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How To Become A Mad Scientist

I posted this article on about 10 a decade ago and recently discovered that it’s no longer there. So I’m posting it here with a few minor edits. 

Between the crashing economy and the war on science waged by Republican politicians, it’s hard for a scientist to find good work these days. Fortunately, there’s one branch of science that allows you to follow your dreams, work your own hours, and—with a little luck—achieve world domination. I’m talking, of course, about the rapidly growing field of mad science. If you think you’ve got what it takes, just follow these easy steps.

Remember How They Laughed At You.

If you’re a typical science geek, people probably made fun of you in high school. If not, somebody has surely made fun of you at some point in your life. Recall that rage, let it bubble to the surface, and allow it to fuel your evil schemes.

Come Up With a Plan

Now that you feel a boiling hatred of humanity, decide how you’ll show them all. While your skill set will determine exactly what kind of mad science you practice, you need to decide up front how you’ll turn your evil genius into extra income. Will you hold the world hostage with your Doom Ray? Use your army of genetically enhanced wombats to rob banks? Sell your robot assassins using an infomercial? Knowing these sorts of things up front will greatly decrease your odds of slipping up and being foiled.

Dress for Success

If you want to be a mad scientist, you need to look the part. If you don’t already have them, buy a lab coat and some thick glasses or goggles. Either shave your head (if you want to go for a classic villain look) or stop combing your hair entirely (if eccentric is more your style). Last but not least, practice your evil laugh until you can emit the perfect unsettling cackle.

Set Up a Laboratory

Once your plan is in place, you’ll have to set up a workspace in which to perfect your evil invention. While underground labs and Antarctic fortresses are nice, scientist on a budget will probably be limited to a spare bedroom, garage, or storage unit. In addition to the equipment needed for your experiments (which will depend on what branch of science you practice), you’ll need a Tesla coil. It doesn’t serve any practical purpose, but it shows visitors that you mean business.

Find Minions

Unless you’re building your own minions (robots, cyborg apes, etc.), you’ll probably need to hire some mooks. The type of minions you hire are a matter of resources and personal preference. Each type of minion comes with advantages and drawbacks. Petty criminals work cheap, but are a superstitious and cowardly lot. Ninjas are quiet and don’t eat much, but tend to be sulky. Make sure your minions have the abilities and attitude required to help enact your particular master plan.

Show them. Show them ALL!

If you’ve followed these instructions up until now, and aren’t a complete crackpot, your plan should be foolproof. Just to be sure, though, try implementing it on a small scale first—for example, hold a town hostage before contacting the U.N. This will help you work out any kinks in your scheme.

Updated: April 13, 2019 — 12:47 pm


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