->''When you're a recovering mad scientist, you're always afraid you'll lose control and wake up some morning with a half-built time machine in the living room and a plan to go back in time and pants [[UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler Hitler]].''

''[[http://www.project-apollo.net/mos/ A Miracle of Science]]'' is a [[Mohs/WorldOfPhlebotinum science fiction]] {{webcomic}} written by Jon Kilgannon and drawn by Mark Sachs. It ran from 2002 to 2007 and was set in the year 2148, when humanity has spread across the solar system from Venus to Ganymede and robotics and artificial intelligence are well-developed advanced sciences. Also of note is the science of memetics, which can be used to treat (or cause) psychological issues. Of key importance in the story is one specific meme, ScienceRelatedMemeticDisorder (or, more colloquially, [[MadScientist mad science]]).

Key characters include Benjamin Prester, a field agent of the Vorstellen Police, a law-enforcement agency specializing in SRMD; Caprice Quevillion, a Martian forensic psychiatrist assigned as his partner; and Virgil Haas, the MadScientist they attempt to capture. The story opens not long after Mars, a [[CrystalSpiresAndTogas utopian]] [[HiveMind group intelligence]], has ended a century of self-imposed isolation.

Given its MadScientist motif, one should expect that a significant number of those tropes appear as important plot points in the comic. In fact, given the science of memetics, the characters themselves use tropes (common examples being the ChaseScene and the {{Denouement}}) as psychological aids when dealing with mad scientists.

Kilgannon and Sachs went on to collaborate on a second webcomic, ''Webcomic/AfterlifeBlues''.
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!!This webcomic provided the name of:
* ScienceRelatedMemeticDisorder: The name of the mad science disease.

!!And examples of:
* AbsentAliens: Mars's version of [[http://project-apollo.net/mos/mos138.html SETI]] turns up with lots of aliens...[[spoiler:but they're all dead. By at least a thousand years. "You've got to love existential angst on a planetary level."]]
* AGodIAmNot: Mars is quick to [[http://project-apollo.net/mos/mos023.html point out]] that it isn't omnipotent; merely extremely powerful.
* AmericaTakesOverTheWorld: Well, not exactly the world, but they seem to have taken over Canada. And there's a space colony that's nominally in the US, contravening present-day treaties.
** Annexing nearby countries isn't just a US thing in the [=AMoS=]-verse, either; Peru has been absorbed into Brazil.
* AndMissionControlRejoiced: When Mars found out that [[spoiler: Caprice is still alive]].
* AndroidsArePeopleToo: No one doubts that even for a millisecond.
* AntiVillain: Yes, Virgil Haas is a MadScientist. Yes, he wants to take over the world. But he'd rather not kill anyone to do it. Like [[spoiler:the crews of the civilian ships with which he could have rammed the first ''Qin'']].
* {{Autodoc}}: [[http://www.project-apollo.net/mos/mos349.html The hospital]]. A rare example of a ''sentient'' Autodoc.
* BadassBoast: Delivered to an apathetic police officer: "Sergeant, I've just been to the outer solar system and back to track down a mad scientist. I've been shot at with secret weapons, destroyed robots that could take down tanks, and fallen from orbit without benefit of a re-entry vehicle. ''[beat]'' I don't need your rudeness added to my troubles, okay?"
* BadassLongcoat: Benjamin wears one most of the time.
* [[strike:[[BatmanCanBreatheInSpace Batman]]]] [[BatmanCanBreatheInSpace Caprice Can Breathe In Space]]: Thanks to Martian technology being SufficientlyAdvanced to keep a pocket of air around her wherever she goes.
* BigGuyLittleGuy: Dryden and Chaucer, respectively, are a robotic version and thus able to take the trope to new heights: Chaucer is the size and shape of a hamster ball; Dryden is several times bigger than a human.
* BlackEyesOfEvil: Minus the "evil" part. See the VoiceOfTheLegion entry below.
* BlastingItOutOfTheirHands: Seems to be an unfortunately regular situation for Benjamin.
* BroughtDownToNormal: [[spoiler:Caprice Quevillion was disconnected from Mars]]. [[SubvertedTrope Subverted]].
* CartridgesInFlight: [[http://www.project-apollo.net/mos/mos022.html This page]] shows a closeup of several bullets being stopped in mid-flight. Note that the cartridges are still attached.
* ChaseScene[=/=]{{Denouement}}, as mentioned. The ChaseScene is actually a vital part of proper treatment of SRMD; if the MadScientist is not given the psychological fulfillment of a direct confrontation with authority, he'll go even ''more'' crazy.
* CheerfulChild: Wei Quevillion, Caprice's seven-year-old sister.
* ChekhovsGun: [[spoiler:Benjamin Prester]]'s therapy is [[http://project-apollo.net/mos/mos270.html reported to be robust against anything less than a major psychological disturbance]].
-->'''[[TheRant Jon Kilgannon]]:''' [[LampshadeHanging This page is guaranteed to be 100% free of]] {{foreshadowing}}. [[BlatantLies I swear]].
* CloserThanTheyAppear: [[http://www.project-apollo.net/mos/mos354.html This strip]] does it with a pair of glowing evil eyes in the middle of a chase scene.
* ConcealmentEqualsCover: Subverted on [[http://www.project-apollo.net/mos/mos323.html this page]]. When Benjamin is attempting to take cover behind an upturned table, the man shooting at him simply shoots ''through'' the table...and then mocks him for taking cover behind such a flimsy object.
* CrystalSpiresAndTogas: Mars.
* CutLexLuthorACheck: {{Justified|Trope}} as actual insanity, but also subverted as mad scientists' inventions are quickly turned into useful technology for everyone. It's implied that {{The Government}}'s willingness to cut those checks is what led to the advanced society depicted in the comic.
* CyberpunkWithAChanceOfRain: Venus is like this.
* DaChief: Agent Nyerere.
* {{Determinator}}: Benjamin is very stubborn man; he is more than willing to push through any kind of obstacle to achieve his goal. Best shown in the final face-off against Haas, with his response to YouCanBarelyStand. [[spoiler:Of course, once Haas surrenders and Benjamin has reached his goal, he promptly [[PostVictoryCollapse collapses]]]].
** Mad scientists in general, unless you're able to set up confrontation, chase and denouement for them.
* EverybodyLives: Ends with zero casualties.
* EvilLaugh: Mad scientists do this ''a lot''
** If you get a group of them together in one place, [[spoiler:though Benjamin is so far the only known example of an SRMD sufferer who sought out allies]], they will apparently hold ''contests''.
* ExpandedStatesOfAmerica: Mostly background material, but not only has the United States annexed more land on Earth (Benjamin was born in what is current-day Canada, but part of the U.S. in the comic), but at least one part of the lunar colony is American. It's not the only country to have expanded; Brazil has annexed at least part of modern-day Peru.
* FlatWhat: The Venusian customs agents, when their [[InstantAIJustAddWater Martian Detector]] suddenly gets up, walks away, and wishes him luck on his upcoming proposal.
* ForScience: Goes without saying, given the cast.
* GeniusBruiser: The Pindars, which [[http://www.project-apollo.net/mos/mos393.html gets on Chaucer's nerves at one point]]:
-->'''Chaucer:''' Rrrg! I told Doctor Haas he shouldn't make you Pindars so smart.
-->'''Pindar-Two:''' I'm going to take that as a compliment.
* GeniusLoci: The Martian people form a collective consciousness.
-->'''Caprice:''' Mars likes you.
-->'''Benjamin:''' That's like saying "''Brazil'' has decided you're ''cute''".
* GenkiGirl: Wei Quevillion, as the protagonists comment on [[http://www.project-apollo.net/mos/mos166.html this page]].
* GoodCopBadCop: Caprice being the good cop to Benjamin's bad cop. [[http://project-apollo.net/mos/mos266.html Lampshaded]].
** A more dramatic example comes after [[http://project-apollo.net/mos/mos278.html they drop in on Dr. Beatriz Juruna]].
* GoodHairEvilHair:
** In addition to [[ScaryShinyGlasses his glasses]], as noted below, one sign that Haas has developed ScienceRelatedMemeticDisorder is that [[HairAntennae his bangs suddenly jut up and out]], managing to look like horns, or perhaps broken antennae.
** [[spoiler:Benjamin]] also has a different hairstyle when he's in mad science mode. Notably, he messes his hair back into this style when he relapses. Maybe everyone has "normal" hair and "Mad Science" hair...
* GracefulLoser: Most mad scientists end up being pretty relieved that they're stopped.
* GratuitousGerman: "Vorstellen Polizei" (the name of the "Vorstellen Police" that written over the entrance to its HQ) is bad German for "Imagination Police". The correct form would be "Vorstellungs-Polizei" or something like that.
* GroundShatteringLanding: When Benjamin and Caprice crash into the surface of Mars from orbit.
* HiveMind: Mars again, if you couldn't tell.
** Mars, however, works differently from most in that all members are their own individuals. They relay information to each other, and there is a distinct unified "Mars" meta-personality that can take possession when appropriate, but [[spoiler:all information is not immediately shared; the hive mind is divided in two, like the hemispheres of the brain. The Martians' greatest fear is that if both hemispheres were totally connected, the ''entire planet'' would become collectively susceptible to SRMD--with the safety redundancies removed, a single case could spread rapidly through the population]].
** Haas also has built an army of information-gathering robots that function on a simpler level like this.
* HonestAdvisor: Chaucer. Dr. Haas complains that Chaucer's always picking holes in his plans; Chaucer's response is that he's trying to ''help'', and merely being a yes-man isn't helpful.
* HotScientist: Dr. Juruna.
* HumanCannonball: Suborbital Express variant. A one-man pod is shot into space with a giant cannon, design courtesy of a MadScientist. When it fails, LudicrousGibs result. Fortunately, the failure rate isn't very large...
* HypocriticalHumor: A background character [[http://www.project-apollo.net/mos/mos162.html here]] says "no one who is in favor of eugenics should be allowed to reproduce".
* ImagineSpot: Used in the explanation of the benefits of an AI HiveMind. Apparently, unlinked computers think about socks.
* InsistentTerminology: It is a thing mad scientists do. Special mention, though, goes to Beatriz "That's ''Doctor''" Juruna.
** Also of note: [[spoiler:Benjamin Prester insists on not being called "Ben"]].
* InstantAIJustAddWater: "Any device complex enough to detect Martians is going to eventually become self-aware."
** Though this may be an intentional ploy on the Martians' part, since they built the machine in the first place. And [[http://project-apollo.net/mos/mos395.html Caprice does admit]] that they had to do a bit of bribery to make sure all the parts got installed.
*** Considering that the AI in question [[spoiler:nearly instantly rebuilds herself as a powerful combat robot that's more than a match for Haas's entire army]], it might be that those parts were for giving her capability to do so, not AI itself.
* JustAMachine: [[spoiler: Hass reacts to Dryden's betrayal]] by calling him an "ungrateful device". This is actually played with: the author notes that he's actually saying the most hurtful thing he can think of, because he knows Dryden IS a person and has feelings to hurt.
* LensFlare: Used in the epilogue [[http://www.project-apollo.net/mos/mos426.html here]] and [[http://www.project-apollo.net/mos/mos432.html here]].
* KillerRobot: Averted. Even Pindars (giant, nearly-indestructible war machines created by a MadScientist) prefer to ''intimidate'' their enemies rather than actually harm them.
* KnowledgeBroker: Taro Watanuki, one of the very few people who can get away with calling Benjamin "Benny." [[spoiler: It's {{Foreshadowing}} to show that there's more to Prester than first let on, and how Taro knows more than it first seems.]] Benjamin uses him to get leads on the case early on.
* LightningBruiser: The Pindars.
* MadScientist: Dr. Haas, Dr. Juruna, and [[spoiler:Ben Prester]].
* MagicalGirl: Caprice arguably qualifies as a super-science version of this, of the CuteWitch variety.
* MamaBear[=/=]PapaWolf: Mars is [[http://www.project-apollo.net/mos/mos358.html very protective of its people]]. That link is full of implicit spoilers, by the way.
* MentalFusion: See HiveMind, above.
* MindHive: While referred too as a hive mind, Mars is more strictly this: a metapersonality based on the gestalt of all networked Martians as mediated by their data network.
* MissionControl: Mars plays this role on occasion.
* {{Nanomachines}}: The main source of the Martians' advanced technology.
* NoMedicationForMe: One SRMD sufferer, Manny Delger, notes that he can't perform even ''non''-mad science when he takes his treatment under the recommended daily regimen -- he claims it makes his head feel "stuffed full of felt." He takes it on alternating days, which leaves him able to work on robotics and networking... but also makes him increasingly paranoid and has Benjamin worry about the potential for a relapse into SRMD.
* NoodleIncident: There are multiple references to the case Benjamin wrapped up previous to the Haas case, involving a Dr. Hanford, although we don't find out any specifics beyond the fact that it involved genetic engineering in some fashion.
* PeoplesRepublicOfTyranny: The People's Republic of the Moon, a drab-looking lunar colony that's heavily implied to be a Communist state (USSR imitation), at least at the time of flashback.
* PlotTechnology: subverted. When mad scientists are captured, their inventions and research are used for the benefit of society as a whole.
* TheRant: Reading Jon and Mark's columns is strictly optional, but they offer a bit more insight into the comic's world and also occasional scientific lectures.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: Chief Nyerere and (oddly enough) Haas. In the latter's case while he may be an insane mad scientist trying to take over the world, he does listen to Chaucer and Dryden when they give him advice (even if he does threaten to disassemble the poor fellows occasionally).
* RedHeadedHero: Benjamin.
* RedOniBlueOni: Fabula and Syuzhet, color-coded little ball-shaped robots from the Martian Constabulary.
* RefugeInAudacity: [[InvokedTrope Invoked]] by Benjamin when trying to get through customs on Venus. He makes quite a show of revealing his railgun (which has been decorated with a rainbow and a unicorn by Caprice's sister) and discussing it with customs, because he knows it's completely legal and he'll be allowed to take it through. This way he keeps all the attention on himself instead of Caprice, who by law is ''not'' allowed on Venus.
* RememberWhenYouBlewUpASun: See BadassBoast above.
* RidiculouslyHumanRobots: Robots with sentience will talk to themselves out loud; in fact, Benjamin points out that ''only'' sentient AI's are known to do this: suggesting it's actually rather common amongst them.
** Also averted insofar as the robots are rarely, if ever humanoid, being shaped to their purposes.
* RunningGag: Benjamin has an unfortunate habit of being victim to BlastingItOutOfTheirHands.
* SanitySlippage: Noticeable in [[spoiler:Benjamin]] if you know what you're looking for, though thankfully [[spoiler:he gets better.]]
* SapientShip: Qin, although its AI core can be removed. [[spoiler: Which is fortunate, because Dr. Haas ultimately destroys the first ship Qin inhabits.]]
* ScaryShinyGlasses: The only time Dr. Haas doesn't have these is in the prologue, just before he catches SRMD.
* ScrewTheRulesImDoingWhatsRight: Benjamin's stance when he and Caprice are to investigate Haas on Venus, which has laws barring Martians (like Caprice) from entering. He quotes his boss' philosophy on how one shouldn't obey unjust laws, and said boss asks that everyone at headquarters forget he ever said that should Benjamin's and Caprice's actions become public knowledge.
* SexByProxy: A romantic example: everyone on Mars ''loves'' Prester.
* ShutUpKiss: [[spoiler:on the [[LastMinuteHookup penultimate page]]]]
* ShownTheirWork: Kilgannon and Sachs are both computer professionals and science geeks, and it shows, making ''Webcomic/AMiracleOfScience'' one of the hardest-SF webcomics out there. They're courteous enough to confine the worst of the infodumps to the "John/Mark Sez" columns beside the latest panel.
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: Solidly Idealist.
* StarSpangledSpandex[=/=]BishieSparkle: Caprice's hair; WordOfGod says it's a fashion accessory.
* SufficientlyAdvancedAliens: subverted with the Martians, which are Sufficiently Advanced but actually human.
* TakeOverTheWorld: A seemingly common compulsion among mad scientists. Unusually for a MadScientist story, we get several hints as to ''how'', exactly, the various loonies in the story intend to "improve" the solar system once they're in charge of it.
* TalkingYourWayOut: When [[spoiler:Caprice]] is captured, [[http://project-apollo.net/mos/mos344.html she pulls this off]] by convincing [[spoiler:Dryden]] that [[spoiler:[[http://project-apollo.net/mos/mos359.html the only way to stop Mars from attacking is to get her access to a telephone]]]].
* ThemeNaming: All of Virgil Haas's robots, much like himself, are named after famous writers and poets.
* ThereAreNoTherapists: Averted. Both main cast members ''are'' therapists -- Benjamin is equally as much a counselor for mad scientists as a detective, and Caprice is a medical doctor and psychiatrist. Therapy for Mad Scientists is a major plot point.
* ThouShaltNotKill: Benjamin Prester, Caprice Quevillion, and even Virgil Haas are or become unwilling to kill innocents. How well they stick by this rule during a disaster tells quite a bit about their resistance to [[VillainousBreakdown Breakdown]], and in Prester's case, CharacterDevelopment.
* TomeOfEldritchLore: While not mentioned directly in the plotline, it's mentioned in the site's glossary that the book ''Crank Theories of Robotics'' is a known cause of SRMD; effectively, one can become a MadScientist simply by reading it. Doctor Haas is seen with it in the prologue.
* TrojanHorse: [[spoiler: Sally the Martian detector]] and presumably other Martian technology that could be used against Mars. Although Caprice says Mars never does this with ''actual gifts,'' even to Venusians and even as useful as build-anything autofactories.
* TropersDoItWithoutNotability: "[[http://www.project-apollo.net/mos/mos360.html Astronomers do it in the dark]]"
* UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans: Haas has a bad case of this.
* VoiceOfTheLegion: Whenever the Martian group mind speaks through one of its members. Said member simultaneously acquires BlackEyesOfEvil: minus the "evil" part.
** The Voice is visually represented by the speaker's spoken or telepathic dialogue being written in '''BOLD CAPS''', the rest of the bubble being filled with repetitions of what is being said, in different-sized typefaces and various shades of gray. At one point, when Mars finds out that [[spoiler:Caprice isn't dead]], the telepathic response is jumbled up with about two dozen different expressions of relief, most of them in lowercase.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: Virgil Haas is pretty much this. He's a MadScientist, yeah, and he's willing to hijack ships and kill people who are on his trail. But he doesn't want to kill innocent civilians, and he's intent on [[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans taking over the world to create a society where robots do all the drudge work, so that humans can dedicate themselves entirely to pursuits of art, science, exploration, and leisure.]]
* WhatTheHellHero: Caprice immediately calls Benjamin out on his plan to escape Haas' attack on their ship by blasting up five civilian ships and killing a few hundred people. [[spoiler:This may or may not have been foreshadowing.]]
* WigDressAccent: Subverted in [[http://www.project-apollo.net/mos/mos304.html this page]] by having a poorly-disguised version of the protagonists going through customs... and then having the ''actual'' protagonists enter the scene in the next page.
* WreckedWeapon: Benjamin has a gun [[spoiler: that he just built with his mad science abilities]] [[BlastingItOutOfTheirHands shot out of his hand]]. Twice.
-->'''Ben:''' ''[mild hysterics]'' [[CrowningMomentOfFunny "He shot my gun!]] He ''shot'' my ''gun!'' Why are you ''negotiating with the man who '''SHOT MY GUN?!'''"''
* YouCanBarelyStand: Word for word, in the final Chase Scene.
* YouGottaHaveBlueHair: Blue hair runs in Caprice's family, presumably on her mother's side; her dad has brown hair, but every other Quevillion we see has some shade of blue hair. There's a smattering of extras with oddly colored hair, either flat-out unnatural or just [[DarkSkinnedBlond matching oddly]] [[DarkSkinnedRedhead with their skin tone]]. Mind you, it could just be that dyeing your hair unnatural colours is more normalized in 2148. (Although given the Martians' advanced technology it's possible that they have in fact invented the blue hair gene.)
* YouHaveFailedMe: Haas threatens this several times for any deviation from his expectations. Caprice notes that it's one of the symptoms of SRMD.
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