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  1.  (3652.1)
    Everyone loves lists on the internet. This one is by the folks at Giving a very quick and easy to digest top ten list of real life "Mad Scientists". Pretty entertaining even though it very light on the details.

    Linkage and such.

    Personally would've put good old Jack Parson's up a little higher if I were making the list....
    • CommentTimeSep 19th 2008
    Awwww.... this kind of thing always leaves me conflicted. It's always great to see scientists getting some love, but it also makes me sad the way these lists tend to be largely white penis festivals.

    Oh well. Nothing against any of the scientists listed, of course. I merely long for a day of greater recognition and inclusion on racial and gender fronts.
  2.  (3652.3)
    Well how about naming some incredibly famous scientists of other races and genders right here? I'm not gonna lie, off-hand i can't think of any straight away,

    Perhaps famous women might be jane goodall and florence nightingale, Rosalyn Franklin and Marie Curie? They were all pretty damn coocoo.
    • CommentTimeSep 20th 2008
    uh, Marie Curie was cuckoo? She always struck me as an intelligent and extremely accomplished scientist.

    I'm always surprised when Archimedes and Hypatia don't make these lists. Particularly given the legends about Archimedes building superweapons to defend his hometown against the Romans.

    Tseng Kung-Liang, the attributed author of the first published gunpowder recipe, certainly counts as a Mad Scientist if Da Vinci does.

    Also, somewhat off-topic, but any list like this that picks Von Braun over Sergei "The Chief Designer" Korolev is seriously flawed.
  3.  (3652.5)
    @ Vanessa

    The first name to pop into my head was George Washington Carver! No man could invent that many uses and abuses for peanuts and sweet potatoes and be totally sane.
    • CommentTimeSep 20th 2008
    My friend and I once convinced a waitress at a restaurant that Robert Oppenheimer was my grandfather. I called him 'grandpa oppie' and convinced her that he was why I'm a "nuclear physics graduate student at Berkeley' (which is also untrue).

    Then we had to explain who Robert Oppenheimer was.
  4.  (3652.7)
    No Kurt Godel?
    • CommentAuthordanny
    • CommentTimeSep 20th 2008
    @tedcroland - thats funny.......... some older couple came into my job a month or so ago and the last name on the credit card was Oppenheimer, I told them that was an awesome last name to have and she said that her husband was his grandson.
    • CommentTimeSep 20th 2008
    Hmmm.... anyone else think it would be fun to post not just names but bits of notes and details?
    In an idealised version of this I'd love to write little reports about different scientists but I know perfectly well that that kind of thing feels like too big of a time commitment for me and I'd likely never get around to it.

    But how about this:
    Post a description. In as much or as little detail as you like. Be lazy and just make little notes (like I'm going to) or write something really elaborate if you prefer.
    Just remember to keep it non-fictional so that we aren't breaking important Whitechapel rules.

    Additionally, I think madness is in the eye of the beholder.
    • CommentTimeSep 20th 2008 edited
    Ada Lovelace

    This is kind of the obvious choice of big names for me to choose from as not only is she considered the first programmer, but she had great talent and schooling in mathematics and music and envisioned (among other things) a future with computer-generated music. There is a tonne of information about her online, so I'll link to a few obvious places but if you want to know more just use google.

    - Augusta Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace (10 December 1815 London, England – 27 November 1852 Marylebone, London, England), born Augusta Ada Byron, was the only legitimate child of Lord Byron.
    - Wrote the description for Babbage's analytical engine.
    - She's considered the first programmer because of work she did writing programs for Babbage's machine that hadn't even been built yet, and from that early time in computing science she had the foresight to see the potential use of computers as more than just calculators.
    - Her parents were separated just after her birth, and she was raised by her mother who saw to it that Ada received tutoring in mathematics and music, as disciplines to counter dangerous poetic tendencies.
    - She produced the design for a flying machine before the age of 13.
    - She suffered from migraine starting in childhood (though this is probably only of interest to me), and had many health struggles throughout her life.
    - She died of medicinal bloodletting associated with uterine cancer on November 27th, 1852, at the age of 37
    - Her father, the poet Lord Byron, called her "the princess of parallelograms", Charles Babbage called her "the enchantress of numbers", and she was one of the most mathematically gifted women of the history.

    Charles Dickens to Ada: Stop haunting me
    When she was thirty-three, Ada spent some time in Brighton with Charles Dickens. Soon afterwards (18 February 1849), he wrote her that strange things were happening at his hotel. He wondered whether Ada was "haunting" him, and if so: "I hope you won't do so."
    Three years later, Dickens visited Ada at her deathbed. He was one of the last non-family members, other than her physicians, to see her alive.

    - Babbage wrote of her:
    Forget this world and all its troubles and if
    possible its multitudinous Charlatans - every thing
    in short but the Enchantress of Numbers.

    Oooh! And I just found this BBC Radio piece about her which I will listen to this afternoon while I do some yoga.

    Edit: If anyone else had trouble getting the podcast from the bbc site, it is also available here.
    • CommentTimeJul 11th 2009
    People here might like this short comic about Babbage and Lovelace, on the BBC. I've literally just found it.
    I have absolutely nothing to do with it, btw.

    Nice though,
    • CommentAuthorBoga_
    • CommentTimeJul 11th 2009
    I've always wondered about the reason why Athanasius Kircher never gets any love.
    The "Last Renaissance Man", he deciphered Maian hieroglyphs and was recognizaed as his era's greates egyptologist, invented a primitive camera obscura, theorized about the Earth's interior and the motion of the tides, wrote a treatise on magnetic currents (and built a magnetic clock while at it), and he was one of the first scientists to realize that diseases were caused by microorganisms instead of acts of god.
    After his death though, the illuminists dismissed him and most of his theories as quack, while failing to realize that the most important thing about him were the questions he raised, rather than the answers he provided.

    Tycho Brahe should have been on that list as well.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJul 11th 2009
    "Well how about naming some incredibly famous scientists of other races and genders right here?"

    Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (Indian theoretical physisist; Nobel laureate)

    Charles Drew (African American doctor, pioneered blood transfusions)

    Chandra Wickramasinghe (Astrophycisist, frequent collaborator with Fred Hoyle)

    Steve Chu (although he's primarily known as the US Secretary of Energy).
  5.  (3652.14)
    Like a good mad science creation it has risen from the grave to haunt us once more! Love the additions Kos. I almost thought Chu was a bit bland to be considered a "mad" scientist, then I realized there probably is not many madder places than with the US Government.
  6.  (3652.15)
    Rear Admiral Grace Hopper: Mathematician and physicist. Wrote the first working compiler programs. Originated the programming language which became COBOL. Was the US Navy's chief for computer development and troubleshooter of IT crises for several decades.

    Lillian Moller Gilbreth: Psychologist and engineer. With her husband Frank Gilbreth, pioneered most of what we now call ergonomics ("time and motion study" in those days) and continued their work for close to half a century after his death, dealing with everything from factory floor configuration to home appliance design, physical therapy for the disabled, and management psychology.

    Hedy Lamarr : Better known as an actress...but also co-inventor of a system to randomly shift radio guidance frequencies for torpedoes - which now serves as the basis for modern spread-spectrum communications systems (such as cellular telephony and WiFi.)
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJul 12th 2009
    I should look these guy's names up but:

    1. Back in the 19th century, a Scottish doctor was so sure he had a cure for syphilis he convinced a group of his friednss and students to let him infect them. The cure didn't work.

    2. In the late 40's. early 50's, one of the early American "atomic piles" accidentally went critical. Realising they'd all received a critical dose, the senior scientist present first chalked an outline around his own feet then around the feet of each of the other people present. The information on how far they were from the reactor and how long it took each of them to die is still used when calculating safe levels of radiation.

    3. In the 19th century, a cousin of Edgar Allen Poe developed the first viable technique for resuscitating drowning victims. To publicise his discovery, he went on the road in sideshows, first drowning then reviving dogs.
    • CommentAuthorDC
    • CommentTimeJul 13th 2009
    Lillian Moller Gilbreth: Psychologist and engineer. With her husband Frank Gilbreth, pioneered most of what we now call ergonomics ("time and motion study" in those days) and continued their work for close to half a century after his death, dealing with everything from factory floor configuration to home appliance design, physical therapy for the disabled, and management psychology.
    Not forgotten. At least in industrial management in a historical context but some of their ideas still apply nowadays.
    • CommentAuthorVerissimus
    • CommentTimeJul 13th 2009
    Diogenes of Sinope

    He once masturbated in the Agora; when rebuked for doing so, he replied, "If only it was as easy to soothe my hunger by rubbing my belly."

    My hero. I love those crazy Greek philosophers.
    • CommentTimeJul 15th 2009

    Mathematicians are by definition crazy :-)

    @Don Hilliard:

    Hedy Lamarr and her then-husband, composer George Antheil, patented a clockwork frequency-hopping device that was small enough to fit on torpedos. It was based on the player piano mchanism, I think. This was during WWII, so the US Navy classified it secret, but sat on it for years, declassifying it, coincidentally enough, just after the patent had expired.
    • CommentAuthorJRadley
    • CommentTimeJul 15th 2009
    Dame Miriam Rothschild

    Zoologist, entomologist, conservationist, campaigner for gay rights, war-time code breaker at Bletchley Park and genuine eccentric...