The Mad Scientists of Unixploria is a society for the advancement of steampunk culture.
Steampunk was first a literary style but has evolved to include everything from clothes to music. The books – and Steampunk culture in general – are often set in London in the 1800s, and important details can be steam, visible mechanics, brass gears and Victorian attire. Steampunk culture is also a Do It Yourself movement; people tend to make their version of art, music, clothes, and gadgets.
A mad scientist is a scientist who is insane, or at the least very eccentric. The mad scientist is a character who usually appears as a villain, but the style is also increasingly portrayed as a hero.
He or she is usually working with weird technology, either to do science or to create new technology. The story of the mad scientist is one of several anti-science narratives.
The stereotype originated in literary works in the nineteenth century to depict the dangers of science. The perceived conflict between science and religion during this period became the earliest depictions of the stereotype. The prototypical mad scientist was Victor Frankenstein, creator of Frankenstein's monster, who made his first appearance in 1818, in the novel Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley. Though Frankenstein is a character of some sympathy in his first appearance, the elements of conducting forbidden experiments that cross "boundaries that ought not to be crossed," heedless of the consequences, are present in Shelley's novel.
Mad scientists had their heyday in popular culture in the period after World War II. The sadistic medical experiments of the Nazis and the horrors of the atomic bomb gave rise to genuine fears that science and technology had become forces out of control. Mad scientists frequently figure in science fiction and motion pictures from the period.
In more recent years, the mad scientist as a recluse in search of the forbidden unknown has tended to be replaced by mad corporate executives who plan to profit from defying the laws of nature and humanity; these people hire a salaried scientific staff to pursue their twisted dreams. Still, the pose has been used whimsically by famous science writers to attract readers.
Mad scientists are typically characterized by obsessive behavior and the employment of hazardous methods. Their laboratories often hum with Tesla coils, Van de Graaff generators, and other electrical oddments that make lots of sparks and pops.
The connection to Victorian science is also the focal point in which steampunk finds inspiration. Mad scientists are part of the steampunk scene as often as other "Victorian" characters, i.g. Explorers and Airship Captains.