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Mad Science Is The Best Science: Our 14 Favorite Crackpot Geniuses

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WalterDr. Walter Bishop (Fringe)
By most, if not all definitions, Fringe’s Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble) is a mad scientist. He experimented with sensory deprivation and LSD, spent decades in a mental institution, and even had pieces of his brain cut out at his own request. Oh, and he managed to tear a hole between two universes and generally disrupt the very fabric of reality as we know it. If that doesn’t earn him a place at the all-star table, I don’t know what does.

Walter has something that sets him apart from many of his mad kin, especially those who fall in the evil camp. Over the five years where Walter, his son Peter (Joshua Jackson), and FBI Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) ran all over the globe, hopping dimensions left and right, saving the world more times than you can count, the elderly scientist formed the emotional core of the series. At times driven, power hungry, and neck-deep in a serious god complex, he is also fragile, sweet, loving, and afraid. The notion that he may be responsible for the end of multiple worlds, that he was once so blinded by ambition that he performed medical experiments on terrified children, absolutely haunts him. How do you cope with the fact that you may be responsible for the end of existence? That’s not an easy one to wrap your mind around, no matter how brilliant or crazy you may be.

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Farscape’s Gigi Edgley Hosting Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge

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gigiLast month, Syfy unveiled their Face Off not-quite-spinoff Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge to the world, letting thousands of puppeteers realize that their lives were most certainly not for naught, and that they probably should take that cold gun out of their mouths. (Oh wait, it was only a puppet gun, thank goodness.) Rather than hiring someone off the street to host the show, like Oscar the Grouch, the Creature Shop Challenge is bringing in Australian actress Gigi Edgley, best known for playing the gray alien con-woman Chiana in Rockne S. O’Bannon’s fan-favorite series Farscape, which aired from 1999-2003. The show had its fair share of make-up and costume work, which I guess makes her somewhat qualified for the hosting gig. What does it take to be a host on Syfy?

It’s unfortunate that beyond the 2004 miniseries Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, Edgley hasn’t really been a big name in American science fiction, but in the last few years she has starred in Australian series such as Rescue Special Ops and Trick Business. She was in the Syfy Original disaster flick Quantum Apocalypse, but that’s just an unfortunate blip on her resume. But now she’s off to meet the Muppets!

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This Muppet Periodic Table Wins The Internet

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muppet tableLike any kid growing up, I had heroes, and while I didn’t have villains, there were definitely people and things I thought of to be plainly evil. One of those heroes was the imaginative genius Jim Henson, whose work and accomplishments I have come to appreciate even more as an adult. On the opposite end, I despised Dmitri Mendeleev for creating the periodic table, one of the many banes of my science education. Of course, adulthood has also put Mendeleev and the elements into perspective, and I can see them for the game-changers they were.

While I don’t put much stock in personal heroes nowadays, I have found a new one in artist/designer Mike Boon, who has created one of the most amazing things on Earth — absolutely no bias went into this — by designing a periodic table filled solely with creations from Henson’s many projects, as seen above. I realize it’s pretty hard to read, so you can see a larger version here. Really, I’d like it to cover all the walls in my house if that were possible. (And I’d move into a smaller house to make it possible. Sorry, wife and child.)