10.17 conference on mad science (IVCMS'96)

Humanist (mccarty@phoenix.Princeton.EDU)
Mon, 13 May 1996 18:56:08 -0400 (EDT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 10, No. 17.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)
Information at http://www.princeton.edu/~mccarty/humanist/

[1] From: Willard McCarty <Willard.McCarty@utoronto.ca> (50)
Subject: First International Virtual Conference on Mad Science

Things are getting tough for mad scientists, apparently. According to
Michael Smith, in "The cyberspatial return of the mad scientist. Quick,
Igor", (Mind & Matter, The Globe and Mail, 11/5/96), research grants for
maniacal science are rare, and those castles in the Carpathian Mountains
"now tend to be occupied by New York yuppies with their own private
Learjets. The supply of spinally challenged troglodytes named Igor has all
but disappeared. 'Plus', as one mad scientist put it, 'you can't get

Thus ICVMS'96, intended "to reverse this distressing trend, put mad science
back on the world agenda, and in the words of the organizer Paul Schleifer,
'replace the old drooling maniac stereotype of the mad scientist with a new
drooling-maniac image that is more appropriate to the modern era.'" ICVMS'96
is taking its virtual place online, "which makes it possible to hold such an
event 'without the usual overheads of building baroque laboratories, finding
formaldehyde-free corpses and liberating prospective contributors from their
respective institutions.'" Visiting Mr. Schleifer's Web site, at the URL


as the "the 7552nd aspirant delver into Things Best Left Unknown since 9
February 1996", I found the following statement of the conference theme:


Mad science is a much maligned domain of human knowledge and its
practitioners have for too long been relegated to B-movies and remote
ancestral estates.

IVCMS provides an international forum for the presentation, discussion and
extension of research into these darkly powerful pseudosciences and
dangerous technologies which fall beyond the scope of conventional science
and good taste.

The purpose of the conference is to promote a general understanding of mad
topics within the broader scientific community, to encourage new researchers
to dabble with things best left alone, to attract commercial sponsors to the
potential benefits of mad science in the business world, and to replace the
old drooling maniac stereotype of the mad scientist with a new drooling
maniac image which is more appropriate to the modern era.

The conference is hosted on the Web to avoid the overheads of unpredictable
atmospheric conditions and revolting peasants.

44 candidate delegates are currently in attendance and available to discuss
their papers in the Mad Science Masquerade.

Correspondence from other mad scientists may also be viewed.

Mr. Schleifer and his colleagues are now evaluating these 44 contributions
for inclusion in the final conference programme. He plans to set up an
Internet chat line on 24 June "for live (and possibly undead) discussion of
those that make the cut."

Mr. Schleifer is a PhD candidate at a London university that he wisely
prefers not to have named. I am very much hoping that he is doing his work
at King's.

Just what would a mad humanist be like? Nominations are open.