Books that inspire us: 'The Mad Scientist' by Luigi Garlaschelli and Alessandra Carrer

Both cinema and popular culture in general have enthroned the archetypal figure of the scientist as that of aNo clueless guy with the hair shot towards all the cardinal points of the world, at best, or as a mad doctor with nods to destroy the world, at worst.

Spurred by Frankenstein's syndrome, a certain postmodernist tufo and a reverential terror of playing gods, then the idea we have now of a scientist is that of a "mad scientist." And this is true to a certain extent, and, in addition, a small dose of madness always comes in handy to make a quantum leap at a scientific or technological level, as they explain Luigi Garlaschelli Y Alessandra Carrer in his book titled precisely The mad scientist.

Genius and madness

Written in a fancy way, the authors of The mad scientist Slides biographical pills or curiosities from the field of scientific research in very short chapters, of no more than three pages, ideal for messy reading, as the titles or topics addressed attract attention.

It does not stop being The mad scientist, well, a compendium of curiosities without more, written directly and without frills, but that does not mean that it is enjoyable and that, among its pages, we find many pieces of the history of science that we surely did not know. Therefore, it has been a source of inspiration to write articles in Xataka Science as Jeremy Bentham: the philosopher who wanted to mummify to be exhibited at the university.

The literature first, but also the cinema and the comic, have made the figure of the "mad scientist" a stereotype that we recognize easily. However, like all stereotypes, it is based on an amalgam of imaginations and gossip from characters and real events that gave rise to them. Born with "modern" science, it has been nurtured since the 18th century by hundreds of characters and experiments, sometimes dangerous, sometimes great, sometimes ridiculous, which, always motivated by the desire to know, to understand, to know, have boldly traveled glassy areas bordering on ethics, conventions to use and orthodoxy with unequal fate. Petrifiers, resuscitators, weighers of souls, transplanters, lobotomizers, drug experimenters and others find space in these pages that give access to some of the most striking and provocative chapters in the history of science.