The 20th century saw the rise of scientists rubbing shoulders with politicians or military officers. In World War I they promoted the development of aircraft, tank, and poison gas, while in World War II they invented weapons of mass destruction, such as atomic bomb. If these weapons are the results of their wish-fulfillment, scientists should feel deeply responsible; despite their excellence, these scientists will turn out to be no different from mad scientists.
The mad scientist, who dreams of conquering and demolishing the world or actually does so, is one of the stereotypes frequenting science fiction. Endowed with talent, they are likely to pursue unorthodox science. What is more, their lack of reasons or grudge against society invites them to assault the very society they live in. We can locate the archetype of mad scientists in the life of Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), a Croatian inventor who played an important role at the end of the 19th century. Tesla, who used to be regarded as comparable to Thomas Edison, succeeded in inventing the alternating current electric power system, and also paved the way for wireless technology. Since his later years did not see precise appreciation of his ingenious achievements, Tesla became so dissatisfied and heretical as to be conceived of as a mad scientist. He played a big role in establishing the image of mad scientist in early science fiction. Although the impacts of Tesla helped create the negative images of mad scientists as obsessed with world domination and global apocalypse, we should have explored the type of technocratic mad scientist.
Technocrats put special emphasis on scientific knowledge, at the same time that they seek for success in life by making use of their expert knowledge. They participate in politics to get success or glory in life. Furthermore, they even participate in war or completely deviate from the social norm. It is this kind of scientist who played the leading role in the Manhattan Project. They could well be called true mad scientists.
The mad scientists as described in fiction are a kind of trickster or alien. It is this assumption that leads us to know the state of science and scientists. Now I would like to speculate upon the image of scientists peculiar to the nuclear age, illustrating my point with Nikola Tesla as the archetype of mad scientists.