Real life mad scientists

Ashley Reyes


This week IVC held its 2nd to last lecture series led by Dr. John Davidson, they lecture series compared stereotypical mad scientist traits with those of real scientists. The lecture featured the lives of Isaac Newton, Nikola Tesla and Jack Whiteside Parsons. 

“Not all the crazy people are in the arts, there’s plenty of crazy known artists but there’s also people in the math and science departments that aren’t all level headed,” said Davidson. 

Davidson explained he choose the three people because they seemed the nuttiest. Isaac Newton is known for his discovery of law of gravitation, three laws of motion, invention of the first practical reflecting telescope  and invention of calculus but many people are unaware of his crazy quirks. 

“Newton was a hypochondriac, extremely egocentric, he was also very interested in magic and biblical prophecies. Also he practiced alchemy which was illegal during his time,” said Davidson. 

Next Nikola Tesla was discussed who invented business alternating current and the first remote control robot. He also had quirks that would qualify him as a mad scientist. 

“Nikola favored the number 3, he had heightened sensory perception and a photographic memory, so he never took any notes,” said Davidson. 

Jack Whiteside Parson, inventor of solid rocket fuel and storable liquid fuel was also discussed. Some of his quirks were that he was into the occult and practicing magic. 

“I have been trying to get to the lectures, I’m taking Dr. Davidson’s course on organic chemistry right now. I thought it was very entertaining,” Sharon Syau, biology major, said.

When asked why he choose the three people he did for the lecture Davidson responded that he felt they were the nuttiest scientists of the bunch. Also that his lecture was originally 5 hours long. 

“My favorite part of the lecture was Newton, these big scientist guys always seem like they’re so serious but you could tell Newton was a down to earth guy,” said Javier Naranjo