See also HaHaOnlySerious
In the web comic A Miracle of Science (http://www.project-apollo.net/mos/), there exists a psychological disorder known as 'Science Related Memetic Disorder', better known as Mad Scientist Syndrome. Victims of the syndrome tend to:
become fixated on one or more technologies;
have paranoid delusions of world-saving and/or world conquest;
forget basic social skills and hygiene;
become increasingly intolerant of both criticism and imperfection;
develop a disturbing degree of previously-undetected technical brilliance, often in ways that appear to violate the established laws of physics, chemistry, biology, etc.;
though their brilliance is nowhere backed up by a history of publication (in peer-revied journals) or other credentials - many lack advanced degrees in the subjects they are alledgedly brilliant at;
lack the ability to see the obvious flaws in their Master Plans, despite their apparent genius;
develop theatrical poses and speech patterns, sometimes to the point that they will follow through with stereotypical 'villainous' behavior to self-destructive degrees;
and suffer from spontaneous bouts of manic cackling.
are convinced that the scientific community at large in their field(s) of endeavor is entirely populated by morons and simpletons engaging in trivial or vacuous research, and who lack "understanding" of the discipline (being far too busy examining trees to be able to grok the entire forest);
which is often used as justification for the lack of publication mentioned above;
The disease is infectious, with the primary vector being books or speeches about science and technology, especially those written by other Mad Scientists. Affected individuals often resist treatment, as they usually do not see themselves as afflicted by the condition so much as empowered by it.
The behavior of many historical scientists, and more than a few WikiZens, could be seen as suggesting that this 'fictional' disease may be quite real. Obvious cases include NikolaTesla, BuckminsterFuller and TedNelson (sorry, Ted, but it's the truth). The importance of their contributions to real-world science and engineering only serves to throw the effects of the syndrome into sharper contrast.
-- JayOsako, who probably also has a mild case (I'm not brilliant enough to have a full-blown case of it)
Suspected Cases of SRMD on Wiki:
Let me get this straight...you're saying that you think "crank" disqualifies someone from being a Mad Scientist? Surely all Mad Scientists are perceived as cranks. That's what drives them Mad, and causes them to work in isolation in a deserted castle for decades to prove to the world that they are right. Don't you watch old movies?? Now, if you said that the problem is that RK's deserted castle isn't standard issue, that would be different; we could check out the blueprints. (After we rappel down the interior of the dormant volcano and overcome the henchmen, that is, since the blueprints show the defenses clearly, and are therefore kept in a vault, along with the key to the starship's ignition or doomsday device countdown timer, as the case may be.)
Of course, RK only plans to take over the world, liberating us all from the substandard software we are shackled to (which is to say, every line of code ever written). Construction of the MadScientistVolcanoLair? is on his to-do list, probably after he revolutionizes the study of physics (but before completion of BlueAbyss).
Laugh while you can, monkey boy! -- Dr. Emilio Lazardo (TAOBBITED)
I distinguish Mad Science from Crankiness by the output - words onCrank. RK has yet to show any code for any of his plans, even those that were allegedly "simple". Now, if he has built a lab somewhere, I'll consider an upgrade to Mad Scientist
That's not fair! Next you'll kick me off the list just because I haven't proven brilliance, even though I've got the deserted castle! Besides, you'll have to prove that you've got a torch and a pitchfork (and preferably a mob of angry villagers behind you) before you can claim to be able to spot the Mad Scientists.
Are you following in your grandfazers vootschteps?
Frau Bluecher! (sound of horse whinnying in terror in background)
TopMind (hell, why not? Tables are as good as any of the other SilverBullet-wannabe fads. What is one more?)
DougMerritt (not so much for brilliance as for manic cackling and crank-iness)
PaulMorrison (I think I would add as a requirement having played bongos at some stage in his/her career)
We mustn't forget the world's greatest compulinguist and noted wiki expert! (Just don't say his name 3 times ...)
GlenelgSmith I admit it. My latest attempt to save the world is Offsiders and Weaves, but Weaves are just a continuation of my original idea for saving the world, which I have been hammering away at for almost thirty years now. If only the IT industry weren't entirely populated by morons and simpletons .. I don't have a castle. Does a shed count?
[Add any WikiZens you feel appropriate, but keep in mind that it is as much a compliment as it is an insult...]
Suspected Cases of SRMD in the world at-large, past and present:
How about StephenWolfram? He seems to think he's the greatest mathematical genius since (insert any number of MathematiciansWhoHaveLeft here). While he's obviously quite bright, he's also rather full of himself.
Wouldn't IsaacNewton also qualify? By many accounts, he was a manic nutball. His insights into gravity are sometimes attributed to his exploration of mysticism and fascination, perhaps obsession, with "unseeen forces". Unseen forces were counter to the machanistic view of the day that forces were caused by interaction of matter, large or small. This is sometimes called the "many billard ball" view of physics where appearent unseen forces were really just reactions caused by many minute items, similar to air particles. In other words, just because you are a nut does not necessarily mean you are wrong or useless.
Christopher Columbus may fall into this syndrome. His stubborn determination may have brought him to the new world, but it also got him into political hot-water and nearly cost him and his crews their life on multiple occasions. He died a broken forgotten man. It was only hundreds of years later that his voyage and naval skills were appreciated. He was a lousy governor, diplomat, father, and manager; but was a master navigator and arguably a skilled astronomer, and doggedly stubborn. He also came close to solving the "missing India" mystery that haunted him, but turned back a few days too early on a foot-trek across the width of Panama, missing his closest chance of finding the Pacific Ocean. It seemed he was more comfortable on ship than on foot.