScientist having his own personal laboratory where he creates a CaptainErsatz of FrankensteinsMonster.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* The base editor in ''VideoGame/CityOfVillains'' has all requisite mad science lab items, with classic items ranging from operating tables to jacob's ladders of various sizes to organs in jars (ranging from preserved to rotted), and more modern items like microscopes, X-Ray machines, and LCD monitors.
* This is the whole ''point'' of the sandbox game ''VideoGame/EvilGenius''.
* The Forsaken in VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft apparently discovered this trope in the ''Wrath of the Lich King'' expansion, as their bases in Northrend tend to be full of traditional MadScientist equipment like tesla coils, jacob's ladders and mechanical arms that move vials of [[TechnicolorScience glowing chemicals]] around.
* Mad Science Castle in ''VideoGame/MonsterLab'' is, of course, ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin. You get no less than four laboratories, three that correspond with the three disciplines of mad science (mechanics, biology and alchemy) and a fourth where LightningCanDoAnything.
* A large number of them exist in ''VideoGame/DeusEx''. Somewhat justified in that several factions are technocratic cabals who see "technology alone as a source of political power," and [[BlackAndGreyMorality some of them are on your side]]. Still, applies mainly to scientists serving the BigBad.
* The whole Gouma-Den in the [[RaidouKuzunohaVsTheSoullessArmy Rai]][[RaidouKuzunohaVsKingAbaddon dou]] duology. Hosted by [[LargeHam lovable]] [[MilkingTheGiantCow lunatic]] [[MadScientist Dr]]. [[ShoutOut Victor]]. Complete with virtually all of the accoutrements of the standard lab.
* The Big MT (Big Empty) in ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas: Old World Blues'' is a [[NoOSHACompliance non-OSHA compliant]] research facility run by MadScientist [[BrainInAJar Brains in Jars]]. Both this and the main game have chemistry sets where you can [[ItemCrafting craft drugs]].
* Henry Stauf has one in VideoGame/TheSeventhGuest, rather well hidden in his mansion. It is infamously known for a now-impossible minigame of Infection inside a microscope there. On top of that, a rather squicky cutscene can be watched of a ghost patient who wakes up and finds that half of his head is missing, then reaches down and tries to put his brain back.
* Doctor Pickles has a couple of places in ''StayTooned'' replete with items of this trope, some of which can be interacted with.
** '''Dr. Pickles:''' ''"Will you help me with mein experiment?"''
* Butchery Loves Company, the Frankenstein-inspired starting level of the fourth episode in ''VideoGame/{{Blood}}'', complete with all of the listed features.
* One of these can be found in ''VideoGame/TheUltimateHauntedHouse'', in the house's basement, belonging to [[MadScientist Dr. Synthesis]]. You can use it to create a monster of your own, or even use parts found in the house to put together [[FrankensteinsMonster the Ultimate Monster]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]

* ''Webcomic/{{Narbonic}}'' has these, of course, and lampshades the trope on occasion. ([[http://www.webcomicsnation.com/users/narbonic/032803on_the.jpg example]])
* Every Spark worth their salt in ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'' possesses one of these.
** One? Why stop at one?
** Castle Heterodyne has quite a lot of them, so every Spark in the family can perform their own experiments without getting in each other's way. And so they don't have to drag the bodies far when the urge strikes.
** In the novel ("Agatha H. and the Airship City", an expanded prose version of the first few comic volumes) Agatha asks Gil why he needs four labs aboard Castle Wulfenbach. He replies that his father has ''forty-three'' plus two ground-based facilities, so by comparison he's a model of efficiency. And that's not counting all the other labs on Castle Wulfenbach that the Baron set up for his employees, one of which is labeled "Lab Full of Exploding Things #5".
* The Opians, an alien race in ''Webcomic/ThogInfinitron'', have an interstellar spacecraft with an [[http://www.drunkduck.com/Thog_Infinitron/index.php?p=428274 onboard laboratory where they engineer ways to destroy Thog.]]
* In ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' Riff rents out some tunnels to act as his secret, underground lab. At least when Minion Master's not using it as his "Domicile of Evil."
* Subverted in ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive''. Tedd's lab consists of a desk, computer, and a place to test the [[TransformationRay TF Gun]].
* Professor Joseph Corwin in ''Webcomic/TalesOfGnosisCollege'' houses his Apsinthion Device, a tank with a tentacle monster, and in impressive amount of weird glassware in a mad scientist's laboratory located in a derelict red-brick ''brewery'' that rather resembles an old-fashioned castle.
* ''Webcomic/EvilPlan'': Doctor Kinesis has a multi-level lab, complete with minions and a vat of "acid."
* Dottore's lab in ''[[http://commedia2x00.wordpress.com Commedia 2X00]]'' is packed with this stuff--literally, in the storage basement, the boxes are labeled with things like "blinkenlights", "boss themes (casettes)", and "mecha-piranhas, x-mas decs". Being Dottore, it's also stocked with warp-pipes, wall-mounted chainsaws, an inexplicable fiery lake of lava (complete with Heli-Kraken...)
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The Science Lab in ''KateModern: Precious Blood'' is a [[ElaborateUndergroundBase mazelike underground nuclear bunker]] in which the Order carried out gory "research".
* [[WebVideo/DoctorHorriblesSingAlongBlog Dr. Horrible]] seems to have one of these in his kitchen.
* [=LifesBlood Labs=], and specifically Maggie's "magical place filled with wonders", in ''WebVideo/LG15TheResistance''.
* ''DoctorSteel'' has one, seen on his website and in his videos, located on a mysterious secret island in the Pacific.
* As prevalent as mad scientists are in the ''Roleplay/GlobalGuardiansPBEMUniverse, these are all over the place.
* AgamemnonTiberiusVacuum has a very high-tech "pretty bad-ass" one in ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdvo86kPcnQ The Experimentasium]]''.
* Parodied with [[http://www.scp-wiki.net/scp-1417-j SCP-1417-J]], a joke [[SCPFoundation SCP]] who uses psychic powers to play childish pranks on people unless surrounded by over-the-top HollywoodScience equipment.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/DextersLaboratory'' is a little light on the flatware, but even so he occasionally carries around a beaker. More often, he can be seen endlessly turning a nut with a wrench, against a background of computer banks, et al.
* Jack Spicer from ''WesternAnimation/XiaolinShowdown'' has a slightly more detailed laboratory than Dexter, but again, much more often computer-y than chemistry-set based.
* In ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'', [[EvilGenius Tarantulas]] has several, while Megatron and Scorponok have labs too, to name just a few.
* Averted in ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' where Professor Farnsworth's lab is usually suprisingly sparse, with only one piece of equipment at a time.
** Although in one episode he's shown to have about a dozen different {{doomsday device}}s tucked away.
* In ''WesternAnimation/HeManAndTheMastersOfTheUniverse1983'', Man-At-Arms has a big and impressive lab (good for those trademark {{Creator/Filmation}} long, slow pans), though it's not at all sinister-looking, since he's a nice guy.
* The ''MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' episode "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E15FeelingPinkieKeen Feeling Pinkie Keen]]" showed one of these in Twilight Sparkle's basement.
[[/folder]]
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