Mad scientists, science fiction to be examined at Humanities Symposia

Trine University’s Humanities Symposia will enter its third week of talks with a discussion on mad scientists and science fiction at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 11, in Wells Theater, Taylor Hall.

Cassandra Bausman, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Jannen School of Arts and Sciences, will explore the ever-popular “mad scientist” story. She will focus on the intriguing thematic resonances between the classic and contemporary favorites “Frankenstein” and “Jurassic Park.” She also will discuss the generative yet problematic relationship between scientific progress and the imaginative vision that science fiction explores.

“I think it's important to think about why, in science fiction, the 'mad scientist' figure is so often the 'bad guy,' especially at such a strong STEM school like Trine,” said Bausman.

“It can't all just be negative, after all, or we'd get bored, or depressed, and we'd move on — as audience and as authors. So, to that end, my talk is going to focus on why science fiction continues to be so interested in these 'mad scientist' figures, retelling variants on the same story and shared themes over and over when they inevitably emphasize a similar 'cautionary tale' message.“

The free talks, scheduled each Tuesday through Nov. 8, are open to everyone. Trine students get CHAT credit for attending.

For more information about the Humanities Symposia, contact Sarah Young at or 260.665.4849.