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Mad Scientist

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"So much has been done — more, far more, will I achieve: treading in the steps already marked, I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation..."
Victor Frankenstein, Frankenstein

The Science Hero was once a staple of adventure fiction, overcoming the Evil Sorcerer and awing the superstitious natives with the power of Science! But somewhere between the invention of the Gatling gun and the atomic bomb, fiction-creators deconstructed him to create a new kind of villain: a villain who believes that the conventional scientific community are fools! Needlessly constrained by their petty 'morals' and their self-limiting 'logic'!

The Mad Scientist fulfills many needs for a story's creator, allowing him to fit into a wide range of stories. He's mentally unsound, which allows the story's creator to cover a weak motive or Bond Villain Stupidity with a Hand Wave. This also helps the creator of the story explain why he kept all his incriminating records and yet doesn't have a duplicate monster or at least a blueprint lying around. Secondly, he's a scientist, which in fiction means he can invent whatever strange device the plot requires. Thirdly, his insistence on weird experiments gives him artistic license to invent those devices. And lastly, a mad scientist is almost certain to violate the Scale of Scientific Sins: expect An Aesop (even if it's a preposterous one.)


The Mad Scientist accumulates certain tropes effortlessly. Gadgeteer Genius and the Mad Scientist Laboratory (or "la-bore-a-tory") are almost obligatory, his conversation is likely to include the phrases For Science! and They Called Me Mad!, and the Labcoat of Science and Medicine (classically, the Howie-style lab coat that buttons diagonally across the chest and has a Mandarin collar) can be expected. Most Mad Scientists are a Large Ham: some employ Sesquipedalian Loquacity, while others specialize in the Evil Laugh. Other common tropes include Above Good and Evil, Absent-Minded Professor, Applied Phlebotinum, Bald of Evil, Death Ray, Doomsday Device, Dr. Fakenstein, Einstein Hair, Gone Horribly Wrong, Herr Doktor (or simply What the Hell Is That Accent?), Hollywood Hacking, Humongous Mecha, The Igor, Killer Robot, Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter, Monster of the Week, Mr. Exposition, Mr. Fixit, Morally Ambiguous Doctorate, Omnidisciplinary Scientist, Professor Guinea Pig, and Techno Babble. An increasingly common take on this trope is that Mad Science is a dangerous superpower or even a mental disorder, either hereditary in which case the afflicted may come from a long line of mad scientists, or transmissible through contagious ideas or experiences.


At times a scientist will show signs of madness, but remain at least loosely allied with the heroes. In this case they may act as a somewhat demented smart guy, an extremely Eccentric Mentor, The Professor, Playful Hacker, Psycho Sidekick, Innocent Prodigy or Genius Ditz. These 'tamed' mad scientists are emphatically not 'safer' than their diabolical brethren. If an otherwise-(mostly) sane scientist starts behaving crazily while they're in the throes of creativity, they're visiting The Madness Place.

If a work has several Mad Scientists, you can expect them to be distinguished by their particular field of interest. While the classic Mad Scientist relies on electronic or mechanical engineering, there are others who become an Evilutionary Biologist, Psycho Psychologist or even The Cracker. If a scientist wants to concentrate on ordinary science but is being coerced into producing terrible things, he's a Reluctant Mad Scientist or even a Kidnapped Scientist.



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    Fan Works 
  • This forum story, The Mad Scientist Wars, uses this trope as its foundation stone. The players are all fans of the above-mentioned Narbonic and its new successor, Skin Horse (about a government agency that cleans up after Mad Scientists), so it was only natural.
  • In Rise Of Empress Midnight, Twilight's great uncle, Boris Sparkle, could qualify for this, considering he made the Alicorn Amulet.
  • In Transformers Meta, Wheeljack reprises his traditional role as this. Appropriately, he has pulled some pretty crazy stunts, and has invented some pretty implausible things, like grenades on a sword.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: Invoked. Ami's favorite running gag is dressing up in a white lab coat, flipping a large power switch and laughing maniacally; all in good fun.
  • In Brutal Harry Hermione's uncle George Granger's reaction to being told that magic exists is mad laughter followed by shouting "THERE WILL BE! SO MUCH SCIENCE!"
  • Rise Of The Chosen: In this Mega Man ZX fanfic, the OC Lateral is the Guardians' resident scientist. 99-percent nutter and 1-percent rational, the people who can put up with her eccentric and scatterbrained personality can be counted on one hand.
  • King Sombra in Equestria: A History Revealed was said to have initially been a normal king, with a love of scholarly pursuits. When he stumbles upon dark magic, he still takes a very scholarly, scientific approach, dutifully recording his observations, before he starts to lose his mind. Even when he performs his dark magic experiments, according to the questionable Lemony Narrator, he still felt the need to publish the results of his evil experiments with the rest of the world as a continuation of his science-loving side, and possibly his need for peer-review.
  • Twilight Sparkle in Pages Of Harmony is very much this, having an entire multi-roomed laboratory to extract the genetic essence of the Elements of Harmony from her friends.
  • Twilight also became an amoral Mad Scientist in Fallout: Equestria, torturing and killing countless zebra war prisoners and pony political dissidents and subjecting Discord to a Fate Worse than Death in an attempt to create a serum that would transform normal ponies into alicorns. She pays for her misdeeds when her serum manages to mutate Trixie into an Eldritch Abomination that promptly devours her and absorbs her mind.
  • It's very common to portray Twilight as a completely bonkers Mad Scientist in fan works, though whether or not she is good or evil varies wildly: Steamquestria's Twilight embodies every single mad scientist quirk there is but is still quite nice, loving, and caring (except for one time she "accidentally" made Spike 50ft tall and "accidentally" programmed him to destroy the city), while PONY.MOV's Twilight is only slightly less evil than Discord and Wolflor.
  • Virgo Zodiarts/Tachibana/Kunieru Emoto in Horseshoes and Hand Grenades who has not only been treating Sonada and Kijima with Cosmic Energy injections so that they can bring back their lost Horoscopes powers, he also transformed Ryusei into a brainwashed cyborg for reasons still not yet explained.
  • In Altered Histories Harry sees a goblin healer called Fangcutter who wears a bloodstained lab coat and possesses some rather dubious instruments, cuts Harry's skull open to remove the scar Horcrux while he's conscious and performs unspecified "experiments" after Harry's finally unconscious due to another medical procedure.
  • The Cadanceverse version of Carrot Top is a comedic mad scientist, always seeking new improvements in farming and food development, usually with hilarious results when things go wrong.
  • Eugenesis explicitly labels the Guardian droids, each of which has an annoying tendency to be ludicrously overpowered and liable to turn on its creators on a dime, as the creations of Wheeljack.
  • Eirin, later, Hisataka Nou, has developed a serum that turns humans into war beasts when searching for a potion of immortality in Game of Touhou.
  • In Tealove's Steamy Adventure, Baron Zeppeli is studying eye colors, of all things. He kidnaps Tealove so he can forcibly change her color. His lab assistants are a pair of unicorns, Cherry Pie and Waterfire, who constantly bicker with each other.
  • The Reactsverse:
  • Mythos Effect features Herbert West (of Re-Animator fame) employed by the New Earth Federation and actively encouraged in his obscene work. In his one scene so far, he's dissecting a Turian corpse and describing every way he can improve biological weapons to use against them, all with a smile on his face.
  • Pinkie Pie gets this in The Mare Who Once Lived On The Moon. While titled 'TESLA' for some Fun with Acronyms, she does have a worrying enthusiasm for the then-new discoveries of atomic science. And is entirely insane.
    • Twilight again ends up in this territory too. Shining Armour has to remind her that some of her plans, innocent to begin with, don't need much to turn into devastating weapons. "You don't mean to but, Twilight, there's stuff here that could change the world, and for a lot of ponies and horses and zebras it wouldn't be for the better."
  • Mad Scientists Anonymous plays with the idea that Dr Nambu from Science Ninja Team Gatchaman along with all the iterations from Battle of the Planets, G-Force: Guardians of Space, ''Eagle Riders" and the OAV version were all "as mad as a box of frogs," and sent them to a meeting of the eponymous support group. It goes about as well as you might expect.
  • Ask Brainy Twilight. In an odd play on this trope, she struggled with admitting she was one of these until she made a sapient flaming chainsword for a friend.
  • Similarly, Ask Researcher Twilight, although it's more Grimdark sprinkled with Black Comedy. Twilight has gone completely insane, and is hiding from the government after attepting to vivisect Celestia.
  • It's implied in To Hell and Back (Arrowverse) Barry dabbled in this while he was a member of the League of Assassins.

    Films — Animation 
  • The scientist from the original movie The Fly (1958) was the inspiration for Dr. Cockroach in Monsters vs. Aliens. Despite what he did to himself, and his lack of mental stability, he is a fairly amicable guy, and is actually one of the good guys.
    "I'm not a quack, I'm a mad scientist!"
  • The title alien in Megamind tries to engage in villainy by being a mad scientist, but despite his incredible gadgetry his attempt is more style than substance.
  • Dr. Jumba Jookiba from Lilo & Stitch (although he prefers to be called an "Evil Genius"). Actually, his trial is what got the movie going.
  • Dr. Finklestein from The Nightmare Before Christmas.
  • Syndrome from The Incredibles. Created rocket boots before he hit puberty, as part of a youthful desire to become a crime-fighter. But when his hero told him to back off, he spent more than a decade plotting against all the heroes-in-hiding and killing them off one by one. His ultimate goal is to sell his inventions for profit to make superheroes obsolete, after he'll grow bored of being a "superhero". His hair wasn't the only thing about him that was loco.
    • Edna Mode, the Gadgeteer Genius that the heroes turn to when they need a fashionable skintight costume that's also bombproof, laser-resistant and machine washable, is of the 'tame' variety and specializes in textile engineering.
  • Strangely enough in Incredibles 2 all actual villains are mad scientist. The Underminer - has a super-drill that digs through rock at high speed, prostethic limbs with enhanced strenght as well as the Screenslaver - hypnotizing others through remotely hacked screens with very fine control of the actions of the victim both have a level of technology at least several decades ahead of the movies setting.
  • The professor from The Illusionauts. Bonus points for having Doc Brown to provide the voice.
  • Victor Frankenstein from Frankenweenie and the other kids who resurrect their pets. Subverted with the science teacher, who just has a very poor way of explaining himself.
  • In Igor mad scientists are like rock stars, and one of the most well known is Dr Schadenfreude. In a subversion, Schadenfreude is actually a fraud (no pun intended). He doesn't have the brains to be an actual Mad Scientist, so he instead uses his Femme Fatale girlfriend to steal other scientists' inventions and claim them as his own. The titular character wants to be a Mad Scientist himself, but Igors are forbidden from doing anything on their own lest they be "recycled". So far, his successes include keeping a functional Brain in a Jar (who can't spell "Brain" right) and making an intelligent rodent immortal, while also giving him a death wish.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Most of the traditional image of the Mad Scientist probably derives from various adaptations of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, especially the 1931 movie: "It's alive! IT'S ALIVE!" The original book is wildly different — see Literature.
  • The 1931 Frankenstein and other horror films of the time also drew heavily for their portrayals of mad scientists on Rotwang in Fritz Lang's classic 1927 SF film Metropolis. Rotwang, in turn, draws on the Mad Scientist depictions of Frankenstein in nineteenth-century stage melodrama. It's worth pointing out that Rotwang from Metropolis is not only the earlier Trope Maker, but was himself largely inspired by the popularity of the wild-haired, heavily accented Einstein and other "eccentric German physicists" at the time who were upending people's notions of the limits of science in an unsettling manner. They helped inspire the image of the Reluctant Mad Scientist who is obsessed with his research and doesn't really expect it to be misused.
  • Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!: Dr. Putrid T. Gangrene qualifies, what with his diabolical plans to conquer the world with giant killer tomatoes, tomatoes turned into people, people turned into tomatoes, etc., etc. Don't call him mad, though. HE IS NOT MAD. A little angry sometimes, but not mad!
  • James Bond occasionally runs into some of these, including in his movie debut. He also works with one, if you consider his Gadgeteer Genius and weapons man Q to be as "mad", given his role involves designing and constructing lethal assassination weapons disguised as ordinary items.
    • The villain of the very first official Bond movie is the titular mad scientist Dr. No, half-German half-Chinese genius in Nuclear Physics and an agent of the Nebulous Evil Organization known as S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Bond investigates him after he orders the murder of a fellow British agent who was snooping into his business- toppling American missiles to prove the power of his organization, a task assigned to him due to his unique understanding of nuclear radiation (his weapon of choice in this mission). Bonus points for his more personal motive of wanting revenge on America AND Russia for rejecting him when he offered his services, as well as his experiments accidentally costing him the use of both hands, forcing him to rely on metal hands of his own design.
    • Mr Ling, the Evil Genius and Red Chinese agent working with ''Goldfinger, is a specialist in nuclear fusion and in charge of helping the evil businessman detonate a nuclear weapon in Fort Knox in an attempt to cripple the American economy.
  • The Back to the Future trilogy has Emmett L. Brown, who is a bit more cuddly than your average Mad Scientist. Then again, this is the man who stole weapons grade plutonium from Libyan terrorists and promised to build them a nuke (he lied).
    Dr. Brown: They wanted me to build them a bomb, so I took their plutonium and in turn gave them a shoddy bomb-casing full of used pinball machine parts!
  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari: Dr. Caligari is a little bit of this and a little bit of Circus of Fear.
  • Day of the Dead (1985). Dr. Matthew Logan, nicknamed "Frankenstein" by the soldiers. He is so obsessed with his work he fails to consider how the soldiers will react to him cutting up their deceased comrades for his experiments.
  • The title character of Doctor Strangelove, or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb.
  • Vincent Price in Edward Scissorhands might just be the kindliest Mad Scientist ever. His second-most-impressive creation (after Edward) is a giant cookie-making machine. And he creates Edward with the expressed desire to see if it's possible to make an artificial being with human love. And then amuses both of them with silly poetry later. Aw!
  • The Woody Allen comedy Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask has a skit featuring Dr. Bernardo, a mad sex analyst whose experiments include measuring premature ejaculation on a hippopotamus and building a 400-foot diaphragm. ("Contraception for the entire nation at once!") The segment ends with Allen's character battling one of the doctor's creations — a gigantic, disembodied human breast.
  • Nathan from Ex Machina is a reclusive and secretive creator of artificial people, who considers himself a god and thinks nothing of destroying them in his sick experiments.
  • Seth Brundle in The Fly (1986), but he doesn't start out that way.
  • The original Gojira had Dr. Daisuke Serizawa who invented the Oxygen Destroyer that ultimately kills Godzilla. Though, he isn't evil; he is more of a Reluctant Mad Scientist.
  • Dr. Shiragam from Godzilla vs. Biollante whose experimental fusion of Godzilla's DNA, Rose DNA, and the DNA of his deceased daughter ends up causing the creation of Biollante. He's not evil either, but he's certainly mad with grief over the loss of his daughter.
  • Dr. Michael Hfuhruhurr in The Man with Two Brains eventually becomes one of these — or, rather, a parody of one:
    German Detective: You're playing God!
    Michael: Somebody's got to!
  • Dr. Frank N. Furter from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, who is also a Villainous Crossdresser.
  • Barnes Wallis (Michael Redgrave) in the British war film, The Dam Busters, is a Downplayed Mad Scientist who invents the bouncing bomb and perfects its design to enable an attack on major German dams as part of Operation Chastise.
  • The Spiderwick Chronicles has Arthur Spiderwick.
  • Walter Kornbluth from Splash. He is also Butch Hartman's inspiration for the character of Mr Crocker on The Fairly OddParents!.
  • The film Terror of Mechagodzilla has the character of Dr. Mafune who not only turns his own daughter into a cyborg, but he also invents a device that allows him to control the sea monster Titanosaurus.
  • The Doctor, a.k.a. Rex Lewis a.k.a. Cobra Commander takes the role of the mad scientist in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.
  • Dr Totenkopf from Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.
  • The Ghostbusters, especially Egon.
  • Dr Emilio Lizardo, a.k.a. Lord John Whorfin, in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension.
  • The Prestige gives you two for one. Nikola Tesla (played by David Bowie) builds a matter duplicator, which one of the two main protagonists (antagonists?) uses to perform an "impossible" magic trick. The scientist is mad (see Real Life below) and so is the magician who uses his device.
  • Dr. Nai of The Clones of Bruce Lee may have been influenced by Thomas Edison; he's a mad scientist who actually has other people do all the inventing for him, such as a vegetation-destroyer, while he wears a business suit and yells at his scientists to invent faster.
  • Black Sheep (2007): Though Astrid Rush is ostensibly trying to create genetically enhanced sheep, she's rather happy to find an instance of a man turning into a weresheep. And there was that thing about leeches.
  • Krank in The City of Lost Children certainly counts. And he appears to be the creation of another mad scientist.
  • Dr. Rochelle in The Return of Swamp Thing, who is more interested about causing mutations than researching the key to eternal life like his boss would want him to.
  • Dr. Herbert West from Re-Animator, who is driven Faustially to perfect his corpse-resurrecting Re-Agent formula.
  • Doctor Catheter in Gremlins 2: The New Batch, played to the hilt by Christopher Lee. Interestingly he subverts it later on when he rejects his experiments as immoral, and vows that he will not commit cruel genetic experiments on animals again.
  • Pauline from the independent film Excision.
  • The Mosquito Coast starring Harrison Ford is a non-Science Fiction example. Ford plays an engineer who specializes in refrigeration technology; only problem is, most people already have fridges and air conditioners. So he moves his whole family out to the jungle in the middle of nowhere and builds a giant refrigeration machine just so his talents will be better appreciated. This isn't enough to satisfy his budding megalomania, so he goes on a quest to show a block of ice to some reclusive tribals who have never seen it, presumably so everyone would ooh an ahh over it and him.
  • Since Forbidden Planet is Shakespeare's The Tempest IN SPACE!, the wizard Prospero is replaced by the (mad) scientist Dr. Morbius. He's discovered the relics of an ancient alien civilization, one of which boost his intelligence to far greater heights than those puny mortals around him could possibly comprehend, do you hear me! Wah ha ha ha! He started out as a philologist.
  • Dr. Heller from Mystery Men is on the side of justice... but definitely not right in the head. Lampshaded when the Bowler criticizes their decision to call on him for help:
    The Bowler: See, this is why a mad scientist is generally not preferable to a garden-variety regular scientist.
  • Boris Karloff plays one (as he so often does) in The Man Who Changed His Mind.
  • Dr. Robert in La Piel Que Habito (The Skin I Live In) is a plastic surgeon who lost his wife in a automobile fire and seeks solace in recreating her appearance on an unwilling victim.
  • The main character of Upldr.
  • In Scanners II: The New Order, Dr. Morse uses his neurological research institute to enslave psychics with his dangerous drugs and use them for Commander Forrester's megalomaniac purposes.
  • Travis Dane, the Big Bad of Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, is this.
  • Dr. Mason Wren from Alien: Resurrection.
  • Count Rugen from The Princess Bride. While he isn't technically a scientist in the modern sense, he does treat torture as a science, having built a complex machine for "sucking the life" from his victims x number of years at a time. After he sucks a year of life out of Wesley he even asks Wesley how it felt, for the sake of his "research".
    Rugen (pen poised over paper): And remember: this is for posterity, so... be honest.
  • X-Men Film Series
  • Ed Wood's film Bride of the Monster has Professor Doctor Eric Vornoff who completely lives this trope. He has a Mad Scientist Laboratory, an Igor, an eastern European accent, he wants to prove people who called him mad wrong, he has an Evil Laugh and his plan is to create a race of atomic supermen to conquer the world. He's played by Bela Lugosi after all who chews the scenery a lot.
  • The Frontier Doctor in The Cars That Ate Paris enjoys lobotomising his patients, and Victorian Herr Doktor Dobbin collects and measures the skulls of criminals like Mad Dog Morgan.
  • In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Tony Stark tells Bruce Banner that they need to own up to the fact that they both are mad scientists as his justification for going through with creating the Vision.
  • Dr Wu in Jurassic World angrily denies the trope when the Indominus rex appears to have Gone Horribly Wrong but we discover there's plenty of justification for it in his case, as he was secretly creating a dinosaur to demonstrate the potential of weaponised hybrids.
  • In the B-Movie Spiders II: Breeding Ground, a mad geneticist named Dr. Grbac is having people kidnapped by the corrupt crew of a cargo transport ship to implant them with Giant Spider eggs. He gets Hoist by His Own Petard.
  • In the 2016 reboot of Ghostbusters Jillian Holtzmann, the one who builds all their gadgets, probably qualifies. Given her total disregard for safety procedures, her habit of making new weapons with no discernible purpose (what do they need a laser bear-trap that sends ghosts to Michigan for?), and when Patty shows up with a hearse she's excited at the possibility of there being a dead body in the back ("do you know how many uses that could have?") and later paints said hearse white and bolts a siren and a nuclear reactor to the top. While Rowan uses the other Ghostbusters' research to make devices that summon ghosts in an attempt to get revenge at the world.
  • In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Lex Luthor is both a gifted scientist and extremely mad, going so far as to use the knowledge and resources of a Kryptonian ship downed during General Zod's attack on Metropolis and the corpse of Zod himself to do a Dr. Frankenstien and create Doomsday, an almost unstoppble killing machine.
  • Doctor Moreau, probably one of the best well-known Mad Scientists in pop culture, appears in several films, most notably Island of Lost Souls (1932) played by Charles Laughton, in The Island of Doctor Moreau (1977) played by Burt Lancaster and The Island of Doctor Moreau (1996) played by Marlon Brando. In all films is a crazy scientist trying to turn animals into humans.
  • Nightwish: The professor eventually takes his students captive to force them to cooperate with his dangerous experiments to investigate ghost activity. He even fatally stabs his assistant in the gut when he threatens to expose what the professor is doing.
  • Dr. Heller is allied with the Mystery Men. However, the downsides of having a mad scientist as an ally are touched on.
    Dr. Heller: I don't make any lethal weapons. Everything I make is completely nonlethal.
    The Bowler: Okay, see, this is why a mad scientist is not generally preferable to a garden-variety scientist.
  • Help!: Professor Foot. Lampshaded by John when he says "This is absurd! You're nothing but a trite, hackneyed mad scientist!"
  • Barbarella: Big Bad Durand Durand is a brilliant scientist who prefers using his intellect to make powerful weapons and creative torture and execution devices, and he plans to use the former to take over the universe (he reveals this complete with an Evil Laugh).
  • In Bats, it is revealed that Dr. McCabe created the bats with the specific intention of killing people (rather that is being an accident as he originally claimed). He is killed attempting to communicate with them.
  • In Frankenstein 1970, Victor von Frankenstein is obsessed with continuing his ancestor's work. He plans to revivify the original Frankenstein Monster, but give it his own face, so the Frankenstein line may continue.
  • Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter has Maria Frankenstein, who experiments on the inhabitants of a Mexican village in an effort to recreate her grandfather's Brain Transplant technique. Her brother Rudolph has the same skills, but is plagued by a pesky conscience.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Hilarious House of Frightenstein:
    • The Professor (Julius Sumner Miller) definitely played this one up. "Why is it so?" indeed.
    • Count Frightenstein himself is one and even has a sidekick named Igor. He's exiled to Canada because he couldn't revive his Frankenstein-monster, "Brucie".
  • Jha'Dur in the Babylon 5 episode "Deathwalker".
  • Beakman on Beakman's World had the outward appearance of one, but as this was an Edutainment Show, most of his science was pretty sound. Most of it.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Professor Maggie Walsh and Warren Mears. Warren is good at Magitek in general as well, provided someone else provides the magic. Hence the Trio's Freezeray and Invisibility gun.
    • There were a pair of students from Buffy's high school that made their own version of Frankenstein. Maggie wasn't the only one to get the bright idea!
    • Ted - specifically, the original one, who built a perfect robot double of himself in the fifties. Living on a gateway to Hell presumably helped.
      • Apparently - "According to David Fury when he questioned the incredible technological abilities of Sunnydale residents (reanimating the dead in 'Some Assembly Required', constructing lifelike robots in 'Ted' and ' I Was Made to Love You') Joss Whedon replied "You're just way overthinking it. The Hellmouth should be able to provide us with anything we want to do; the energy that comes out of it makes mad scientists out of humans who then go ahead and create something evil".
    • Even with the Slayer army, Andrew never stops experimenting with demon summoning and DNA, even breeding a dangerous demon back into existence.
  • Several episodes of El Chapulín Colorado deals with an invention from some kind of mad scientist, from a weakening potion to resurrecting the dead.
  • Sherlock Holmes from the BBC's Sherlock is constantly experimenting on something, including human body parts that he pilfered from the local morgue. Poor Watson even finds a human head in the refrigerator one day, and Detective Sally Donovan finds some human eyeballs in the microwave. And Mrs. Hudson finds a bag of thumbs in the fridge. That's scary and unsettling.
  • Justin from Wizards of Waverly Place becomes this in "Franken Girl", due to Alex constantly breaking in his room.
  • Doctor Who is filled with Mad Scientists, ranging from the slightly unhinged, endearing sort to the completely unrepentant, Omnicidal Maniacs.
    • The best example is, of course, Davros, the racist, maniacal and omnicidal creator of the Daleks, who easily conveyed just how twisted he was even without an Evil Laugh.
    • The Rani was exiled from Gallifrey when her pet lab mice grew gigantic and went on a rampage. They responded by letting her loose in the universe with a time machine. She took over at least one planet to experiment on the locals and drove them insane by removing their ability to sleep (which wasn't even the point). Thanks, Time Lords!
    • The first mad scientist on the whole show (apart from the Doctor himself) is the really rather unmemorable Smithers in the Season 2 serial "Planet of the Giants". He shot a man in order to ensure a project he knew would be an environmental disaster would go ahead. A few other notable old series examples: Professor Zaroff (from "The Underwater Menace") who wanted to blow up the world, Mehendri Solon ("The Brain of Morbius") who wanted to build a Time Lord a new body, Taren Capel ("The Robots of Death") who had a delusion that he was a robot and wanted to start a robot revolution, and arguably Light ("Ghost Light") who did unspeakable things with evolution. Lesterson from "Power of the Daleks" is so mad, he actually has a mental breakdown over the course of the story (with a bit of help from Dalek Gaslighting).
    • John Lumic from the two-parter "Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel". In addition to being an Evilutionary Biologist, he explicitly considers himself above law.
    • New series Mad Scientists include: The Doctor, Professor Yana, the Master, Professor Lazarus, Davros, the Scientist of the New Paradigm Daleks and numerous alien and human antagonists. Nearly every week, there is a scientist on the show.
    • Most incarnations of the Doctor that don't just stick to adventuring. The Tenth Doctor's brand of mad science would easily have made him into a benevolent example of this if he weren't afflicted with too much Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny! to spend time on non-world-saving projects. And the Eleventh Doctor goes so far as to gleefully rock the steampunk goggles and shirtsleeves look while fiddling with the TARDIS.
    • Companions fall into this at times: Ace bordered on it, especially with explosives and practical chemistry. Adric may possibly have landed here too had he lived. Adam from the revival series also wasn't quite there during his travels with the Doctor, but was intended as the kind of young man who would end up as this.
    • Some other benevolent mad scientists include the resistance member in "The Dalek Invasion of Earth" who invented a chemical that could melt Dalek casings and sacrificed himself to test it.
  • Fringe
    • Walter Bishop, most of whose nervous tics and general mental confusion disappeared about the same time he was released from the mental asylum (he claims that they were side effects of the drugs he was taking). He's still a "fringe scientist", which means he's focused on things like teleportation, astral projection, reanimation, and diseases-that-turn-skin-and-muscle-tissue-translucent.
    • Walter operates under the influence of up to a half-dozen home-brewed mind-altering substances of his own design. So if he seems less twitchy at any given time, it is because he is taking much better drugs than the generic crap he received in the mental asylum.
    • Interestingly, Walter's madness isn't confined to the crazy ideas he comes up with in his lab. It's also clear he just can't cope with everyday life without Peter (or Astrid) to take care of him and that he suffers as a result.
    • Except for the insanity part, most of the scientists on the show qualify.
  • Dr. Yes and others on Get Smart.
  • Heroes, Volume 3 Mohinder Suresh crosses this line when the Super Serum he's injected himself with causes him to become increasingly unstable as the season progresses.
  • Mad science is the heart of Kamen Rider. Mad Scientists show up in most seasons and work in the background of majority of the events. Large Ham, Evil Laugh and God Complex are usually at work.
    • Shocker, the terrorist organization from the original series has whole troops of these with an occasional Reluctant Mad Scientist among them. Their actions would mostly revolve around general terror and making people into brainwashed monsters. This has backfired twice, resulting in creation of Kamen Rider #1 and #2.
    • Dr Kiyoto Maki of Kamen Rider OOO is a brilliant but sociopathic scientist and One of the brightest in the Kougami Foundation, being in charge of its Biotech Laboratory, as well as the inventor of the Birth system. He's also an Omnicidal Maniac who wants to end the world and once locked several scientists in the lab with a Yummy that kills them simply because he wanted to see what would happen For Science!.
    • Ryoma Sengoku of Kamen Rider Gaim is sociopathic god wannabe, creator of the series' tech and lacks any sense and interest besides mad science and manipulating people. He really is the quirky Absent-Minded Professor he seems to be, but that doesn't stop him being complete bastard that used groups of teens as test subjects in his attempts to attain godhood. Emphasis on scientist as besides the god rants he is still more well adjusted than the examples bellow.
    • Tenjuro Banno of Kamen Rider Drive would be the same as Sengoku if he was not a full blown Omnicidal Maniac. He calls his children failed project and created a race of RidiculouslyHumanRobots to Take Over the World. Partially for abuse and lulz, too.
    • Kuroto Dan of Kamen Rider Ex-Aid is a infamously narcissistic mad programmer with Heads I Win, Tails You Lose as his M.O.. His plan is to create an enhanced reality game, Kamen Rider Chronicle, where players have to fight to death against Bugsters.
    • Kamen Rider Build is swimming in mad scientists due to it's science theme. First there's Takumi Katsuragi, who created his own evil organization so he could use human experimentation to create both the Kamen Rider system and the Smash, and was noted by one of his allies for his ambition and madness. Nariaki Utsumi probably counts as well, especially apparent when he risks his own life for a dangerous experiment in the youtube special. And finally, while Sento Kiryuu is a rare true Science Hero, he definitely dabbles in the mad science spectrum as well, happily gloating about what a genius he is and occasionally wanting to test his new inventions on his allies. Of course, since it turns out that Sento was Takumi before he lost his memories, this is still a significant improvement in behavior.
  • In Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp (basically Get Smart with chimpanzees) we have CHUMP's resident Mad Scientist Doctor Strangemind.
  • Daniel Faraday on Lost, especially the "scatterbrained" part.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000
    • Dr. Clayton Forrester. His mother later takes up the role, followed by his daughter in the revival series.
    • Joel also qualifies to some degree. He built smart robots out of ordinary spaceship parts, and his invention exchange concepts are a little... odd.
  • Profesor Memelovsky in Odisea Burbujas, has a time machine, a size changing machines (that's how he manage to make a group of small animals human-size and become his assistants) and a machine to enter books.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • Samantha Carter is, occasionally, a benevolent variant on this, with McKay in one slightly forlorn moment noting that this is why she'll always be better than him - she's got an x-factor of pure inspiration that he doesn't.
    • O'Neill turns into this whenever an Ancient database is downloaded into his brain, cobbling together some exceedingly strange gadgets with junk lying around.
    • Linea, a woman known to many as the 'Destroyer of Worlds' for her twisted experiments with genetics and chemistry, and is arguably one of the smartest and most terrifying characters in the entire series - Doctor Frasier and Carter (the latter an example in her own right) both remark that she's so far ahead of them that it's terrifying. After being imprisoned for her crimes, and SG1 (who'd been locked up unjustly) broke out with her help on the assumption that she was as innocent as they were. She then more or less effortlessly crippled the SGC and left a creepy message behind, saying that it Makes Us Even.
    • Ke'ra is a benevolent variant on this, a brilliant chemist and geneticist. Unfortunately, she's the De Aged and amnesiac version of Linea, and is horrified by it. Eventually, after briefly getting her memories back, and being afraid of a Split-Personality Takeover, she intentionally loses her memories once more.
    • The Ancients were essentially a race of Mad Scientists. Exceptional mention goes to Janus and that guy who made the Ark of Truth.
    • Janus is benevolent, more so than most Ancients (he does everything he can to help an alternate Weir get to the present and save Atlantis from its fate in her timeline, against the will of his people, and is generally delighted that humans will eventually more or less catch up to the Ancients). However, he's mostly known for not one but two crazy inventions: a time travel device (two of them) and a device that destabilizes hyperspace in such a way as to destroy any Wraith ship that attempts to jump to FTL. The latter (called the Attero device) has a slight side effect. That being the destruction of any Pegasus stargate that is opened with a huge explosion. And what does he do once he realizes what the Attero device does? He shuts it down and leaves it intact in his lab. So, benevolent, brilliant, but not all that sensible.
    • Michael, in Stargate Atlantis, spends most of his time concocting various forms of monster through horrific human experimentation. He's also, arguably, the product of this himself, with the Atlantis Expedition having tried to 'cure' the Wraith with a retrovirus, and he ends up getting stuck halfway between the two.
  • Star Trek:
    • Degra, Dr. Crell Moset, Dr. Chaotica and numerous other specimens can be spotted on every incarnation of the franchise.
    • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Dr. Elias Giger fits the profile of the more comic, probably harmless type. His theory is that death is caused by "cellular ennui," that cells can literally be bored to death, and so he creates his "cellular regeneration and entertainment chamber" to keep them stimulated. However, his work is supposedly hampered by non-believing "soulless minions of orthodoxy" and he seems badly paranoid that they are out to ruin him and his work.
  • Numerous examples on The Wild Wild West, the most prominent being Dr. Miguelito Loveless.
  • Comic Book Evil, of the sort perpetrated by Mad Scientists, is the reason The Middle Man organization exists.
  • Phil and Lem from Better Off Ted took years to notice that "everything we do here is evil". And by extension, every scientist who works at Veridian Dynamics. Unusually for mad scientists they do stick to something close to proper scientific procedure.
  • For their TV show, the Japanese band Arashi spent a great deal of time coming up with such stellar experiments as "How far can you sail a boat made of hay?", "Will wasabi still taste spicy if you hold your nose while eating it?" and "What happens if we have a hurdle race whilst wearing binoculars?" Unsurprisingly these all tended to backfire on them.
  • Battlestar Galactica: Gaius Baltar is something of a deconstruction as his madness may or may not be messages from the gods, messages that ultimately give the key to finding Earth.
  • Obviously, the title character in the Farscape episode "DNA Mad Scientist".
  • Played with in the Dr. Death sketch on That Mitchell and Webb Look. Dr. Death is closely modelled on a German scientist immigrant (see Real Life below) who has been working in secret on technology to help America win the war. Parodied in that his first invention is a laser, a.k.a. Death Ray, that's used to... scan the barcode on a can of beans, and he's disgusted when the president wants his creation used for destruction. Later played straight when Dr. Death unveils his Death Scorpion (with a gatling gun to dispense helpful bullets) and he also tries to destroy it when it's to be used for the war effort.
    Dr. Death: NOOOOO! (seizes hammer)
    President: Professor!
    Dr: Death: (shouting over hammer blows) Forgive me, Mr. President, but I created the Laser-Fitted Armored Scorpion of Death to help mankind, not to destroy!
  • In the Supernatural episode "Time Is on My Side", the brothers encounter Doc Benton, a Mad Scientist who has used Mad Science to make himself immortal, but often needs to kidnap people and steal their organs when his old ones wear out.
  • The Syfy show Eureka, where the town's population is made up almost entirely of geniuses and scientists. The plots usually involve various degrees of scientific reality, from Real World, past theoretical, over possible but impractical, all the way to you gotta be kidding me.note  Some problems (of planet-destroying proportions) are caused by a student's science experiment gone out of control. Suffice it to say that you gotta be careful when you ask a student to build a working model of the Solar system, unless you want a giant fusion fireball in the sky that won't go out.
  • Dr. Boris Balinkoff in the Gilligan's Island episode "The Friendly Physician", who performs mind-transfer experiments on the castaways. He also appeared in "Ring Around Gilligan", where he was testing his mind-control rings on the castaways.
  • A recurring theme in The Starlost. Scientists were rarely shown in a positive light, which is really weird for a science-fiction series. One scientist is conducting highly unethical social experiments on people, pitting them against each other. Another scientist, feeling nihilistic, hacks into the spaceship's computer system and activates the self-destruct system. An astronomer wants to study a comet up-close, so he steers the ship into the comet's debris field, not especially concerned that by doing so, the ship will probably be destroyed. Another scientist has been breeding giant mutant bees. None of them are interested in fixing the ship's engines to avoid their collision course with a star.
  • Grandpa in The Munsters, he even has his own creepy lab. In the rebooted series 'Mockingbird Lane' he's even Herman's creator trying to make the perfect husband for his daughter.
  • The MythBusters come damn close at times. Tory in particular has his Mad Scientist moments when building the more bizare props. Like a human sized dummy made from sewn together pieces of pork.
  • Omaro Cantu from the show Future Food has some Mad Scientist overtones.
  • Dr. Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory was once described as being "One lab accident away from being a super villain". The various noodle incidents from his childhood include an attempt to build a sonic death ray and he once ordered uranium in an attempt to figure out how his friend was doing a card trick. And there's not a single person that knows him that doesn't believe him to be SOME kind of crazy (even if his mother did have him tested). Lampshaded once in that while rattling off a list of arch nemesis from comics he realizes how many were scientists and says they should really screen doctoral candidates better. Lampshaded by Sheldon's childhood hero, Professor Proton (Bob Newhart) when he meets Sheldon.
    Professor Proton: Is uh, is he dangerous?
    Leonard: Actually he's a genius.
    Sheldon: I am.
    Professor Proton: That uh, that doesn't answer my question.
  • The Science Channel Dark Matters is all about Real Life examples who have popped up throughout history.
  • Once Upon a Time had a Halloween Episode in which Princess Regina sought help in reanimating the (magically-preserved) body of her dead lover; that help came in the form of Dr. Frankenstein who conned her in order to steal a heart from her heart collection for his own creation. Frankenstein himself is a subversion. Everyone thinks he's this trope, and a few Storybrook residents react with suspicion once they figure out who he is. This gives him quite a bit of angst. He's understandably upset that his attempts at bringing his brother back to life are seen as evil. After Drowning His Sorrows and a heart-to-heart with the Big Bad Wolf ( Red Riding Hood), he decides to become an honest medical doc to disprove his reputation.
  • Walter White from Breaking Bad is arguably a rare example of this in a non-sci-fi show. He may not be the classical mad scientist, but he definitely owes something to the trope. He's apparently equally adept at organic chemistry, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, and biochemistry, but the thing that really qualifies him is his willingness to use any or all of them to create drugs and kill people. It's made clear that Walt does have a sort of Freudian Excuse for his actions, feeling jealousy and insecurity over not using his scientific talents for anything great until now.
  • Doctor Anthony Ivo from Arrow fits the bill, since he's on Lian Yu with the aim to seize and reproduce the Mirakuru Super Serum, and does unspeakable things in pursuit of his goals. He claims this is to save the human race. Later revelations make things a little more complicated; he actually wanted the Mirakuru to cure his wife of Alzheimer's disease, which drove him from formerly upstanding doctor and scientist to the villain he is during the flashbacks.
  • White Rabbit Project: Tory claims that he's scared that Grant is a normal mad scientist in the Super Power Tech episode.
  • Qyburn in Game of Thrones, the medieval version of this trope, as Qyuburn is a Maester, albeit a rogue one, accused of doing human experiments and "necromancy" (surgery).
  • Blake's 7. Saymon from "The Web" is an amoral Hive Mind whose creations Turned Against Their Masters. Egrorian in "Orbit" is the classic scenery-muncher plotting to take over the galaxy with his Weapon of Mass Destruction. Coser from "Weapon" is only a technician but fits this trope exactly — he invents a superweapon, feels bitter that his genius is not recognised, has a minion that he alternately bullies and confides in, a tendency to start ranting at the slightest provocation, and gets killed by his own creation. Lampshaded with Justin from "Animals" who's a more decent version, though it doesn't turn out any better for him than the others.
  • Daniel Whitehall from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is an especially nasty example of this trope, being particularly fond of Brainwashing and Playing with Syringes. Let’s just say that "discovery requires experimentation" is way up on the list of things you don't want to hear him saying to you...
    • Radcliffe had moments of this as well, given his obsession with transhumanism. Lampshaded in "Let Me Stand Next To Your Fire" when he introduced AI android Aida to Agent May:
      Fitz: Are you mad?
      Radcliffe: No, I'm just a scientist.
    • Leo Fitz also has shades of this within the Framework. He's built a fearsome reputation as a Hydra scientist, foregoing morals and ethics in favor of the progression of science and human experimentation.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In "Last Supper", Dr. Lawrence Sinclair is pursuing the immortal Laura/Jane (who he previously tortured as part of a secret military experiment) to obtain more blood from her, believing it can make him immortal too.

  • Both of the scientists in Project "Ma" are this
  • Full Moon Laboratory.
  • Doctor Steel is a steampunk themed industrial musician whose look consists of a shaved head, pointy beard, vintage welding goggles and a mad scientist lab coat.
  • The Abney Park song "The Secret Life of Dr Calgori" is about a Mad Scientist.
  • The Mono Puff song "Poison Flowers" is about a young would-be mad scientist lamenting the beginning of the school year as he will no longer have time to build bombs and death rays, or to write manifestos.
  • Jonathan Coulton has at least two: "The Future Soon", about a socially rejected nerd who dreams of becoming a mad scientist in order to get revenge and conquer the world. The other is "Skullcrusher Mountain", which is from the point of view of a mad scientist talking to a woman that his deformed assistant had kidnapped for him to woo. In particular, "Skullcrusher Mountain" is notable for for a line that flirts dangerously with Crowning Moment of Awesome:
    I made this half pony, half monkey monster to please you,
    But I get the feeling that you don't like it. What's with all the screaming?
    You like ponies. You like monkeys. Maybe you don't like monsters so much.
    Maybe I used too many monkeys.
    Isn't it enough to know that I ruined a pony making a gift for you?
    • "Live" has another one, a Dr. Frankenstein analogue who is trying to create the perfect woman.
  • The protagonist in "Broken Bride", a Rock Opera by Ludo
  • Professor Elemental is a Dr. Moreau-like Mad Scientist in his song, "Animal Magic".
    The myriad wonders of nature it's true
    Can be understood fully in my home made zoo
    By brain swapping with my cranial cutter
    I created my apeish butler
    and like any explorer forging new boundaries
    I found this astounding and took me an owl beak and wings
    grafted to a tortoise shell
    and now my Owltoise is doing quite well
    No my Chimpangoat's not the prettiest of creatures
    my Donkeypede has the silliest of features
    my Batraffes do fly into doors
    and my Lobsteroos don't like their claws —
    but until you've heard the Badgermingo sing
    or fed a tiny fish to a baby Marmoquin...
    My dear sir or madam you've never lived,
    it's an impressive gift — so treasure this...
  • The Weird Science theme song by Oingo Boingo is about making a woman. With pot and pans apparently. And... SCIENCE!!
  • Most songs made by the EBM group Surgyn run with this theme. Bonus points for the voice clips with the German accented mad scientist. They carry this to their live acts too, often dressing up to evoke a medical fetish.
  • Project Pitchfork - "Splice"
  • The song "Monster Mash" by Bobby "Boris" Pickett is narrated by a mad scientist whose monster, late one evening, rises from a slab to perform a new dance, which becomes "the hit of the land" when the scientist throws a party for other monsters.
  • Helloween's "Dr. Stein" is about a mad scientist who creates monsters.
  • Vocaloid:

    Music Videos 

    Myths & Religion 
  • The mythical Greek inventor Daedalus may be regarded as an unbuilt predecessor to this trope, what with his artificial wing invention that melts in the sun and kills the impulsive Icarus.
  • The god Hephaestus deserves a spot here thanks to his many wacky inventions, some of them fueled by his seething negative emotions, including his trap-throne, which he used to trap his mother, Hera, in revenge for throwing him out of Olympus for being an ugly baby, his trap-sofa, which he used to capture and humiliate Aphrodite and Ares in order to highlight Aphrodite's infidelity, and to further spite Ares, gave Aphrodite's daughter by Ares, Harmonia, a magic necklace cursed to bring tragedy and misfortune to its wearers, while simultaneously keeping them young and beautiful. Harmonia's necklace would have several owners, including Semele, the mother-to-be of Dionysus, and Jocasta, mother and *cough* wife of Oedipus.
  • Wayland the Smith from Norse Mythology is a rather similar inventor character. Unlike both Daedalus and Hephaestus, he is consistently depicted as evil and many of his inventions are for random acts of carnage.
  • According to the Nation of Islam, White people are "devils" created by a mad scientist called Yakub in a breeding experiment 6,600 years ago on the Greek island of Patmos. The also assert that Yakub is the same person as the biblical Jacob.


  • Treknologic: Keri talks about experimenting on the crew and the genocide of all tribbles like someone would talk about the weather.
  • Fallout Is Dragons has Doctor Javolt. To be clear: Fallout is Dragons is set in the Fallout: Equestria world, wherein the apocalypse was caused by balefire bombs and most technology has magic at its core. Javolt, on the other hand, rejects all magic and actively seeks to create non-magical technology, and apparently replaced his leg and his own eyes with non-magical cybernetic replacements after they were ripped apart in an explosion that also had an impact on his memory.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Parodied on one episode of Dinosaurs: a scientist on TV gives the "They called me MAD!" speech before unveiling his latest creation, a giant living squash. When his assistant calls him mad, the scientist calmly agrees, adding that what made him seek revenge is that he's angry-mad, not insane-mad.
  • Dr. Bunsen Honeydew of The Muppet Show.
  • The Mr. Potato Head Show: Dr. Fruitcake created a Frankenstein-like ham-monster that attacked the rest of the cast, built machines that have exploded when they're supposed to be safe, and gave the other characters real weapons as props while they were doing a spy show.

  • Carina Appelbaum from v2 of Open Blue worked in Seran's science corps. She holds a commission as a captain, allowing her to use a ship to scour the ocean for additional 'test subjects'. She carries a Hyper Space Arsenal of mysterious vials that could contain anything from explosives to poison.
  • The Global Guardians PBEM Universe, like any decent superhero setting based on comic books, has dozens of mad scientists creeping around. Notable examples include Heinrich von Frankenstein, Baron Malthus, Doctor Simian, Phillipe Moreau, the Evil Genius, Doctor Blight, Doctor Sinister, Emilio Astonishing, Doctor XX, Doctor Devastation, Professor Sunday, Professor Septimus, Penelope Periwinkle, and Doctor Gavin von Leggend. And that'ss just the bad guys.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • There have been many Mad Scientists throughout the game, including Momir Vig from the eponymous arc, Yawgmoth (before he got worse), Gatha, and Urza, a rare example of a sympathetic Mad Scientist.
    • The Ravnica block has two guilds who wear different versions of this trope as their hat, the Izzet League and the Simic Combine.
    • While not a legendary character, Innistrad adds Laboratory Maniac to the long line of mad scientists in Magic. He perhaps takes the "mad" part more literally than most; in terms of flavor, your library represents your magical knowledge, and running out of cards in your library causes you to lose because you've lost your mind, but the Maniac's ability makes it so that running out of library cards causes you to win instead, so you win by going insane.
    • Being gothic horror-themed, Innistrad is pretty much full to the brim with Frankenstein imitators. Most of them don't get their own cards, but their creations do. Consider the visionary Ludevic, for instance, or Stitcher Geralf.
    • Many of the New Phyrexians can also be described as this - their entire goal is the "compleation" of all living beings, which can be summarized as Cybernetics Eat Your Soul for the entire body. The best example is probably Jin-Gitaxias, leader of the blue faction, which is traditionally associated with science of all kinds.
  • Mage: The Ascension has the Sons/Society of Ether, a Tradition of technomantic mad scientists who see their magick as the ultimate form of True Science (what's really scary is that the Etherites have a faction they call Mad Scientists because of their disregard for ethics). Virtual Adepts and Iteration X also fit this mold. As do the Progenitors. Approaching from the other direction, there are several mages (most common among The Order of Hermes, but it can pop up in any of the more mystic-minded Traditions or Crafts) that approach researching magic with the same level of intensity and lack of ethics.
  • The fan made Genius: The Transgression, which is all about Mad Scientists so crazy that they can create stuff that bends the laws of physics. The Catalysts of Geniuses even relate to five mad scientist stereotypes and quotes:
    • Grimm; anger and vengeance: "You will pay for what you've done."
    • Hoffnung; vision and hope: "We won't have these problems when I Take Over the World!"
    • Klagen; loss and sorrow: "No, you fools! You'll doom us all!"
    • Neid; banishment and jealousy: "They scoffed at me, they laughed at me, They Called Me Mad!!"
    • Staunen; curiosity and amazement: "Oh, the things I have seen..."
  • Promethean: The Created eventually reveals that most Demiurges are this; overwhelmed by the force of the Divine Fire, they decide it's a perfectly logical course of action to make something new out of a corpse or parts of corpses.
  • The Ordo Dracul of Vampire: The Requiem are vampire mad scientists, prone to extremely unethical experimentation to circumvent the weaknesses of their kind.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Fabius Bile. His lab coat is made out of human flesh. That about sums up his state of mind.
    • Magnus the Red, Daemon Primarch of the Thousand Sons, arguably qualifies for this trope, though he's more of a mad wizard. He's got the reckless pursuit of knowledge, megalomania, production of the odd superweapon, and lead a legion of super soldiers into daemonic corruption.
    • Every Mekboy ever. When they aren't building big stompy idols of Gork and Mork, they're building chaotic field artillery or welding big guns onto bigger guns.
    • The Ork equivalent to a doctor is a Mad Dok, who perform all sorts of experiments on their subjects such as replacing damaged limbs with bionics(sometimes they replace the wrong one), or a squig brain transplant. They at least use anesthesia on them in which case they give them a concussion.
    • The Adeptus Mechanicus tend to get like this as you get further up the chain of command, especially with Masters of the Forge- part Space Marine, part Techno Wizard, all trouble. The Dark Mechanicus are even worse, doing anything in the pursuit of knowledge, the only thing keeping them from being completely corrupted by the Warp in which they reside is the fact that almost all of their bodies have been converted into machines. If building a robotic dinosaur with a plasma cannon for a head and using an ensnared daemon to power it doesn't make you this trope, really, what will?
      • Belisarius Cawl is a different type of crazy in comparison to the rest of the Ad-Mech, but it's enough that the organization itself considers him a borderline Heretic due to his relentless focus on innovation and invention rather than salvaging and preservation. The lines he's crossed include salvaging Xenos tech, creating artificial intelligence based on his own mind to back himself up (which alone should have long gotten him torn apart by the Inquisition) and, while assisting Guilliman in creating the Primaris Marines, proposing the use of salvaged Traitor Legion and Lost Legion geneseed to create some more, which he was forbidden to do and got him yelled at quite extensively. Guilliman only continued to work with him because he's the only one radical and crazy enough to work (and pull off) what he wants to do, but he still thinks he's gonna try it anyways. In short, Cawl replaces the usual dogmatic insanity of the Adeptus Mechanicus with pure desire for discovery and innovation no matter the cost, morality or risk, which is more familiar yet terribly rare in the Imperium.
    • Dark Eldar Haemonculi, except their "science" is killing and torturing people in all kinds of ridiculously violent, cruel and painful ways, and turning members of their own race (sometimes willingly, sometimes not) into horrid testaments to Body Horror like Wracks and Grotesques. Even the otherwise Always Chaotic Evil Dark Eldar are slightly creeped out by them. When Fabius Bile ended up in their clutches, he impressed them so much with his own twisted genius that they shared notes and let him go.
    • The species of Jokaero are basically this trope mixed with Everything's Better with Monkeys. They are aliens that look orangutans, if orangutans could make just about anything human beings could except impossibly better by magnitudes. This makes them the only source of "digital weapons" in the universe, tiny rings which are actually also one-shot short-range versions of high-powered pistols normally used by military forces among the galaxy. The mad part comes from how they aren't really sentient and all of their creations are created by their need and/or whim so anyone hoping to benefit from their craftsmanship will have to deal with how they can't be ordered around and they'll probably manage to escape no matter how hard you try to pen them in.
  • In the Warhammer universe, any Skaven from Clans Skyre, Moulder or Pestilens. They nicely cover all three of the main Mad Scientist archetypes: Moulder are the Frankenstein types, creating rat like monsters like rat ogres, and even bigger rat themed monstrosities. Pestilens are the disease merchants, mixing together various toxic goops with the eventual goal of making the perfect plague to unleash on the Overworld. Skyre are the engineers, making Warpstone shooting gatling guns, cannons that fire green lasers, and giant armoured hamster wheels that throw off green lightning indiscriminately. These three clans then sell their services to all the myriad Warlord ("normal") clans, to aid them in their conquests. For the record, the other "technologically advanced" races have only just invented gunpowder, and most are still on bows and arrows. Although the Dwarfs do have this weird steam-powered gyrocopter. But Dwarfs tend towards sane engineering, in that they have this really conservative engineering guild keeping them from going Skaven. While you do get the occasional young maverick, most of those tend to stop being mavericks as soon as they lose their first limb to an explosion. It's standard for aspiring Dwarf engineers to get kicked out of the guild when they try to invent something new; they usually join the human guild for a while until they refine their prototype to something more reliable and trustworthy. Dwarfs like to maintain their reputation for machines that run like a Swiss watch.
  • The Demon Prince Vapula from In Nomine. He... stands out a bit from the more traditional Demon Princes.
  • Deadlands:
    • Mad Science is an arcane background, and the Mad Scientist a standard character archetype. It's caused by demons whispering secrets of future technology into the ears of promising inventors, which is as good a reason as any to go insane.
    • Its sequel, Hell on Earth, is set in a future where Mad Science brought about the Apocalypse. As a result ( this was the ultimate goal of the demons who caused mad science in the first place, so they stopped 'helping' when it was achieved), traditional mad science mostly stopped working (old devices still work, but no new ones can be created), and was replaced with techno-shamanism and a more Anvilicious source of insanity: "gun spirits".
  • Dungeons & Dragons settings - as a rule - don't have scientists of any sort, but when you do find one in a highly magical world, he or she is probably a mad one.
    • Greyhawk had some pretty crazy mechanical and semi-magical Schizo Tech made by humans and gnomes alike, the craziest of which—along with wacky stories of the inventors—was collected in 'The Book of Wondrous Inventions' sourcebook (once trampled by Something Awful). Most of it hardly has a place in a sane game, but is sort of funny—that is, as long as The Loonie in your party didn't read it too.
    • It's up to Ravenloft to take up slack for the others on this trope. Being a "Gothic horror" game-setting, it does so in spades, with golem-crafters (Victor Mordenheim, Emil Bollenbach), Mix-and-Match Critter-makers (Frantisek Markov, Vjorn Horstman), Mind-Raping psychiatrists (Daclaud Heinforth, Celeste d'Honaire-Levode), and Woobie-ish crackpots trying to reconstruct their dead loved ones (too many to list). (It also abounds in mad wizards, but that's a different trope.)
    • Dragonlance developed the concept of tinker gnomes, and Spelljammer imported some as they spread from Krynn in their insane space-steamboats. Mad science is their principal business, religion, and means of defense. They're the creators of such creatures as the giant space hamster, the carnivorous giant space hamster, the fire-breathing phase doppelganger giant space hamster or the miniature giant space hamster. And Al-mi'raj ("experiment 72"), known for non-tinker gnomes as "Blink bunny". They tend to build overcomplicated contraptions prone to slapstick malfunction.
    • Forgotten Realms has Lantan, the land full of followers of Gond, the patron of invention. A good example is Tinkersdam of Gond, an alchemist who, after far too many accidents involving explosions, was exiled from several cities and ended up in a cave in Tethyr. He made high explosives just for fun, and directed charges at that... but sucked at making time-fuses. He also made pre-ordered weird stuff, like a mask that allowed a sleeping half-elf to pose as an elf in reverie because it did flawlessly fit over his client's face and has quite convincing open and blinking eyes (no magic). He also got some sort of hyper-awareness in his lab — he not only never knocked over anything by accident, but didn't even let a kettle he didn't see boil out. Which may be the main reason why he lived that long. Another example is Nadul DaRoni, gnomish DaVinci expy whose ads appeared in Aurora's Catalogue with a comment "Madman, perhaps; genius, perhaps; annoying, most definitely".
    • I13 Adventure Pack I, adventure "The Circus of Gandolfo". Gandolfo experiments with bringing dead bodies and body parts to life.
    • 3.5 includes a variety of classes or prestige classes that play this straight, mix this with mad wizardry, or are a stand-alone mad wizard.
    • The Eberron setting has the Artificer class. Being mad isn't technically a prerequisite for the class, but try finding someone with an Artificer character playing it any other way.
      • Eberron also has Mordain the Fleshweaver, a rogue transmuter wizard who spends his time digging into the lore of the daelkyr. He lives in Droaam, the kingdom of monsters, where the locals carefully avoid his tower - and note that Droaam's locals include a sizeable population of ogres and the heads of state are night hags.
  • Exalted:
    • The entire setting is a playground for some of these. Combine the sorcerer-engineer castes, such as the Twilights, with the Great Curse, and every so often you'll get things like the Beasts of Resplendent Liquid.
    • And then we have their Green Sun Prince counterparts, the Defilers. Mad Science is practically a divine domain of their patron, and they combine it with Psychic Powers. Their Abyssal versions, the Daybreaks, tend to fit under here if they're nice.
    • Given some of the requirements for creating a Liminal Exalt (someone obsessed with bringing back the dead, or creating life from death, who puts their obsession into practice), it's quite likely a Liminal's creator was one of these.
  • Pathfinder has the Alchemist class, bomb-chucking, drug-swilling expies of Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde, Herbert West, and Doctor Moreau.
  • A good amount of the masters from My Life with Master.
  • Turn up fairly regularly in Paranoia; many of them are employed by Friend Computer inventing exciting new weapons and devices for the the player-character Troubleshooters to test; Meanwhile, the Pro Tech secret society is made up of enthusiastic amateurs.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Kozaky and Magical Scientist, two monsters fit this trope. Kozaky isn't a very useful card unless you're using a Human Wave Deck, and Magical Scientist is an illegal card (due to a notorious One-Hit Kill strategy it can use with Catapult Turtle); however, both monsters are featured on the artwork on many Spell and Trap Cards, suggesting that they were involved in the creation of many things in the game that only a Mad Scientist could think up, such as the Koa'ki Meirus.
    • Cyborg Doctor seems to fit the bill too, if his appearance is any suggestion, although his effect doesn't seem all-too sinister.
  • Mwahahaha! - a "card game of mad scientists and global domination".
  • Deviant science is a known phenomenon in Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine, and its practitioners have a distinct tendency for the eccentric. Main character Leonardo de Montreal practices Nightmare Science, which is like deviant science, except more biological. He also happens to be a megalomaniac who lost his innate sense of right and wrong, and made himself a moral prosthetic to replace it.
  • The druid Archon Megalon in The Dark Eye is a mad psychologist. He is fascinated by the effects of fear on the human psyche, particularly on crowds, so he tends to cause panic-spreading disasters and upheavals in order to study the reactions. For Science.
  • While it would require all of a normal starting character's available stunts, being one of these from the word go or, failing that, growing into it later is within reach for players in Spirit of the Century's interwar pulp setting. (Being merely a "weird" scientist capable of creating plausible inventions that are merely ahead of their time by a few decades is slightly cheaper.) Unsurprisingly, this is also a common villain archetype; between the sample characters and the example adventure there are at least two obvious ones...and then there's Doctor Methuselah with his mastery of equation-based "mathematical magic", who may well be something more sinister altogether.
  • The White Mice of the Cult of Labo Tor in Pugmire search for Man's 100 Theories by kidnapping people and performing horrific experiments on them. Even other rats want nothing to do with them.

  • The Dolls of New Albion features Annabelle McAlistair who's raising up the dead. She brings her school crush Jasper back to life. It turns out he didn't want to be brought back to life and she destroys the Doll.

    Theme Parks 
  • The Timekeeper attraction at Disney Theme Parks starred a robotic one voiced by Robin Williams.
  • Universal's Halloween Horror Nights:
    • The Caretaker is a surgeon-cum-mortician who started wondering what made some of his patients pass on despite his best efforts and grew obsessed with the concept of the soul, and started performing gruesome medical procedures first on the corpses from the graveyard, then on homeless people he lured in with the promise of a place to stay.
    • Concept art reveals that The Boneyard from 1994 had one doing something to (what was presumably) a corpse in one of the rooms.
  • Busch Gardens' Howl-O-Scream event had one as its very first "Icon", named "Dr. Livingsdoom".

  • All the Makuta in BIONICLE, especially Mutran. The Great Beings also qualify.
  • The Doctor Dreadful line of toys features the eponymous doctor as its mascot, and encourages kids to become one too by using his lab toys to make the various gross food creations.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Dra Koi there was once a mad scientist who created an ether destroying device in order to kill a dragon. This is considered a Fantasy way of fighting and thus an acceptable way of beating a dragon since he destroyed the machine and killed himself afterward, which stops anyone from doing it again.
  • In the True Ending of ClockUp's Euphoria, this is what your so-called "Osananajimi" Kanae turns out to be, among other things. Oh, and so are her parents.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 
  • Abstruse Goose shows that being a mad scientist isn't that exciting in Real Life...
  • Annyseed has the crazy, charming, sometimes grumpy and a little suspicious, Yet lovable, Professor Tripadiculous. He likes doing tests on Monkeys. He has the documents required or that sort of thing too. So don't question him.
  • Al from The Brothers Quack, he got the inspiration for making Duck/Butterfly chimeras after he had a nightmare about turning into one himself.
  • Casey and Andy was created with the tagline, "Mad scientist roommates who periodically die." Both the eponymous mad scientists have, frequently, died, often at each other's hands, and often while indulging in mad science experiments. It doesn't help that one of them dates (a female) Satan, and their neighbour is an extreme Weirdness Magnet who is also an international jewel thief.
  • The Russian atomic bomb researcher from Atomic Robo.
  • Lionel Flammel from Monsterful, though he's not really evil at all he seems to get really excited with his ideas, often making him commit terrible mistakes such as letting a huge Chimera free. His array of mad science includes making the perfect pet to making crime-fighting robot girls and who knows what else.
  • Books Don't Work Here has Sparky to fill this role, and while he only has a bachelor's degree he is far enough removed from lucidity to qualify.
  • Girl Genius:
    • The comic is set in an alternate timeline where "Mad Scientists rule the world. Badly." Here the trope is codified as 'the Spark' (implying a 'spark of genius'), and carries with it a strange charisma which binds minions to one's will - as well as an unfortunate tendency toward emotional outbursts of the "I'll show them all!" variety. Sane technicians and scientists are relatively uncommon, and often blend in with the crowd with Large Ham performances of their own. Centuries of Spark-to-Spark combat have left Europe a wasteland dotted with old wreckage, smoldering ruins, roaming monstrosities and the occasional heavily fortified town. Even the common people have adapted - those who have been under the protection of Spark dynasties for generations tend to fall readily under their spell as 'natural minions,' and are pleasantly surprised when they're not suddenly part of the latest experiment.
    • The protagonist is the latest in a long line of incredibly powerful Sparks, and has a habit of creating 'dingbots' (a Do-Anything Robot about the size of an alarm clock). She's such a powerful Spark that they show Sparky tendencies themselves, and build dingbots of their own (though each generation is increasingly defective). In other words, even her creations fit the Mad Scientist trope.
    • One of the prisoners in Castle Heterodyne (a dumping ground for mad scientists who are even more violently insane than the common-or-garden variety or have otherwise violated the Pax Transylvanica) is a mad social scientist, and none too pleased with how the hard mad sciences get all the funding.
      Doctor Mittlemind: I told the Baron, give me a thousand orphans, a hedge maze and enough cheese, and I could—
  • Lovely Lovecraft: In backstory material and extras, Herbert West attempts to use science to resurrect the dead. This is consistent with his origin story in Herbert West–Reanimator.
  • Professor T.X. of M9 Girls! is more mild-mannered than your usual mad scientist. Still, his reasons for transforming his interns into the super-powered M9 Girls might not be just For Science!.
  • Dr. Pilven from Maliki conducted experiments to attempt to recreate mnesic cristallisations, by giving cats to orphans that they'll become attached to, then killing the cat in the hope of triggering the cristallisation. His "scientific protocol" also involved drugging the orphans beforehand in order for them to be easier to control, and sending the cristallisations he created to fight against others in order to test their fighting abilities.
  • Narbonic has "going Mad" as an inheritable genetic disorder. The main characters are a mad scientist, her hapless lackey, her gun-toting assistant, and a superintelligent gerbil she created. Not only is mad scientist Helen B. Narbon a Card Carrying Mad Scientist but her mother (with whom she shares 100% of her genome) is also.
  • Skin Horse:
    • The series is a not-quite sequel to Narbonic, and is filled with the transgenetic products of said Mad Scientist types, including Sweetheart, an intelligent dog who's one of the heroes. Her creator Captain Bram is definitely a mad scientist. He plotted to take over the United States because the A.K.C. wouldn't recognize his genetically-engineered super battle dog as a registrable breed.
    • However, Dr Virginia Lee, the Black Ops scientist who created a nanotech zombie living weapon, transferred the brain of an antisocial gamer into a helicopter, and has a reputation as "a ruthless brain butcher" is not a Mad Scientist. At least, she doesn't suffer from Science-Related Memetic Disorder, however stable her sanity may or may not be otherwise.
      The Abbess: How is this not mad science, again?
      Dr Lee: Perspective!
    • Lee is one of the very few "sane" scientists capable of deciphering mad science and making it sane.
      Dr Lee: No! I´ll build my own, sensible brain vending machine!
      Sergio Mendoza: Step back from that sentence and reassess.
    • Tigerlilly Jones is a blaxploitation-themed mad scienist.
      Tigerlilly: You think I'm crazy because I don't know I'm not an Egyptian Princess reincarnated on Planet Lovetron. But I DO know. I'm crazy 'cause I don't CARE.
    • The guys at the Department of Irradiation also insist they're not Mad Scientists, it's a recognized DSM-IV disorder, they're just irresponsible.
  • A Miracle of Science is set in a future where Mad Science is a memetically-transmitted mental disease.
  • Nukees features Gaviscon van Darrin ("I'm not mad, just really disappointed"), Danny Hua (creator of the Giant Robot Ant), and His Royal Highness King Luca, Monarch of the Nuclear Engineering Department of U.C. Berkeley.
  • Umlaut House and its successor involve several mad scientists, of both good and evil varieties, and had a Mad Science Convention.
  • Sluggy Freelance:
    • Dr. Schlock, time-traveling expert of Inflatable Technology, and Riff, a violently-minded tinkerer. And they're two of the good guys.
    • Dr. Crabtree, who created Y2k incompliant nanites that nearly killed off most of humanity, and turned herself into a nanite cyborg. And Dr. Steve Hereti, who claimed to have created Oasis and could control her via a wrist watch. And Dr. Scabmoreaureau, who created "Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Gas", which forces two DNA strands to battle each other for supremacy to make genetic clean-up a fun game for the kiddies. Did I mention he's one of Santa's Elves? Yeah, Sluggy Freelance is lousy with Mad Scientists.
    • Sluggy also gives a pretty good explanation for why mad science is unrepeatable: Riff doesn't write down "no-brainers" in his notes, so when people try to replicate his inventions, they can't, since they're used to everything being exactly as written.
  • Mad About U. is about a college for mad scientists.
  • El Goonish Shive:
  • General Protection Fault has Nick Wellington and Dr. Wisebottom (his uncle), and Nick's evil Mirror Universe duplicate, Emperor Nick. There has been discussion of an "Inventor's Gene" running in the family.
  • Schlock Mercenary:
    • Several, most notably Kevyn Andreyasn. Also, his good friend "Gav" Bleuel (cryonically-preserved author of Nukees), who accidentally duplicated himself 950 million times, becoming one of the largest ethnic groups in the galaxy. But for Para Ventura, Kevin is not mad scientist enough. Until she discovers he's got anti-matter epaulets, which could be said to be madness, in a way
    • Para Ventura also fits the bill in her first mission, although LOTA is more adaptable than Dr. Frankenstein's monster.
  • Alexa from Gold Coin Comics is a top scientist for the empire's military. She has alluded to dangerous experiments conducted in the past.
  • Jyrras Gianna in Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures. Dabbles in mixing science and sorcery (though he is not a wizard himself), invents a 'cosmetic patch' that alters one's appearance, builds hypertech weaponry out of boredom, and accidentally created new life forms twice (three times, if you count his part in the creation of the Mows). Unlike most mad scientists, he had enough on the ball to make a fortune from his inventions. His depiction in the Show Within a Show Spoof Spy Story depicts him as an actual one. He proceeds to subvert and lampshade various traditional tropes used by by Mad Scientist throughout the arc. (Such as while having a base in a volcano, it's dormant (The crater is in fact filled with orange pillows, not lava).)
  • Jordan Kennedy in Exploitation Now, an embittered and tragic Teen Genius who is the last survivor of a project to enhance human intelligence to super-human levels. Known for holding countries for ransom with stolen nuclear weapons and an orbital laser or two.
  • Arthur, King of Time and Space:
    • Morgan La Fey is an amoral sorceress in the baseline arc, but a Mad Scientist in the Western arc. And in the future arc, she's an amoral scientist and a Mad Sorceress.
    • The same webcomic also applies elements of the Mad Scientist trope to King Pelles and his daughter Elaine of Carbonek, and their quest to create the ultimate hero of Christianity (Galahad), by merging their line with Lancelot's. The newspost under the strip revealing this plan (and that Elaine is based on Helen Narbon) calls them "Mad Theologians".
  • Most members of the Society of Inventors in Scary Go Round are in fact somewhat benevolent mad scientists. Other characters in the series (such as Archie Stanwyck and the monkey-obsessed Dr. Petrescu) are mad scientists pure and simple. Especially Petrescu, who's idea of a mobile phone is a normal landline strapped to a monkeys head.
  • Eric, the nerd from Loserz, having a mad scientist moment.
  • Smic, also known as Sir Reginald, is a British mad scientist of neo-victorian style. His antics include, harnessing the power of sunspots to fill a house with pizza, defeating an acid monster with his bare hands and raising the recently deceased.
  • Molly the Peanut Butter Monster, Galatea the Other Peanut Butter Monster, and Dean Martin in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!. Poor Dr. Jean Poule would probably qualify as well, with her bizarre pet project which accidentally generated Molly – if not for the fact that Jean is, in many ways, the sanest person in the whole comic, a quality which in her universe is actually a bit of a handicap.
    • The Rogue Canadian Scientists and their buddy Slick are by far the straightest examples in the comic, though. The former are named "Dr. Madden McMadmad and Dr. Amad de Mademad," and Slick gets to shout, "Blind fools!!!! They called me mad! I'll show them! I'll show them all!"
  • Flintlocke's Guide to Azeroth:
    • The group of engineers who constructed the Ultimate Goblin Engineered Weapon.
    • Probably Flintlocke too, regarding weapon engineering.
  • Minions At Work: Offering An early retirement plan with a fresh, minty after-taste!
  • In the 70-Seas side story Mary Mendele, the title character is a Mad Scientist who is also a nun.
  • Freefall:
    • Florence, a humanoid wolf and a main character, sometimes worries that her creator, Dr. Bowman, isn't entirely on the straight and narrow. Said wolf also thought breaking down stars for parts was a good idea...
    • Bowman has been confirmed as an example as well, but for unusual reasons. He's a genetically engineered chimp. While he's a bit eccentric, and openly obsessive about his work, he's also well aware of the self-control issues inherent to his status and has arranged for his entire lab to be padded to prevent him from damaging it.
    • Dvorak could be considered a robot Mad Scientist. His various experiments are done purely For Science!, and "Information wants to be free!" is practically a catchphrase for him. He's responsible for inventing robot poison, robot booze, at least one system for motorising a corpse, and the widely feared feral waffle irons.
    Dvorak: Also, I noticed your vacuum cleaner is underpowered. Would you like me to upgrade it to the megawatt range?
    Winston: Wouldn't that make the house implode?
    Dvorak: My owner asked the same question! The answer turned out to be 'Yes', but I know what I did wrong!
  • Mad Dr. Nesbit from Supermegatopia.
  • Exoth from Irritability is a professional mad scientist who spends much of his time making things that are either random or actively harmful to those around him.
  • EVIL (the Elite Villain's Institute of learning) has an entire Mad Science department.
  • Tales of the Questor:
    • The Artifactor's Guild, the Alchemist's guild and more tellingly, the entire student body of their University.... on a grimmer note, they have the historical figure of Rosad Athair Beither, a biomancer (essentially a biologist/genetic engineer) who was obsessed with the origin of monsters, and created monstrosities and conducted horrific experiments on helpless victims as part of his "research." More horribly, his discoveries had such shocking implications that the Racconan government put a stay on his execution till he finished compiling his notes.... and there is apparently a secret society of his followers still active in the Sanctuary City underground.
    • A later side-arc introduces a slightly more benevolent version, in the form of a biomancer attempting to gain sponsorship for his toxin-removing plants....
    • The protagonist and two of his friends (one an apprentice artifactor) managed to make an extremely powerful sword whose effects seem completely random, while drunk.
    • In this world magic lux can be scientifically analyzed, and makes up the bulk of Racconnan technology.
  • In Fans! there's a psychiatric wing for mad scientists. Professor Ignatius Fitz fits the trope to a T.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court traditionally balances on the verge of this. Even not counting occasional pieces of Magitek. Starting from the creator of Court robots who did lose some important marbles from his head and his "children" are rather... fanciful — like non-flying Winged Humanoid "Seraph", or the cutest weather station you'll ever see. To trim the grass in park these guys happily use talking and learning robot cows with lasers in the eyes. And then there's Kat and her compact anti-gravity device highly customized crystallizer.
  • Dr. Tal A. Kinesis in Evil Plan The Webcomic, an almost textbook example. His pseudonym reflects the telekinesis he gave himself in an experiment. He has an underground lab filled with inventions, but he can't fix any of them himself. The reason? He's just the programmer, and after a fight the real inventor left to become his enemy.
  • Dr Nonami: Dr. Mechano is the classic variant of the mad scientist archetype, though the hero Nonami also has some minor aspects of this.
  • Last Res0rt: Dr. Daisy Archanis, although right now she's unable to be a proper mad scientist, since she lacks access to an appropriate lab. Didn't stop her from building her own robotic leg while incarcerated, though.
  • The Mansion of E: Sylvester's ancestor Ludwig, who left behind numerous dangerously useful magical-powered machines.
  • The Whiteboard has Doc and Roger, though Doc focuses on paintball and military hardware. If you pay attention to the forums, Doc is also a Mad Scientist in Real Life, being a machinist with a penchant for mayhem.
  • Cyanide & Happiness has one too.
  • Game Destroyers had Dr. Fred Edison of Maniac Mansion as their army's mad scientist for a period of time. He was replaced by Dr. Benedict and Magnus von Tazar later on.
  • It appears that Franken from Noblesse has been one in his old days, which isn't surprising, considering his name. He even has an eleborate lab in his apartment and is very willing to use anyone for subjects, although it's mostly for harmless and frankly silly experiments, but it horrifies people anyway. It becomes especially evident if he unlocks his seal and unleashes his Superpowered Evil Side, which is the biggest source of horror in the series.
  • mezzacotta has Scott. The cast page claims he's not mad. Judge for yourself. Inevitable It's alive! It's alive! and, of course, For SCIENCE! Not that it was never called for. He doesn't always test things on humans right away. And sometimes he seems to be right. Others, such as Character #23 sometimes have recognizable fits of Mad Science as well.
  • May of Wapsi Square was most likely one of these back in the day. Her inventions and plans have resulted in a few end of the world scenarios.
  • Wayward Sons: Doctor Chu is a small being resembling a rat, who is a brilliant scientist. He also happens to get a lot of his results by performing torturous experiments on live subjects. And it's often not for science.
  • Far Out There has a supporting cast swarming with mad scientists. Hardly surprising when a major arc took place in a mad scientist convention.
  • Commedia 2X00 features Professor Dottore, a cyberneticist whose experiments building Super Fighting Cyborgs got his funding cut off by the Institute Academy. Lives in an island fortress shaped like his head, occasionally yells things in Greek and Latin; labcoat, goggles, baldness.
  • Tales Of Gnosis College is devoted to this trope. Examples include the relatively benign Professor Joseph Corwin and the not-so-benign Dr. Emil Strangeways.
  • In Frankie and Stein, the titular Stein is an adorkable Mad Scientist child, complete with Mad Scientist Laboratory.
  • Eerie Cuties got professor Wilhelmina Twiggit. She's kind of fun. And always needs some guinea pigs. To the laboratory!
  • In one Sinfest strip, God uses a Mad Scientist puppet.
  • In Bob and George, Megaman just loves working for one.
  • One of Jix's Multiple Personalities is Lamerix, formed from Remula's suppressed urge to build stuff. Stuff like death rays, interdimensional portals, gender- and species-swap beams...
  • Invoked by Skathi in The Senkari, when she creates a mortal in Frankensteinian style, complete with lightning.
    Skathi: It lives! ...I love doing that.
  • The Horrifying Experiments of Dr. Pleasant!: Dr. Pleasant has shark teeth and emotional problems and science, and he's not afraid to use any of them. He excels at revival from the dead via Monster Girl.
  • Cowbirds in Love observes that most mad 'scientists' are actually mad engineers.
  • Frank from Two Guys and Guy. He's a sociopathic Serial Killer who probes aliens. He has also made several back-up clones for Wayne and plenty of unique devices.
  • The hat of Baro from Marooned, except they're not evil. Suicidally reckless, on the other hand...
  • The eponymous characters of The Glass Scientists are all those - a kryptozoologist who turned himself into a werewolf, a man studying invisibility on his cat, Jekyll & Hyde... They're seen as public threat, but Henry Jekyll is attempting to rebrand them as beneficial for society.
  • Celia of Addictive Science goes to a university for mad scientists, and is a bit trigger-happy with the transformation zappers she makes and keeps trying to take over the world (not too seriously though). And she's not the only one in the comic by a long shot.
  • Keychain of Creation has Elegant Nova of Progression. As mad scientists who may or may not be magitek robots themselves and occasionally get into fights with protagonists go, she's a pretty nice person; even her work to "upgrade" mortals seems to be reasonably consensual at least as far as the reader can tell, which isn't at all a given in the world of Exalted.
  • In M Ks The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde, Dr. Jekyll does qualify as one considering he tried to create a formula that would better people chemically though he did so with good intent only.

    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation:
  • Dr Romanoff in A Grey World fits the trope well, his frustration at bureaucracy of the scientific community leads him to perform secret experiments For Science!
  • In Brennus, these guys are calles Contrivers. Telling them their creations don't work is a bad idea.
  • The main character, her family, and a major part of the cast in Defection counts as this.
  • To Welcome Oblivion has Dr. Lilith Madison, a scientist who had hundreds of innocents kidnapped and experimented on with Eldritch Energy to see what effects it would have on them. Predictably, dozens of the test subjects died horribly.
  • Whateley Universe: Tons of them, both at Whateley Academy and in general. The school has two whole categories of of super-scientists, Gadgeteers (ES Pers and Technopaths who instinctively know how to create new things, but only within the bounds of ordinary physics) and Devisors (creators of Applied Phlebotinum that bends the laws of reality). Either type can end up as Mad Scientists, but devisors are far more likely to due to the I Reject Your Reality aspects of their power. A few students have both traits, which tends to makes things dicey. Note that even the crazy ones sometimes make money legitimately, with Gadgeteers being able to get patents and Devisors sometimes being able to sell their one-of-a-kind Devises (for huge fees), so their supertech does have some impact on society, but various other factors ranging from CorruptCorporateExecutives to Fantastic Racism to Chronic Villainy mean that not all do, and plenty regardless of sanity end up as SuperVillains.
    • Some Mad Scientist types (as well as other superpowered people) have the "madness as a disease" trope. The universe has an illness called Diedrick's Syndrome that only affects some mutants, and Devisors are one of the two groups most susceptible to it (the other being electrical energizers). Due to an imbalance of neurotransmitters, the person can get paranoid, megalomaniac, etc., and that makes the imbalance worse, so things escalate until finally, said character is insanely screaming about destroying the planet because, say, he originally just lost his car keys.
    • Examples of Mad Scientist students at Whateley Academy include:
      • Overclock, who plotted to make a fellow student accidentally kill fellow students in a holographic simulation and drive her permanently insane, all because she ate the last of his favorite breakfast cereal.
      • Mega-Death, who chose the name while " 'dricking out" and unfortunately can Never Live It Down.
      • Jobe, who, well, he's not mad, exactly, but his Blue and Orange Morality means that there's little he won't do, consequences be damned. He planned to turn his first girlfriend into a drow and bond her to him by ensuring she would only reach orgasm with the first person she has sex with (This serum worked really well when he accidentally injected himself with it). And that's not even close to the worst thing Jobe has done, and he's only about fifteen right now. Even the good things he has done are hideous: take his new vaccine for dysentery, which will save thousands of lives every year, and which he made by testing it on unwilling people on his father's island. He regularly gets censured by the United Nations - not the Karedonian government, but Jobe himself.
  • This Shousetsu Bang*Bang fic has a mad scientist as main character, along with his loyal minion, Scarface.
  • The Pentagon War, which tries to be serious Hard SF, actually has a character named The Mad Scientist.
  • Sonny gets Mad Scienced deconstructs this sort of thing by showing it from the perspective of the potential victim. It addresses issues such as funding and why the henchmen would even still work with a lunatic. Turns out they have a "Death Ray clause" in their contract.
  • Spectral Shadows has Dr. Penning, who wishes to experiment on Raelian Ommandeer for his own evil gains. And then he also creates The Anthrodroids, which are basically android anthropomorphic animals.
  • SF Debris reimagines Captain Janeway of Star Trek: Voyager as one of these, to the point that for the episode "Scientific Method", which involves the Voyager crew being experimented on, has to have a rider that this time it isn't Janeway. Her exploits have included breeding hives of flying tarantulas with a taste for eyeballs, building an emotion bomb, creating a "rape gorilla", rigging the consoles to electrify their users for her own amusement, sending redshirts to their deaths because they serve Mexican food at the funerals, and the creation of something only known as "Kes-kotay".
    "First, it's a mutant, not a monster; second, those chains are unbreakable, and third, I only made one, so if you kill it, that's technically genocide! And technically suicide."

    Web Videos 

    Real Life 
  • Read the essay "Engineering and Truth" (Philosophy and Engineering 1) by Peter Lipton and realize that the trope title might be a complete misnomer — it should be "Mad Engineer". He claims that the cliche of revolutionary scientists and conservative engineers has it ass-backwards — scientists are conservative (read Thomas Kuhn too!) and engineers (always standing before new problems) are revolutionary. If scientists only make theories — theories don't kill people, gadgets kill people. (Cue Einstein who laid the groundwork for the atomic bomb and would be prone to this trope, but he never left the blackboard.) Clearly the trope depends on people being scientific and engineering genius at the same time, which is rather rare in Real Life. Following this reasoning, it's tempting to also file John Aristotle Phillips (a physics student demonstrating you can build your own household nuke — cost in the order $100,000, largest difficulty is getting plutonium, design hasn't been tested experimentally yet) and Cody Wilson (uploaded plans to the Net for a 3D printer to make a gun — cheap and working) under this trope. But to their defense, they didn't nuke or shoot anybody.
  • Isaac Newton, of all people. Throughout his life he placed more emphasis on the occult than science, considering his groundbreaking work to be only a minor achievement. He spent a considerable amount of time on biblical research and attempted to prove that the world would not end before 2060. He went mad at one point and accused philosopher John Locke of sending women to distract him from his divine mission. It's suspected that the mercury he used in his experiments caused brain damage and caused this episode. He once slipped a leather needle between his eye and eye socket "to test his eye theory". Thankfully, there were no lasting injuries, but you have to ask...why?
  • Nikola Tesla:
    • Tesla is the man who might have given creation to the whole trope: He built a Teleforce Death Ray. If that's not mad science, we don't know what is.
    • How about harnessing the world's biggest waterfall to power a city, producing 150-foot lightning bolts from his ominous mountain laboratory in Colorado, and plotting to broadcast free power to the world from the Wardenclyffe Tower?
    • Or, alternatively, how about that he had OCD and synesthesia, had flashbacks to his brother's death whenever he was stressed, and, in his later years, would talk to pigeons and mail letters to Samuel Clemens...who'd been dead for decades? He was definitely a psychologically-troubled member of the science profession, even if he hadn't been a Mad Scientist.
  • Albert Einstein and the German nuclear physicists heavily influenced early Mad Scientists like Rotwang in the late 1920s. Crucial to the popularity of these "eccentric German physicists" was how they rehabilitated the image of scientists as logic driven pacifists in the wake of WWI, at a time when both war and Germans were intensely unpopular. (Einstein, with his characteristic wild hairdo, became the first scientific superstar and the first Popular Geek, helping spawn the concept of a Reluctant Mad Scientist whose inventions are inevitably misused.)
  • Nazi Germany scientist Josef Mengele, AKA "the Angel of Death". It's not unheard of to think that his name was pronounced "Mangle". Given what he did to the prisoners of Auschwitz, that wouldn't have been too much of a stretch. Butterfly specimen eyeballs. Mengele was primarily an anthropologist (he was a PhD/MD) and not an incompetent one. And compared to what the Japanese military scientists came up with, he was a piker even where basic cruelty was concerned. The Japanese had medical experiments going that would have made Mengele, if not some of his more creative colleagues, cringe.
  • In a similar vein, the Japanese scientists of Unit 731 led by Surgeon General Shiro Ishii performed experiments on POWs during the war that makes one wonder if they were trading notes with Mengele at the time. (Ironically, when Shiro Ishii traded Unit 731's results to the U.S. in exchange for amnesty after the war, the U.S. discovered that their equivalent research programs were more advanced, despite having been conducted without the "benefit" of mad science.)
  • Also the scientists in MKULTRA, who really were trading notes with Nazi scientists.
  • Austrian-American psychiatrist Wilhelm Reich, whose work on human sexuality led him to "discover" Orgone Energy, an omnipresent cosmic lifeforce that was generated (among other things) by orgasm. He sold Orgone Accumulators and built Orgone-powered "Cloudbusters" which could supposedly make it rain, and ended up being shut down by the Food And Drug Administration for selling lunatic medical devices that didn't work. Another version of the story has government agents smashing his laboratory and burning his books because the "effectiveness" of his work offended the country's puritanical values. He even had minions, and his followers continue his work to this day at his house in Rangeley, Maine.
  • Aforementioned webcomic Casey and Andy twice had the "Casey And Andy Mad Science Award" for examples of Mad Science in real life. Both times, NASA won: in 2004 for the Genesis Probe and again in 2005 for the Deep Impact space mission. It also appears to have been awarded to the Mythbusters, at least in their early episodes.
  • Alexander Bogdanov - Russian-Soviet biologist, science fiction writer, Communist revolutionary, economist and possibly a real-life Vampire Wannabe. He is renowned for his saner moments such as creating an early precursor to systems theory, but Bogdanov was much more (in)famous for his obsessive experimenting with blood. He believed that treatment and transfusion of young blood to old people was the way to reverse aging, cure diseases and achieve immortality. Even among early Bolsheviks who were quiet eccentric and innovative bunch, he stood out. He died during a blood transfusion experiment on himself in 1929, just in time to avoid being executed along with other Old Bolsheviks in The Great Purge.
  • Thomas Edison:
    • He is often portrayed in popular fiction as an evil mad scientist — not because of his scientific skills, but because of his vicious business acumen. He ran a sort of 'idea farm' at Menlo Park and recruited down-on-their-luck inventors to hammer out new devices, allegedly taking the credit (and patent rights) for many of them with or without some of his own input in exchange for financial support and a place to work. Critics claim he didn't always pay what he promised, with Tesla's case being just the most famous.
    • Plus, he electrocuted an elephant to scare people against Alternating Current, which his rival's power company used. He possibly invented the Electric Chair to scare people against Alternating Current!
    • Edison also paid gangs of minions with clubs to smash up early movie theaters and beat the projectionists because they weren't using Edison Brand Projectors.
  • DARPA, the US Government's official program to fund Mad Science. Their only mission is "radical innovation". They fund all sorts of seemingly off the wall projects. Among their successes are night-vision goggles, GPS, and a little thing called the Internet... oh, and funding a little thing called the DARPA Challenge, for self-driving cars.
  • There is a real life psychological diagnosis known as "Mad Scientist Syndrome", so named because it tends to be a case of actually believing (some wacky event) such as alien invasion, or collapse of the world economy, will "Show them all that I was right!"
  • Yet another article from Cracked about the dangers of science here. Surprisingly, Josef Mengele didn't get mentioned. Perhaps the Cracked writers didn't want to dedicate an entry to a guy whose idea of "science" was torturing helpless prisoners for kicks. Seanbaby's article about exploring the depths of the human mind with The Sims 3 pokes at the whole Nazi scientist thing. Why, without ethics, he says, scientific knowledge increased by leaps and bounds! But then World War II ended and the Nazis that were left were forced to treat Jews, gypsies, and assorted other non-Aryans like human beings again, and that all stopped. So isn't it wonderful now that EA Games has created a people simulator we can use for the same thing?
  • Heston Blumenthal specialises in using scientific study to create tastier food (or, to use the specialist term, molecular gastronomy), his restaurant is currently number two in the world. A quick look at the menu will tell you why he's earnt a place of honour on this list. As will a quick look at him in his kitchen. Scientist-looking chef whites, Bald of Evil, frothing beakers of liquid nitrogen and dry ice... the only thing stopping him being a classic mad scientist is that he hasn't actually killed anyone yet. (Well, that, and the fact that he's actually this kind of giggly guy with a childlike love of messing with people's expectations and bringing them massive hits of nostalgia.)
  • Buckminster Fuller. He invented many things, few of which saw much use. He made up words by dicing up other words and sticking the parts together. He slept two hours a day, spread across four 30-minute naps, for two years. He kept a diary of his entire life, updating it every 15 minutes and including a family history, newspaper clippings, sketches, and copies of all bills and correspondence. From 1915 to 1983. He was still very influential, however. One invention of his that really did take off is the geodesic dome, one of the most efficient ways of enclosing space ever devised, most famously used for EPCOT at Disney World. Also, when a weird class of carbon nanoparticles was discovered that had a geodesic shape, what did they call them? Buckyballs! Or buckminsterfullerene, if you want to be technical.
  • Jack Parsons- One of the men that helped refine the jet engine and allow for space flight. He was also a disciple of Aleister Crowley, and teamed up with none other than L. Ron Hubbard. Their attempt was to summon a goddess which would help the new aeon bloom into one of free love and peace rather than war — something which made even Crowley wonder what these nitwits were up to.. At one point an angered Parsons is said to have summoned a hurricane against Hubbard. Parsons saw no differentiation between science and magic and died when his lab exploded.
  • Edward Teller, the inventor of the hydrogen bomb, who pushed like crazy to get the U.S. government to build it and openly advocated nuking the U.S.S.R. Also advocated using a nuke to excavate a harbor in Alaska, and building a tunnel across America using nukes to do the mining. Once used a nuclear test to light his cigar (a man could get cancer doing a thing like that). He was also the main push behind the Excalibur system — a nuclear bomb pumped gamma/x-ray laser. An advanced version could fire at hundreds of targets simultaneously. While the principle works, SDI as a whole was doomed to sink long before they dealt with inevitable technical problems, including independently aiming a hundred lasing wires.
  • There exists another...Troy Hurtubise, a Canadian backyard inventor, who has invented little things like fire-paste, a grey clay-like material that can withstand blow-torch-grade heat directly for up to 10 minutes. How did he test this? By placing a mask of it over his own face! (What? How else would you do it?) He also invented a viable power armour system that sprang up as an offshoot of his bear fighting armour. The kicker? He invented all of this virtually on his own time and resources.
  • David Hahn, a/k/a The Radioactive Boy Scout, a 17 year old who attempted to build a homemade breeder nuclear reactor.
  • Harry Grindell Matthews, an American scientist who claimed to have built a death ray.
  • Jane Toppan, a nursing student turned serial killer. She would dose patients with morphine and atropine to see what it would do to their nervous systems, climb in bed with them, and hold them as they died. She also claimed to get a sexual thrill from her murders.
  • Some of these keep a lower profile, remaining content with experimenting with some of the nastiest compounds imaginable, and making scientific papers about it. One name that always seems to come up, however, is that of Thomas M. Klapötke. Let's just say that you basically have to wear body armor if you want to come anywhere near whichever lab he's in.
  • John Haldane, the man the WWI British government turned to in order to get a gas mask designed to protect their soldiers from German gas. He had worked down the mines of Scotland, so he was used to higher-ups issuing crap kit they'd never have to use themselves. He was determined that that would not happen in this case - so he tested chlorine gas on himself. In his own house. With his daughter instructed to break down the door and rescue him if he didn't knock back. Bad. Fucking. Ass.
    "Haldane was a great self-experimenter - he thought the human organism was the best animal to experiment on because it could report on what it was experiencing."
  • Gabriel Kron, the brilliant Hungarian engineer responsible for diving deep into diakoptics and related esoterica related to electrical machinery, a poster child for the over-unity/weird science crowd, and a forgotten hero/misunderstood genius of 20th century science. Introduced the term "Phase Creep" to describe spooky relativistic effects caused by large, spinning motors (a problem of which General Electric hired him to resolve). No more time travel problems here!
  • CERN was accused of this trope before the Hadron Supercollider came online, complete with protests fueled by a dodgy understanding of physics that feared thing would generate mini black holes that would grow and consume Earth. Seems Earth is still here.
  • William Moulton Marston: Co-inventor of the lie detector, the blood pressure cuff, and Wonder Woman comics. Definitely brilliant, definitely off his gourd. His lived in a happy polyamorous triad with his wife and their partner/research assistant, and argued in scientific journals about the inherent superiority of women and that the path to a more loving and just world could be achieved through proper application of BDSM. He was also surprisingly savvy about dealing with DC Comics; while most creators surrendered their characters for a one-time payment, Dr. Marston arranged a deal that more or less leased Wonder Woman to the company, with a share of the goods going to his estate for the care of his wives and children, a deal that lasted at least until Olive Byrne's (the last surviving member of the triad) death in the Eighties.
  • Hideo Murai was the head scientist of the Aum Shinrikyo Apocalypse Cult Far East Asian Terrorists that became known for the Tokyo sarin attacks. He was totally dedicated to the group and its leader, and worked on both the actual weapons and technology handled and developed by the group and on the completely nutty ideas proposed by the guru.
  • Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov was a Russian biologist who developed modern systems of livestock artificial insemination, creating a program that allowed Tsarist Russia, and later the Soviet Union, to produce animals in large numbers. He was also obsessed with using artificial insemination to create animal crossbreeds, including failed attempts to transplant human semen into a chimpanzee.
  • David Jones invoked the trope for fun. He had a long-standing column for British science mag "Nature" where he, in his persona "Daedalus", presented one wacky invention after another, and you never could be sure if it would work nevertheless.
  • Elon Musk has reached Memetic Badass status for his mad sciencing, having built and sold a (not a) flamethrower for the hell of it and shooting his car into space just to prove what the Space-X rocket was capable of. And this is only a few specific examples. A common joke is he's allowed to do what he wants out of fear he'll turn into The Green Goblin if anyone tries to stop him. Granted Musk isn't directly involved in most of the research and inventions conducted by his companies and is more of a mad "investor" than a scientist, but the internet simply doesn't care.

Alternative Title(s): Mad Science