Provided by Jeremy Mele




Hello, my name is Helen Godkiller, and I am a mad scientist. Now, I know you are probably thinking, “A female mad scientist? Is that even a thing?” Well, I am here to tell you that it does not matter if you have an XX, XY, or even XZ chromosome because mad science is not a gendered field. Though, I will admit, the male to female ratio is unfortunately a little bit unevenly skewed. The myth that only men can be mad scientists, however, is only one of the misconceptions I am hoping to dispel about the mad science field today.

You see, when many people picture the stereotypical “mad scientist” they think of someone with crazed hair in a lab coat raising up various colorful test tubes or laughing over the corpses of creatures they are trying to reanimate during a lightning storm. Don’t get me wrong, that is a part of what we do, but it is only a very small part. A lot of preparation, litigious note taking, and trial and error work are needed before you can get to the fun parts of testing out an invisibility serum or firing up the old experimental teleportation device, and don’t even get me started on peer reviews. Most of the time, I cannot even read the results some of my colleagues have found because their notes are madly scribbled onto their laboratory walls in blood, and that is if I am lucky. Even when they have paper records, though, my fellows in the field are notorious for having chicken scratch handwriting, and one time it was literal chicken scratch; I am looking at you Dr. Gallus. Who switches brains with a chicken without a backup plan?

The main thing I would like to get across, however, is that with mad science there are no guarantees. What I do is mostly about making observations, forming hypotheses to be proven or disproven, and carrying out research via the time tested mad scientific method. For example, I recently conducted an experiment dealing with the nature of portals to Hell. To use the classic “if/then” formula, I hypothesized that IF I opened a portal to Hell THEN it would be really cool. Following this, I set out to prove if this was a workable hypothesis. I gathered the necessary equipment—a soldering gun, 12-foot steel cables, ancient runes used to summon long-dead gods, and, of course, safety goggles—and began the process.

Long story short, opening a portal to Hell did not prove nearly as cool as I had previously hypothesized. It is important when you go into this field that you are able to admit when you are wrong, and you must never alter your data to fit your hypothesis. Sure, I COULD have just recorded the neat things that occurred when I opened up the portal—half of the town’s faces melting off in the presence of utter evil was a completely fascinating event—but that would have been disingenuous (having to clean flying demon droppings off my car was entirely uncool).

Still, in mad science, it can be just as fun to find out that your assumptions were wrong as it is to find out that you were right. As Thomas Edison once said, “I’ve not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways to NOT electrocute an elephant.” (Side note: A lot of people assume Edison was a mad scientist when, in fact, he was just a shitty person and a regular scientist).

Anyway, I hope that clears up any misconceptions out there about mad scientists. I know who we are and what we do can be a little bit confusing to the layperson, but it really is not all that complicated at the end of the day. To all the little girls out there who are thinking of going into the field, I heartily encourage you to follow your dreams. Mad science needs more female voices. To the rest of you, I humbly apologize if your face melted during the course of my experiment, but, you have to admit, it was pretty darn amazing.

Helen Godkiller has a PHD in mad science from Brown University and is a regular contributor to the Locust Daily News. Her book “Exploring the Infinite on a Budget: How to Make an Interstellar Ship out of Household Objects” comes out on July 28. Uw

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Jeremy Mele is a writer of prose from Quincy, MA. Currently a student at Salem State University, you can read his opinions at (the school’s paper of which he is the editor in chief). His inspirations for writing include the works of John Steinbeck, John Swartzwelder, and Lemony Snicket as well as far too many comic books to count and, of course, his mother. This is his first published story, but he will also be featured in the Halloween issue of Yellow Chair Review.

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