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I want to be a

  1. Oct 14, 2009 #1
    I want to be a....

    Mad scientist. I want to live in a castle with lightning constantly surrounding it where I make monsters out of dead body parts, make planet destroying lasers, tasty breakfast foods, and teleportation devices. What major should I be?

    PS: Ability to genetically alter animals to have multiple rear ends is a plus.

    PSS: Now accepting applications for mad-assistant. Pay is in those chocolate gold coins they sell at CVS.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 14, 2009 #2
    Re: I want to be a....

    That depends in your motivation really. Each of the things you listed requires some knowledge of one of the various areas of the physical sciences. But each one will require more knowledge in a specific area.

    For example, Planet Destroying Lasers: this would obviously require a background in physics. However it will also be a great engineering feat, both electrical and mechanical. It will probably involve some chemistry as well (what is your laser going to be made of? what is your lasing material?) However you can get by with only a working knowledge in some of these areas, but no doubt you will need to be an expert in Physics to pull it off.

    Tasty Breakfast foods, in this case you need a great knowledge of chemistry, but to say you won't need physics... well thats just plain wrong. You can't very well know how to build your tasty molecules without understanding the physics behind the interactions that lead up to it. Of course you won't need to be a physicist persay to understand these things, but you need the background none the less.

    Teleportation: Again physics is key. Though if you plan on sending living things, then you will certainly need knowledge in biology, otherwise how will you know how to put the creature back together on the other end of y our teleportation device? How would you even know if you did it wrong if you didn't know what was the right assembly in the first place?

    Monsters from dead body parts/genetic engineering/etc...: These involve all the various areas listed so far, and probably many more!

    The point is, you have to find what makes you tick (maybe literally if that be the case...) and work off that. I love flavor chemistry but I am a physicist and have a very limited working knowledge of organic chemistry. I couldn't develop a flavor molecule to save my life. But alas I love physics and thats what I choose to do, but my knowledge (however limited) of organic chemistry has come up in my work several times. Designing Dye lasers for example requires enough knowledge of the chemistry behind the molecules being used to determine what solvents will give the best lasing action, or what trasitions within the molecule are actually good for lasing.

    So find what you love and go for that, if you are unsure you just need to get some more exposure. Most US colleges don't require you to stick with a major if you don't like it, so sample around and take classes in the areas you are interested in to find the topic that makes you giddy.
  4. Oct 14, 2009 #3


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    Re: I want to be a....

    Choose ONE field in which to excell, study some fundamentals of the key other fields, and join or assemble a motivated multidisciplinary team. You are interested in research and development.
  5. Oct 14, 2009 #4
    Re: I want to be a....

    There used to be a field called "Systems Engineering" which was essentially designed to train people for management positions over engineers/scientists. It gave the person enough knowledge in the various disciplines to be able to understand how the process worked and how to interpret designs... though I don't think many of them could say much about being able to actually perform research or really engineer anything beyond basic stuff.

    Still if you are interested in being the guy in charge its certainly an option.
  6. Oct 14, 2009 #5
    Re: I want to be a....

    I hate to break it to you... but the day of the lone mad scientist in a castle is over. These days, evil is done by large, flexible, interdisciplinary teams working in modern buildings subdivided into cubicles.

    The good news is that Evil, Inc. can use almost any major, from science and engineering to management and sales.

    The sky is the limit!
  7. Oct 14, 2009 #6


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    Re: I want to be a....

    A mad scientist (of the evil variety) oftentimes has the same skill set as an equivalent super engineer / device maker (think Q from James Bond) or specific science expert with interdisciplinary leanings / background. What truly distinguishes a mad scientist is the motivation: nihilism (Ra'as al-Ghul), narcissism (Dr. Evil), personal vendetta or twisted love (Lex Luthor or Soran from Generations), greed or thirst for power (Dr. Doom), or mental defect (Dr. Octopus, Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde).

    So really, you can get yourself a Ph.D. in nearly any branch of engineering / hard sciences, with maybe some attention on other branches of science, and particular focus on things that go boom / bang / zap. (Maybe even be a mad Psychologist like Dr. Hugo Strange--great for sociopathic selling / fundraising, and messing with everybody's minds).

    What you need to focus on is your motivation, or, from Frank Herbert (of Dune fame) how do you go about twisting your mentat?
    • Give in to the dark side, and let it control you?
    • Underlying sociopathy / psychopathy
    • Be twisted by your love for someone/something, and kill / destroy to save them? (Anakin Skywalker, Dr. Totenkopf)
    • Self experimentation, removing standard self-controls / morality / ethics?
    • Love the world, and then have it thrown back in your face (revenge)?
    • Sticking it to X (where X is your choice of person / organization / group which you pull out all the stops to get)
  8. Oct 15, 2009 #7
    Re: I want to be a....

    One path is to get a physics Ph.D. or MBA, go into Wall Street, if you are lucky, you can make a ton of money. Once you have a ton of money, then you can do what you want. (And if you want a run down castle in a third or second world country, those are *that* expensive.)

    On the other hand, once you are working in an investment bank, you will probably figure that you can get away with making quite bizzarre and complex financial instruments (double no-touch targeted annual redemption notes based on a basket of CDO's anyone?) and those creatures can end up destroying the world........
  9. Oct 15, 2009 #8
    Re: I want to be a....

    But you didn't tell me what I'm going to need in order to make my weather control device! (constant lightning) The most important part!!!

    Lol I guess I'll just concentrate on the giant planet destroying laser. Then I can hold the world hostage and get enough money to build all the other stuff! Thanks guys!
  10. Oct 15, 2009 #9


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    Re: I want to be a....

    Remember, if you are going to build a planet destroying laser - then to have any credibility in your blackmail bid you are going to need to have a secret lair on another planet to broadcast from (oh, and remember to ask for more than one million dollars)
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