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Battle Cry for the Mad Scientist, the Morally-Ambiguous Doctorate, Gadgeteer Genius and Science Hero.

This is one of the classic motivations for many a Science Is Bad movie, the researcher will seek forbidden knowledge for its own sake rather than to better the world; usually this simple curiosity will evolve into "ambition" and "hubris" before long, as caution and restraint are thrown out the steel-barred window.

When a scientist says he does something For Science!, what this usually means is he simply doesn't care about the answers to several important questions regarding his research, like:

  1. Does it have any potential applications -- that are not immediately lethal, full of side effects, potentially genocidal, ecocidal, or omnicidal?
  2. Is there any way of gaining any replicable data or results?
  3. Where will I get test subjects?
  4. Can we make sure willing subjects are informed of all the risks involved in testing my dangerous untested invention?
  5. Are these experiments ethical? Is Phlebotinum Rebellion likely?
  6. Will it rise up against humanity and/or eat me?
  7. How will I fund my research, and how can I make money off of it? (What? These are legitimate questions!)

Usually, this nonchalance leads to Reed Richards Is Useless as they file away their inventions under "Forgotten Phlebotinum" rather than seek to commercialize them or expanding the body of knowledge available to humanity. And that's with normal research. Contrary to Fridge Logic, For Science rarely provides additional insight in its field; after the Nuclear Roboclone is created, most Mad Scientists lose interest in documenting how they actually did it and what else can be done with those methods. Where test subjects are concerned, at their most benign they'll only threaten to do minor experiments on friends; if they get volunteers or luckily capture one, the effects will be quirky and temporary rather than deforming Biological Mashups.

These benign inventors may end up in service of the Corrupt Corporate Executive, and will be so happy to have funding they don't ask where the money comes from -- or what their discoveries are being used for. Expect them to go "You promised you would use my discoveries for good!" to his "Oh, but I am!"

It can also lead to Slowly Slipping Into Evil as an inventor slips into full blown, cackling mad science as sanity and ethics are deemed "irrelevant" or hindrances to their work. Other times, the answers they come up with to the above questions will lead them to a life of supervillainy as they get research funds by robbing banks, get test subjects by kidnapping, and out-and-out make things solely for destructive purposes... or because they can.

Villains who adhere to the above principles are often very good at depicting themselves as victims and their opponents as the true villains. For starters, many will claim that they have "progress" on their side - thus evoking "progressivism" as a kind of moral imperative and implying that anyone who would dare stand in their way is an arrogant, bigoted, barbaric and just plain mean knuckle-dragger who resents knowledge of any kind. The fact that scientists themselves can be pretty arrogant and brutal on occasion never occurs to such villains - or if it does, they don't care.

There is some truth to this -- many scientists and especially mathematicians do what they do for the fun of it rather than more practical concerns -- but that's little different from the rest of academia. Besides, basic research done to expand human knowledge without regard for practical applications is the sort of science that produces groundbreaking insights. Darwin studied evolution to understand life better, not because he wanted to advance the art of animal husbandry.

Remember, Science Is Bad, but... but... Just Think of the Potential! Contrast For Art! and For Cuisine!

Examples of For Science! include:


Anime & Manga Edit

 Domino: What's going to happen now professor?

Dantalion: I don't know! That's why we do these experiments!

  • Major motivation of the Big Bad in Steamboy. The movie leaves some ambiguity over whether he's right.
  • Washu from Tenchi Muyo!! is just eccentric enough to pull off wanting to experiment on Tenchi without crossing into villainous water.Though her daughter might be another matter... Plus she's so darn cute! In the original script she was the villain, and Kagato was just an illusion created by her. But then the creative team decided she was far too fun a character to kill off, so the anime world got its greatest scientific genius, and got to keep her. It's also played for laughs considering what she wants from him and her Hello, Nurse! outfit just makes it even funnier. Plus all the things she says when she is getting her tissue and *ahem* fluid samples: "You want me to use my mouth?" Which is rejected, which eventually prompts her to give the "whole package."
  • How much does Huey Laforet love this trope? So much so that he not only considers his own daughters (as well as everyone in the world sans Elmer) guinea pigs, he's also sired them purely For Science.
    ** We also have Fermet, who "tested the extent of their immortality" by stabbing hot fire pokers into Chez's eye sockets, throwing him into a fire, and bathing him in acid, etc, etc. For about 100 years. For science. Or so he claims. After Czeslaw kills him and absorbs his memories he states it was just a justification for him to indulge his sadism. And he should know.
    • Szilard is another example. His entire feud with Maiza is he wouldn't share the secret of immortality. His plotline in 1930s revolves around completing the Grand Panecea. He regularly eats other immortals to acquire their knowledge, and has been known to grant partial immortality to people specifically so he could eat them, too.
  • Doc from Hellsing explicitly states in the final volume that his whole motive was to push the boundaries of science. In the name of science, he created ghouls, Nazi vampires, cyborgs, weapons, a catboy with a tenuous grasp on causality, and assisted in the near total destruction of London. All For Science.
  • Doctor Stein from Soul Eater has the battle cry of "I am going to dissect you!" before he starts to fight. It's not just based for his fights alone, though he has said it to Crona and Medusa (who he might want to do even more with... or not. Either way, she'd probably like it.), and in the anime, let's not forget Marie, he has also dissected his best friend repeatedly for years without him noticing, and wants to dissect the boss's son. He also dissected an endangered bird in his homeroom class. For his own amusement. All of this seems to have even caused a Running Gag amongst the fans.
  • Arachne's creation of the Demon Weapons suggests this. We're not given an explanation why she put Eibon's work into practice, only that she did so. If Medusa does have a masterplan to deal with the Kishin, her enjoyment of her methods - and justification to Stein - rather suggests she is in part doing stuff for the scientific hell of it.
  • Lloyd in Code Geass, so much. When he gets the chance, he even asks "I wonder if you'd let me analyze that Geass... For Science, of course."

    Subverted, in that it is explained that he uses the "For Science" mentality to avoid the emotional stress of losing friends, and in a later episode what he says to Nina implies that it's also so that he won't feel the responsibility for making weapons that kill a lot of people.
  • Werner Locksmith in Planetes, who named his ship the von Braun (after his namesake) stands as a rare realistic, serious study of this trope. Science is Love + Love is Pain = reader bawls.

 "It's okay, I won't be replaced even if I blow up one or two research facilities. Do you know why? Because I am a man of exceptional talent who can only love spaceships."

  • Darker Than Black features the whimsical Dr. Schrader, who works for The Syndicate because of the opportunities it gives him to research. At their bequest, he creates a device which will wipe out all Contractors and Dolls, even though he has no real grudge against them. If said device didn't work as planned, it's quite plausible it would have killed everyone on earth, but Schraeder still tries to start it up, even with No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup. When the protagonist manages to prevent the genocide by destroying the machine, far from being angry, Dr. Schrader is impressed as it gives him something new to study.
  • In To Aru Majutsu no Index, this trope seems to be the driving force of most of Academy City's scientists, doing crazy, incredibly dangerous and downright evil experiments just to make a Level 6 Esper. And according to Telestina Lifeline, this is the entire purpose of Academy City.
  • Let's have Dr. Shirou give us his point of view: "SCIENCE IS JUSTICE!! SCIENCE IS TRUTH!!"
    Thank you doctor.
  • In Katekyo Hitman Reborn, Verde not only willingly electrocutes a 5-year old (albeit a very annoying, electricity-proof one), but attempts to kill a 15 year old mafia boss, and numerous other things that make him kind of an antagonistic Jerkass, all in the name of science.
  • Franken Fran is dedicated to preserving life, cultivating love, and if those are absent, she'll do it For Science!! Even when taking a case for the two former reasons, it'll still be a case study in Weird Science.
  • In Naruto: Kabuto's motivation for his alliances with Orochimaru and later Madara.
  • In Claymore, Dae seems to exist solely to be overjoyed at seeing one of his project going Horribly Wrong or Horribly Right.


Comics Edit

  • An issue of the Postboot Legion of Super-Heroes features a group of (faux-)suicide-bombing space scientists, the Objective Order, on a rampage against mystical forces, "For science!!"
  • In X-Men 41, there's a scientist who invents a nuclear-powered machine that both creates earthquakes and irradiates the ground. His colleagues think he's nuts for inventing such a dangerous weapon, but he assures them it will only be used for the benefit of mankind.
  • In one Dilbert comic, Dilbert invents a quantum computer capable of interacting with matter in a parallel universe to solve complex equations. Dogbert points out that according to Chaos Theory, the shifts he causes could very well destroy the other universe. Dilbert's response? "Shift happens." (And Dogbert adds "Fire it up.")
  • Occasionally the Batman rogue Scarecrow is portrayed as using his Fear Toxin on people For Science!. Other times, it is part of his backstory - he began by studying how fear works simply For Science!, but eventually becomes so obsessed with it that he crosses over into Mad Scientist territory.
  • In Heroic Age: Villains, ex-Nazi scientist Baron Wernher von Blitzschlag's "goal" is listed as "challenges". Indisputably a genius, the ancient man seeks nothing more than an endeavor that will distract him for more than a moment. Products of this desire include Ragnarok (a crazed clone of Thor) and KIA (a crazed clone of MVP).
  • Also in Marvel, we have A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics), the premiere hyper-science villainous organization on Earth. If they're not being paid to build something devastating and/or horrifying, they're probably working on it anyway.

  "We spend so much time figuring out HOW to catch the Hulk, maybe we should have figured out whether we should catch the Hulk."


Fan Works Edit


Film Edit

  • In Disturbing Behavior it is revealed that the Ax Crazy Mad Scientist thinks that doing behavioral modifications on high school students (including his own daughter!) is acceptable because "Science is GOD!"
  • In Bats, Obviously Evil Mad Scientist Dr. McCabe initially justifies creating the eponymous (killer and super-intelligent) bats with the words "I'm a scientist. That's what we do. Make everything a little bit better." It's later hinted that it was a secret government project, but still you have to wonder why the protagonists accepted that justification so well...
  • So Bad It's Good Mystery Science Theater 3000 classic The Beast of Yucca Flats involves Tor Johnson killing people in the name of "progress". Exactly what kind of progress you get from strangling people and not looking at the camera is never made clear, but nobody ever accused The Beast of Yucca Flats of being a good movie.

 "Joe Dobson. Caught in the wheels of progress."

  • In The Black Hole, professor Reinhardt turns the entire crew of his ship into mindless zombie androids and tries to kill the crew of the Palomino, just to satisfy his obsession of traveling into a black hole.
  • Danger Death Ray (Spoofed by Mystery Science Theater 3000) featured the inventor of the eponymous Death Ray insisting that he'd built it only for peaceful purposes. It's a death ray. What sort of "peaceful purposes" you could find for a device which has absolutely no use other than blowing stuff up? This was parodied by Mitchel & Webb where the Giant Death Ray turned out to be a steampunk barcode reader built by Professor Death.
  • Day of the Dead has Doctor Logan, who becomes so obsessed with teaching the zombies good manners that when some of the few remaining soldiers are killed, he uses them as subjects and/or uses their remains to reward his subjects for good behavior. The other scientists are guilty of this to a much lesser degree. After all, what they discover is interesting, but doesn't show any kind of applicability as a weapon or defense.
  • Subverted with Dr. Serizawa in the original Gojira. He states that his discovery of how to create the "oxygen destroyer" was purely for research and believes it can be used to benefit humanity... but ONLY if it's used for something other than a weapon, since he fears that exposing his discoveries to the world may lead to another war. It's a subversion because he eventually does use his scientific discoveries for the good of mankind by using the Oxygen Destroyer to kill Godzilla.
  • In Jurassic Park Ian Malcolm says "Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should."

 Hammond: How can we stand in the light of discovery... and NOT act?

Malcolm: What's so great about discovery? It's a violent and penetrative act that scars what it explores. What you call "discovery", I call the rape of the natural world.

  • The Three Stooges short "We want our Mummy" has the trio as detectives hunting for a missing archeologist and the lost Tomb of King Rutentuten, and will be paid $5,000 dollars for their commitment to science.

 Moe: For Science!

Larry: For Science!

Curly: For 5,000 Bucks!

  • This seems to be the reason the expedition leader in The Thing from Another World is so calm about exposing his people to a killer carrot.
  • While Winston and Venkman in Ghostbusters are pretty much Punch Clock Heroes, this is Stanz and Egon's motivation.
  • Subverted somewhat in The Secret of NIMH: the rats have no idea (nor does the audience) why they or the other animals at NIMH were being experimented on. Nicodemus surmises that the humans did so simply "to satisfy some scientific curiosity." This is somewhat different from the book, in which it's made clear that the scientists are working to increase the intelligence of the rats and mice in their test group.
  • Becomes somewhat of a gag in Back to The Future Part III, where Doc and Marty hijack a train at gunpoint, which they need to make their time machine reach the speed needed for the travel. When the unimpressed driver asks if it's a robbery, Doc hesitates and then answers "It's a science experiment!".
  • When the doddering, bespectacled scientist in The Beast From Twenty Thousand Fathoms (Ray Harryhausen's first film as sole special effects director) uses this as words of reassurance, you know he's about to be eaten by a dinosaur.
  • The only conceivable reason why the doctor in The Human Centipede would think to sew three people mouth-to-anus to create the titular human centipede.
  • When Dr. Mannering in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man is about to begin the operation to destroy both the Frankenstein's Monster and The Wolf Man, he's suddenly given the Idiot Ball and has an epiphany:

 "I can't do it! I can't destroy Frankenstein's creation. I've got to see it at its full power!"

 Dr. Fuji: We dreamed of creating the world's strongest Pokémon...and we succeeded.


Literature Edit

  • Greg Egan's novel Schild's Ladder. The freak lab accident that gives birth to a galaxy-shattering kaboom occurs because the scientist wanted to test an obscure physics theory. This being Greg Egan, it's completely subverted by making the resulting Negative Space Wedgie a good thing.
  • Tanya Huff's novel Blood Pact has a villainous Department head (female) who is testing bacterian reanimation of corpses (to rebuild organs) and to get a subject for her experiments murders Vicki Nelson's mother and takes the body away. She is assisted by a genuine Mad Scientist for whom the death of the other assistant means only a disturbance in the data.
  • Discworld's Leonard of Quirm is a strange mix. He is appallingly naive about human nature, declaring that an effective nuclear bomb would have no military application, though it might be useful in the mining industry(a nod to Alfred Nobel inventing dynamite, and who was also unable to forsee people wanting to use it for anything other than mining). He is scathing about Colon and Nobby's pipe dreams about a weaponised version of his submarine Going-Under-The-Water-Safely Device, and then subsequently designs one himself, just to see if he could. Perhaps a little less naive following his conversation with Colon and Nobby, he then destroys the plans.

    He's spoken trustingly at least once of how, if people tried to use one of his destructive devices for evil, "the government would put a stop to things before they went too far."

    Quirm's faith may not be misplaced, considering the government consists of Magnificent Bastard lord Vetinari who does not even slightly desire war and conquest(having actively stopped it in one story). He does however desire things to run smoothly and with as little fuss as possible, and would indeed put a stop to Quirm's inventions being used for evil ends.
  • Dr. Qwi Xux in the Star Wars Expanded Universe embodies this trope: she's the genius scientist behind the Death Star, the Sun Crusher, and the World Devastators... but she has no idea that they're weapons, and simply takes joy at the creation of works of scientific genius. This is lampshaded when Han points out that the names probably should have been a clue.

    Qwi thought the Death Star could be used on uninhabited planets and thus their ores mined much more easily, inexpensively, and safely, the Sun Crusher could be used for planned detonations of unstable old stars that might otherwise supernova unexpectedly and be a hazard to navigation, and so on. She's still a bit flummoxed at trying to explain the names, with the best she can do being "Well, they were just code names!" It was less that she was just doing science for science's sake, and more that she was so in love with science and so massively naive that she didn't pick up on what she was actually doing.

    It's also because she was taken, taught and brainwashed as a child to the point of being fairly broken psychologically -- she's almost a sort of Cloudcuckoolander/Bunny Ears Lawyer scientist.
  • The Academy of Lagado, from Gulliver's Travels, seems to mainly be staffed by hopeless incompetents regularly reciting this to themselves as justification for their nonsensical and meaningless experiments. There is no possible reason to breed naked sheep, but apparently, science demands that they make the effort.
  • The Professor in Haruki Murakami's novel Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World is perhaps the best example of this trope in literature. He essentially causes the nameless protagonist's (boku, 'I') mind to disconnect from all reality and degenerate, directly causing his death, in the course of involuntarily-performed experiments to further research which is 'purely' scientific and implied to be laughably obscure. Unlike most Mad Scientists, however, (of which the Professor is otherwise a perfect example) the Professor is compassionate and genuinely sorry for the harm (death) he has caused.
  • AUGUSTUS STRATTON. He actually yells For Science! on a regular basis. The story he's from is actually called SCIENCE!, or, True Science. Same thing. His only motivation is finding truth and reality, something he believes only he can discover, for he is the one true scientist!
  • While Dr. Quincy Wyatt of Nancy Werlin's novel Double Helix does have an intention to use his research to some better end, he remarks, after being asked of the legality of his work, "What a stupid thing to focus on Eli. I thought you'd be interested in the science here."
  • Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea: While Captain Nemo motivation is For Revenge, The Professor Aronnax is willing to sacrificing his own freedom for the rest of his life for the rare chance to discover all the sea’s secret in the Nautilus. Thankfully, he is not willing to sacrifice his friend’s freedom.
  • Jack, the main character of The Chronicles of Professor Jack Baling, justifies his study of a perpetual motion machine and his eventual murder of Nico on the basis that figuring out how it works will mean infinite renewable energy and the solution to a host of the world’s problems.


Live Action TV Edit

  • Sherlock is constantly doing some kind of experiment, usually with body parts in the fridge.
  • Daedalus in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, somewhat embittered after Icarus' death, builds Bamboo Technology Humongous Mecha because he can, without wondering why his patron wants them. He learns better, and goes back to inventing peaceful things, like Silly Putty (really).
  • Used with Genre Savvy on Myth Busters, usually by Adam.
    • "We're about to shoot an M-16 into a swimming pool! For Science!"
    • "I'm going to jump into shark-infested waters For Science!"
    • A promo for the MacGyver special has Adam claiming "This is for love, money, and science!"
    • When the normally emotionless Jamie finally admits that the little marching robots he has built are "kinda cute", Adam agrees: "Cute... For science!"
    • "We're creating rain... for science!"
    • And lest we forget Adam's infamous "I Ate a radio for science!"
  • And before the Mythbusters, Bill Nye was showing off For Science! tricks on Almost Live.
  • Star Trek: Voyager
    • "Scientific methods": where some aliens experiment on the crew... by randomly changing their genes. There are even lethal cases. They make B'Elanna and Paris horny too. I'd hate to think what that was in aid of...
    • In the episode "Jetrel", Neelix encounters the scientist who developed the weapon of mass destruction that destroyed his personal homeworld.

 Jetrel: If I had not discovered the Cascade it would have been someone else, don't you see? It was a scientific inevitability, one discovery flowing naturally to the next. Something so enormous as science will not stop for something as small as man, Mister Neelix.

Neelix: So you did it for science.

Jetrel: For my planet, and yes, for science. To know whether or not it could be done. It's good to know how the world works. It is not possible to be a scientist unless you believe that all the knowledge of the universe and all the power it bestows is of intrinsic value to everyone and one must share that knowledge and allow it to be applied, and then be willing to live with the consequences.

  • In Stargate Universe, Rush lives this trope to the core. He strands the cast on Destiny rather than lose the chance to get there. When power shuts down and they're all going to die, his primary complaint is that they've lost the opportunity of a lifetime to explore the universe.
  • Almost every scientist on Eureka does this at some point or the other. Unattended consequences have almost destroyed the town/nation/universe on several occasions.
  • This seems to be Topher's primary motivation in Dollhouse.
  • The UnSub in the Criminal Minds two-parter "To Hell...and Back" tries justifying his actions using this trope, almost word for word. The earlier "Scared to Death" had the killer claim his victims "sacrificed themselves for science".
  • Alton Brown, of Good Eats, says this trope word for word when trying to coax his cameraman into getting into his "Vomitron" machine to test the effects of ginger on motion sickness.
  • Stuart Radzinsky (and to a lesser extent, the rest of the Dharma Initiative) on Lost lives this trope to the core. How does it end? With the Swan Incident. Although, to be fair, it's not clear that Radzinsky alone caused the Incident - the atomic bomb probably helped.
  • Regenesis wonderfully inverts this. People in it For Science! tend to be patient and reasonable regarding their studies. Almost every disaster is caused by people who have some practical real world application in mind because they are either under pressure to get results or convinced that the world is suffering without the benefits of their ideas.
  • The Big Bang Theory:

 Sheldon: That was not a betrayal, that was an experiment to determine at what concentration food starts tasting "mothy".

Leonard: You put moths in my food?

Sheldon: For science.

  • The West Wing invokes this more than once. First by Sam Seaborn in answer to the question, "Why should we go to Mars?" "Because it's what's next." Later by a scientific researcher. Why should we build the superconducting supercollider, what practical results will it get? None whatsoever, research for its own sake.
  • ICarly: Carly uses this excuse in iOMG to get Gibby to help her electrocute her brother for their semester project.
  • Thank you very much, we have an announcement to make. On July 4th of this year, America will blow up the moon! We have the technology, the time is now, science can wait no longer, children are the future! America can, must, should, and will blow up the moon!
  • House: One of House's applicants injects a patient with thallium so it looks like she has polio, then proceeds to "cure" her with massive doses of Vitamin C. The reason? He says he's seen polio be cured with this method, but the study that was to prove it in the 40s ran out of money before it worked. House gives him a head start before he calls the cops.
  • In Firefly, Book obliquely hints that this may have been part of the reason why the Academy did so much physical damage to River's brain during the process of giving her Psychic Powers, suggesting that they may have done what they did "just to see how much she could take." Knowing what we do about his Dark and Troubled Past, he might be right.


Music Edit

 "I've seen pandas on the wing

Heard the brontosaurus sing

And I've measured balls of string

For the benefit of mankind

(For the benefit of mankind)

 I've untangled tambourines

Disinfected aubergines

Looped a loop in submarines

For the benefit of mankind

(For the benefit of mankind)..."

  • Duran Duran wrote "Playing With Uranium" about the Nuclear Boy Scout, but takes a cheerfully twisted direction with it, proposing "reinventing the human race" as "light entertainment."


New Media Edit

  • One image in the Comedy Goldmine section of the website Something Awful depicts a young Goon trying to see if he won't get stung by a bee if he "steps on it really really fast"... For Science!, of course! He actually even says "For Science!!" It... doesn't work out so well for the kid.


Tabletop Games Edit

  • Gond the Wondermaker, the deity of invention in Dungeons & Dragons, is the one the Forgotten Realms have to thank for gunpowder, primitive firearms, grenades, and all the other joys of scientific progress. Somewhat unsurprisingly, most players choose to ignore the existence of his creations, if not the deity himself. Given alignment is True Neutral.
  • Sort of a motto for the Sons of Ether in Mage: The Ascension, particularly for the ones branded Mad Scientists by their peers.
    • The fan-made "expansion" Genius: The Transgression does more-or-less the same thing for WoD 2.0, as the Sons of Ether apparently didn't fit into the Darker and Edgier version of the World of Darkness.
    • Although the nWoD's Free Council has its moments, being a cross between the Sons of Ether and Virtual Adepts.
    • Null Mysteriis over in Hunter: The Vigil. Pleasantly, they actually do science.
    • The Clan Tzimisce in Vampire: The Masquerade. Why did you take that human apart, piece by piece, while he was still alive? For science! Why did you fuse sixteen ghouls into a giant dinosaur-like monster? For science! Why did you put a mouth on your own tongue? For science!
    • And their spiritual successors, the Ordo Dracul of Vampire: The Requiem, may not have flesh-crafting, but they do have the same pragmatic attitude. One of their common initiation rituals involves a student randomly selecting a mortal, horribly murdering them, and then tracking how the world is changed by their death.
  • The Adeptus Mechanicus of Warhammer 40000 has set loose more than one Eldritch Abomination in their pursuit of even a fragment of a Standard Template Construct. They have a particularly poor track record regarding Necrons -- the minute they find a tomb full of the slumbering constructs, they inevitably start poking the things until they wake up.
    • And if they aren't allowed to do this, they sulk.
    • Just to add promethium to the fire, they also caused an entire Space Marine chapter to go renegade by stealing its holiest relic for back-engineering and threatening them with orbital artillery in the hope of getting them to back down. And then yet another Eldritch Abomination turned up to take it off them before they were able to figure out how it worked.


Toys Edit

  • The Great Beings in Bionicle are living examples of this trope. Honestly, how else would you justify putting laser cannons on giant scorpion monsters?
    • How do you justify NOT doing so?
    • Go to the Makuta species to find any variation of brutal warriors, cunning schemers or Evil slash Mad scientists that do half of their experiments For Science! and For the Evulz. For examples, look no further than the Necrofinch (a bird that keeps singing even after death), the Electric Spider (Exactly What It Says on the Tin) or Blade Burrowers (a species designed to die within three days because the one that requested them for his army was acting like a douche).


Video Games Edit

  • Minecraft, as demonstrated here. Redstone and various mods allow the player to impersonate G La DOS indefinitely.
  • World of Warcraft: Intentionally invoked when nerdy dragon Maloriak shouts "How well does the mortal shell handle extreme temperature change? Must find out! FOR SCIENCE!" when he's trying to murder you. This is pretty much the motivation for a lot of Forsaken activities these days, with sub-sects like the Royal Apothecary Society getting increasingly dubious with their experiments. Look no further than a quest called, "The Forsaken Blight and You: How Not to Die."
  • The Umbrella Corporation from Resident Evil - in fact, pretty much the entire Resident Evil series - is the poster child for this trope. Even their attempts to commercialize all their zombie-making uberviruses were just a way to keep the real objectives of the founders going, which range from insane to comically insane but mostly center around reformatting the human race into an ideal species. Pretty much everyone employed by Umbrella also uses this as an excuse for committing murder about as often as regular people get haircuts. William Birkin's a particularly egregious example, what with the whole G-virus thing.
  • In Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Wesley Stickler uses this as his justification for underwear theft, of all things.
  • This is the motivation -- or at least the excuse -- of Caulder/Stolos from Advance Wars: Days of Ruin; indeed, until the last chapter it's his only real characteristic.

 Caulder: Have you ever watched yourself die? It's FASCINATING!

  • Played very strait with the Arisen, a race of half undead half machines from Allods Online. Who use this as their cover for any and all of their questionable actions, much to the dismay of their allies, who are unable or unwilling to intervene because every technological marvel throughout their empire is thanks to their rotting friends.
  • Everything that Hojo from Final Fantasy VII has ever done EVER. Lucrecia Crescent, Dr. Hollander, Grimoire Valentine, and a few others fall under this as well.
  • Vernon Von Grun from City of Villains.
    • "Laugh with Me! MHUA HA HA HA HA * COUGH* HAHA HA!"
    • Then there is his mentor, Doctor Creed, and his boss, Doctor Aeon.
    • His name is a pun on Wernher von Braun, see Real Life Examples.
  • This is the raison d'être of Dr. Odine in Final Fantasy VIII, who doesn't care who he works for or what his inventions are used for as long as he gets to keep researching and inventing things. When he discovers that his research will eventually be developed into a working machine, which in turn is what's allowing the Big Bad to project her consciousness back in time and wage war in the present, his reaction is to be thrilled that his ideas will be put to use.
  • In Impossible Creatures, "For science!" is one of Dr. Lucy Willing's unit acknowledgment quotes. She's more of a Wrench Wench than a mad scientist, but it does take most of the campaign to convince her that the Mix-and-Match Critters technology is too dangerous to exist.
  • In League of Legends, one of Heimerdinger's battle cries is "For great science!"
  • The Half Life mod Science & Industry added a suicide-bomb weapon in one update, and it didn't take long for the customary cry before detonating one to become "FOR SCIENCE!", giving it pseudoreligious overtones. To be clear, it's the security guards who do the suicide-exploding, rather than the sc ientists. Still, they would have to be pretty dedicated to science to happily die for their company, even if they do get cloned back to life.
  • Colress from Pokemon Black and White 2 is one of the biggest examples I can think of. Originally hired by Mr. Satan Incarnate (AKA Ghetsis) to be the boss of Team Plasma, Colress's objectives are really to find a way to bring out a Pokemon's power, but in the process becomes Ghetsis's Dragon.
  • In Metal Gear Solid, Otacon wanted to design giant robots because it would be cool, basically. Why the US military wanted to make the robot capable of launching nuclear weapons untraceably is anyone's guess.
    • The Last Days of Foxhound gives the official and definitive answer to that question.
    • There's some bit of Truth in Television to this, as various arms developers have indeed been experimenting with tanks with legs, on the principle that they can move on certain terrains other heavy vehicles can't, often leave less impact on said terrain (and thus would be harder to trace), and can be positioned for firing more easily. Having your nuclear option small, mobile, and relatively unrestricted by terrain is a pretty big tactical advantage.
    • Curiously enough, Sigint said in one of the radio conversations that creating a bipedal tank was pretty expensive, not to mention impractical and it wouldn't have as many applications in war as it would a tank with threads. It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for the fact that he was Donald Anderson and would be revealed to be the DARPA Chief many years later! Y'know, for a technology expert, Sigint was rather narrow-minded with this.
  • Portal's Aperture Science -- "We do what we must because we can". ("For the good of all of us. Except the ones who are dead".) Most of their projects turn out to be comedic scientific overkill, such as creating a fuel system de-icer that is also an artificially intelligent supercomputer and inventing a device that bends the laws of space-time for "potential shower curtain applications". The founder of Aperture Science was pretty much insane from mercury poisoning when he started the company.

 G La DOS I think we can put our differences behind us. For science. You monster.

    • Black Mesa aren't exactly that different either. Pretty much everything that goes on there isn't so much for the benefit of mankind as a whole but for the sole purpose of tearing physics a new one. Give me one good reason why they gave their theoretical physicists fairly comprehensive firearms training if the result of their insane meddling was going to be naught but sunshine, puppies, and candy.
    • This goes even further than that with Cave Johnson's tests, related through pre-recorded audio. Blue paint instead of repulsion gel, mantis men, and replacing human blood with gasoline to name a few.
    • Fridge Logic kicks in when one begins to wonder exactly what they expected to learn by doing this, and how it could possibly have any application. Superhot brain chips, Cave? Seriously?
    • Johnson actually lampshades this at one point. "I'll be honest, we're throwing science at the wall here to see what sticks. No idea what it'll do". He then suggests the best and worst case scenarios being superpowers and tumors ("Which we'll cut out!") The hidden joke for people who are actually familiar with science is that every single one of their tests violates both scientific ethical standards, and basic scientific testing protocols. Also, several of their inventions would make them millionaires, if they bothered to use it in anything other than testing.
  • This is the defining characteristic of the University of Planet in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri. Upside: incredibly fast progress up the Tech Tree. Downside: unethical experiments inspire the lower classes into mob riots. They're portrayed as Neutral Neutral, though, considering there are even meaner people in Planet.
  • The witch Deneb from Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen. She created the creatures that have later been re-used, one way or another in every other Ogre Battle game: the Pumpkin Head. Which is a man whose head has been replaced with a Jack-O-Lantern. By the time you get there she has stopped experimenting on humans and is apparently doing large-scale experiments on the lands around her castle instead. (With large areas on the map being purple instead of the normal brown for hills/mountains.) And the only reason given for why she did any of the things she did is that she was "researching some new magic" and "you know how important research is to Deneb". In short, she did it FOR SCIENCE MAGIC!
  • This is all the motivation Ratchet has for his little tinkerings, including, but not limited to, electrified underwear --"Stunderwear".
  • If Fallout 3's resident Mad Scientist Dr. Lesko is attacked, he shouts a number of phrases like "science always triumphs!" and "I strike this blow for science!" while fighting. While she never actually comes out and says it, Moira Brown's motivation is basically For Science, never once losing her veneer of optimism while asking you to perform increasingly perilous tasks all for the sake of gathering information for her Wasteland Survival Guide.
  • Fallout: New Vegas plays this completely straight with Old World Blues. The Think Tanks are all about doing questionable things (such as replacing the Courier's spine/heart/brain with cybernetic replacements), and everything that you're helping them with is in the name of SCIENCE. The fact that they're all addicted to Mentats (mental stimulant/Fallout-equivalent of Speed) doesn't help a single bit.
  • Time Splitters: Future Perfect has the Brotherhood of UltraScience which is dedicated specifically to science, with the only goal being the achievement of immortality, no matter how many zombie byproducts it takes. They succeed... sort of. The Big Bad is still not immune to bullets.
  • In Tales of Monkey Island: Launch of the Screaming Narwhal, when you are in the Marquis de Singe's lab. If you examine the Vole-Powered Generator, the doctor will explain that it is a machine that uses rodents to make lightning. Guybrush will then exclaim "Why would you do that?" to which de Singe naturally replies "Science!" This is practically the Marquis' catch phrase. His one weapon you see him with is labeled in the concept sketches as the "Porcelain, Bronze, and Wood Gun of Science!"
  • Infinity series:
    • The proclaimed motive of Lieblich Pharmeceuticals in Ever 17. Except it's really just For Money! and For Immortality!
    • Again in Remember 11, where Lieblich is swapping people's minds For Science! and so that they can contact a being that exists beyond the concept of time
  • Change the word science to magic and you have the motives of essentially every (non main character) magus in the Nasuverse. It's rather telling that the policy of the Magic Association isn't 'Don't kill masses of people For Science!!' but 'Don't get caught killing masses of people For Science!!'
  • Like Caulder above, this is the only excuse Izuka (from Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn) has for brainwashing countless Laguz into a blood-thirsty rage and trapping them in their Beast forms. This is also why he performs the same experiment on Duke Renning, Elincia's uncle, creating the psychotic Bertram in the process.
  • The game Dwarf Fortress is still in development, and is already incredibly complex, with all its ins and outs being far from fully documented. Because of this, members of the online fan community regularly share their discoveries of new idiosyncrasies and/or awesome things you can do in-game. For example, there is an ongoing effort to find a way to sink a capsule full of dwarves to the bottom of an ocean without crushing or drowning them; no success yet. Anytime a person posts on the forums asking if something is possible, and that thing has not been tried yet, the poster is implored to try the thing out "for !!SCIENCE!!" and report the results.
  • In Scribblenauts, attempting to summon "SCIENCE" nets you a Large Hadron Collider (see below).
  • The Space Pirates of Metroid often perform various types of SCIENCE, almost all of them military related. If it isn't a weapon, it's a Super Soldier or similar. Of course, they usually steal tech, but tend to make improvements or adjustments to the designs, and tend to create or discover new things, as well.
  • The city of Hallifax in Lusternia has an entire organization of mad scientists devoted to "expanding scientific knowledge", called The Institute. It's divided into six parts: the laboratory of Arcane Metaphysics; the laboratory of Aethereal Astrophysics; the laboratory of the Temporal Continuum; the laboratory of Metaplanar and Transdimensional Physics; the laboratory of Natural Sciences and Higher Energies; and the laboratory of the Void. And they're all nuts.
  • Hallifax actually has an organization called The Sentinels wholly devoted to cleaning up the Institute's various messes - ranging from monsters to paradoxes.
  • Team Fortress 2 - The fans who aren't depicting the Medic as a sadistic Deadly Doctor (or a stoner) tend to think of him as this.

 [Heavy is having open-heart surgery, but isn't under anesthetic, and Medic is holding his heart in his hands, trying to see how it will react to the Beta Medigun. The heart explodes, knocking Medic's pet dove Archimedes off his perch with a piece of flesh. Heavy's head is down, but he picks it up when he hears the noise.]

Heavy: "What was noise?"

Medic: "The sound of progress, my friend."

    • The Engineer is up there, too, if the para-text concerning how he acquired the Gunslinger are any indication. (Paraphrased: "Robot hand + hack saw + a lot of alcohol = why the heck not?")
    • The process of crafting a hat is known as "SCIENCE" on /v/.
  • In Kingdom Hearts, this is pretty much Xehanort's justification for all the crap he did.
  • An interesting example comes from Super Robot Wars Original Generation 2, in which doing something For Science! actually leads to a morally right decision, at least within the context of the game. When Lemon Browning's Ridiculously Human Robot W-17 AKA Lamia Loveless develops her own free will and decides to pull a Heel Face Turn, Lemon, instead of wiping W-17's memories and restoring her original programming, decides to help her android escape, desiring to see how far her creation's free will will take itself.
  • The free MMO Dragon Nest offers an early quest with a blacksmith who wants you to gather some harpy feathers so he can design some new (flexible) armor. Upon returning the item to him, he will quickly fashion it into a vest, tackle you to the ground to force it onto you, and then shout "For SCIENCE!!" before stabbing you with a spear.
  • In the various "My Sims" games, Dr. F personifies this trope. When he's not telling you that "the F stands for robots," he's performing dangerous, painful, and pointless experiments on a robot named Tobor that he purposely designed to be intelligent enough to fear for its continued existence. When Tobor left his employment to open a 50s nostalgia diner, Dr. F decided to explode the janitor into space instead.
  • The Big Bad, Natla, in Tomb Raider has science as her motivation. Being a former ruler of Atlantis and being the only one from the mythical city left alive, she plans to create a race of mutants to speed up evolution so that only the strong can survive. The remake ditches this motivation for a different one.


Web Comics Edit

 "Don't tell me you fear the experiment?"

"I fear the result - but the experiment, why, that is Science!"

"For Science, then!"

"For SCIENCE!"

 Young Kimiko: I must find a thing called "biscuits".... I will do science to it.


Web Original Edit

  • Dr. Insano uses "With SCIENCE, of course!" as his Catch Phrase, and tends to lean towards the destructive side of scientific research if his orbital death ray and his taking control of Neutro are any indication. Some of his inventions, however, such as the raritanium-powered anti-magic field generator, or getting an Atari Jaguar CD to run, might have peaceful applications. Not that he acknowledges this, as he's quite open about wishing to use them for death, destruction and world conquest. This inevitably carries over into all other series that Dr. Insano makes cameos in, such as Kickassia.

 Dr. Insano: Ha! Your super-conductor electromagnetism is no match for SCIENCE!

Nostalgia Critic: But, it is science!

Dr. Insano: WELL, I'M SCIENCIER!

  • Homestar seems to think that "saying something smart" involves dressing in a lab coat, holding up a beaker, and shouting, "Science! Science again! I said science again!"
  • A more direct example is when Strong Bad is asked by a fan what would happen if someone poked Pom Pom (a character who resembles a giant balloon) with a pin. After attempting said experiment (it didn't end well... for him), he says "It had to be done in the name of science. Or more accurately, because some kid emailed me and told me to."
  • SARGE, of Red vs. Blue:

 Sarge: Simmons this is no time to chat about your crackpot theories! I'll get the levitation ray! This is a crisis situation. Now to save us all, for science!

    • The irony being, that whilst he was 'saving them all for science', he was meant to be helping to save Donut, who had seemingly been crushed under a ship... and had just driven away with any tools they required to do this.
    • Also from Red vs. Blue, when the alien Crunchbite sees the energy sword in Tucker's hand and proceeds to beat the snot out of him, Church just stands over him saying:

 Church: This could give us a clue about how these alien creatures fight... now stay there. For science.

 "You as Gordon Freeman are, of course beyond all this and you manage to teleport to the alien world where you begin researching the shit out of everything in sight."

  • Raocow uses "Science" as a Catch Phrase when exploring areas of levels in his Let's Plays. Specifically, he says "science" before jumping into potentially deadly pits/spikes/munchkins to check for hidden areas.
  • Gordon Freeman brings this up in Freemans Mind regarding the development of the atomic bomb, and how the scientists pressed on despite fears that it would "catch the atmosphere on fire and burn up the whole planet." In reality, they had already determined that this was impossible by the time they actually tested the bomb.
  • Catchphrase of Lim the Weaponsmith/Scientist from the MMORPG Dragon Fable ... who is constantly at odds with Cysero, who is For Magic and batshit insane experiments that can actually destroy the world (or a large portion of it).


Western Animation Edit

  • On The Venture Brothers, Professor Richard Impossible conducted an experiment that blew up in his face. It granted him incredible stretching powers, but left his family with painful and hideous mutations. Not only is he completely unsympathetic to their plight, but he treats them like prisoners most of the time. Impossible is a thinly-veiled parody of The Fantastic Four's Reed Richards, who has slipped into this trope from Reed Richards Is Useless more than once (most recently during Civil War). Impossible's crowning moment of For Science! was when confronted by his wife that their son was missing, he ignores her and handwaves it:

 "What could possibly be more important than your own son?"

"... sssssssssssscience?"

    • Doctor Venture himself does highly unethical science either for profit, or just because he can. One season two episode shows his to do list includes such things as "Spit in God's face". The page pic on Just Think of the Potential is from the pilot episode, where he believes the "Ooh-Ray" has nothing but peaceful applications, much like Tesla's "Peace Ray" (you should he keep in mind his character was different in the pilot).
    • Still, Rusty merely views science as a way of profit (even if his few non-derivative inventions tend to be Moral Event Horizons), while Dr. Impossible falls directly in this trope.
  • Lampshaded in an episode of Danny Phantom, when Danny asked his dad how much he would get paid for helping out in the lab. "I pay you to mow the lawn. This you'll do for the love of science!"
  • Self-proclaimed Evil Genius Jumba Jookiba from Lilo and Stitch seems to have created his genetic experiments just for the heck of it. Although he delights in describing the evil applications of his creations, he seems to have no grand plans for them. In the original movie, he notes that he never gave Experiment 626 (Stitch) a higher purpose.
    • That's right-For Science! has actually managed to create good.
  • In Disney's Gargoyles, there may have been commercial applications for the Gargoyle genome, the procedure to create Mutates, or cloning, but Dr. Anton Sevarius only seemed interested in research and experimentation for its own sake. From the Bad Guys comic:

 Sevarius: For science, which, as my associate Fang indicated, must ever move forward. Plus, there's the money. And I do so love... THE DRAMA!"

  • In the pilot episode of Time Squad, the eponymous squad has to deal with a horde of flesh eating robots created by Eli Whitney (seriously). When Otto asks Whitney why he did this, he replies "I wanted to do something to help mankind". How rampaging flesh eating robots could accomplish that is a question not even Whitney himself could answer...
  • What a fine day... FOR SCIENCE!
  • An episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has an unknown villain break into a lab and steal genetically-engineered termites that also eat metal, concrete, and plastic. When April interviews the scientist who made them, she asks just what purpose the termites were supposed to serve besides the obvious destruction, and gets a blank look in response.
  • This seems to be the motivation behind half of Professor Frink's inventions in The Simpsons.

 Grampa Simpson: What the hell is that?

Professor Frink: Why, it's a death ray my good man, behold.

Grampa: Hey, feels warm, kinda nice.

Frink: Well it's just a prototype, with proper funding I'm confident this little baby could destroy an area the size of New York City.

Grampa: But I want to help people, not kill them!

Frink: Oh, well to be honest, the ray only has evil applications. You know my wife will be happy, she's hated this whole "death ray" thing from day one.

  • Frylock falls into this trope on occasion -- the toilet that destroyed Carl's body springs to mind.
    • Whatever motivates Dr. Weird is up for grabs -- this one might explain it. Some of it. The saner ones, anyway.
    • In one of the earlier scripts for the first episode, this is what motivates Dr. Weird. You can see it on the first season DVD.

 "Now, beat him with the metal rod...FOR SCIENCE!"

    • Steve also invoked this phrase, asking if that was Dr. Weird's reason for making love to a lawnmower.
  • Similar to The Venture Bros., an "altered" Reed Richards also occurred in the "Heroes" episode of Batman Beyond. It's his resemblance to J.R. "Bob" Dobbs.
  • Professor Membrane from Invader Zim. Everything he does is either For Science or for destroying Santa Claus.

 Membrane: (to his daughter) Sorry about imprisoning you and turning you into a media freak, honey. It was in the name of SCIENCE!

  • All the Sciencebots of Transformers are practically programed to do stupid things FOR SCIENCE. Perceptor has given up his personality to store more data in his head, Wheeljack built five fire-breathing dinosaurs (with not enough brains to tell their heads from their asses) just because he went to a natural history museum, and Starscream tends to clone himself and make others into drones. There was also that monkey Primacron who built Unicron's G1 cartoon-verse body.
  • From the original My Little Pony, we have the Gizmonks, two brother and sister monkey gadgeteers. Even they don't know what half their inventions are until they finish and try them.
  • This is how Heloise from Jimmy Two-Shoes tries to justify her more sociopathic tendencies...when she bothers to justify them, anyway.
  • Jonny Quest TOS. In "The Dragons of Ashida" and "Terror Island" the Mad Scientists create giant monsters without any concern for the consequences of their actions.
  • This is pretty much Kowalski's modus operandi, seeing as he's the brains of the outfit.
  • Futurama: Good news everyone! I've invented something crazy! For Science!
  • Kowalski's usual excuse in The Penguins of Madagascar when he's about to do something that will endanger them all.
  • The Mechanist in Avatar: The Abridged Series "But I'm doing it FOR SCIENCE!!!"
  • Superfriends 1973/74 episode "The Menace of the White Dwarf". In the Backstory, Mad Scientist Raven was convicted of trying to jar the Earth from its axis, which might have caused the extinction of the entire human race.

 Raven: I am a scientist! My experiment dictated that I take that risk!

Judge: A sense of humanity would have bid you not to!


Real Life Edit

  • The famous "physics' rock star" Richard Feynman one day said to his good friend Freeman Dyson that he decided to quit military-related work when he realized that he had enjoyed too much working on the Manhattan project.
    • Feynman and other rockstars were known to work on questions solely for their own amusement and never bother to publish. When others came to them to ask for help with a difficult question, the answer would be "I think that's right." followed by riffling through some papers, confirming that it had already been solved and saying "Yes, that's right." On one occasion a grad student was struggling with a limited case, and was devastated when Feynman rattled off a quick solution to the more general case then demonstrated that it simplified down to the limited case.
    • Feynman was known to do this for a purpose - that purpose being the destruction of his grad students. He would look up the topic of a grad student's thesis and solve it himself, before putting it away for the eventuality that the student came to him for help. If they did...well, suffice to say, the idea that the basis of your thesis is so totally trivial that others can solve it and don't even bother to publish it can be extremely damaging to a human being.
    • Sir Isaac Newton was particularly bad about this. He deliberately made his Principia Mathematica as obscure as possible so most people couldn't read it, and very nearly didn't publish the crucial third volume out of pique. He started the Principia because people were trying to work out the mathematics of gravitation and had to be convinced to publish it. Then he decided to invent and describe calculus instead. Also, his personal belongings contained vast reams of unpublished work (though a lot of it was For Alchemy rather than For Science!).
    • Newton was also quite happy to play Professor Guinea Pig, for it is alleged that he once inserted a leather needle between his eyeball and the side of his eye-socket just to see what would happen. No permanent damage, apparently. Between having an Ambiguous Disorder and the amount of time he spent inhaling mercury vapours, quite possibly also just to see what would happen, this was a man who really put the "mad" in Mad Scientist.
    • Similarly, Lord Henry Cavendish was a brilliant recluse, painfully shy, who published none of his work. Pretty much none of his discoveries are credited to him because other people discovered them and did publish.
  • Inventor Nikola Tesla claimed to have invented an energy weapon for "peaceful purposes", predating the concept of "Mutually Assured Destruction" by decades. Tesla, however, had at least the sense to market the thing not as a "death" ray but as a "peace ray". But then, Tesla was insane.
    • The idea behind the Death Ray was somewhat different from Mutually Assured Destruction: As a weapon with effectively unlimited power but limited range, the idea was not that it would be too terrifying for anyone to ever use it, but rather that there would be no point in sending an army to invade someone's city if the defending city could vaporize the army before they got there. Unlike MAD, the death ray did not actually require that the actors involved behave sanely.
      • Unless, of course, someone was sufficiently insane to use the ray against another city instead of an invading army.
      • Presumably the ray wasn't supposed to be mobile enough for that, especially given the power requirements it would have taken.
  • Alfred Nobel originally invented dynamite so that it would be safer to handle and for construction purposes such as blowing out tunnels and clearing debris. Soon however people started figuring out how to use it as a weapon. He also turned the Bofors company from mainly producing iron to making cannons and chemicals for firing them. Nobel created the Nobel Prizes when he was falsely reported as dead and his obituary described him as a reprehensible murderer-by-proxy.
    • To contemporary pacifist Baroness Bertha von Suttner, Nobel had this to say: "Perhaps my factories will put an end to war even sooner than your congresses. On the day when two army corps may mutually annihilate each other in a second, probably all civilized nations will recoil with horror and disband their troops."
  • When JFK was asked why America was going to the Moon, he answered "Why not".

  "We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard."

  • Wernher von Braun, the scientist who worked on JFK's Apollo project had in the past made the V2 missile for the Nazis. Why? For Rocketry!

 "Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down?/ That's not my department." says Wernher von Braun.

"Wernherr von Braun: The man who aimed for the stars and hit London instead."

    • In his own words (on the subject of the V-2):

 "The rocket worked perfectly except for landing on the wrong planet."

  • One of the most horrifying examples in real life of this is Josef Mengele, the infamous Nazi scientist who performed "experiments" at Auschwitz, and had a particular fascination with twins and other "abnormals", who he researched in order to find scientific proof of racial inferiority. He was known to perform amputations and major surgeries without anesthesia, and once sewed two twins together to make artificial Siamese twins. Said one prisoner of him, "Nobody ever questioned him -- why did this one die? Why did that one perish? The patients did not count. He professed to do what he did in the name of science, but it was a madness on his part. He didn't run a laboratory, he ran a butcher's shop."
    • More frightening is that Mengele was, by comparison, a lightweight famous not so much for being the worst of the worst, but for evading capture. Some of the Nazi medical corps make Mengele look like Doctor Snuggles by comparison. Like one doctor with what can only be called an unhealthy fixation on the female reproductive tract. Let's just say it often involved injections of caustic substances like gasoline and leave it at that.
    • Nah, Mengele was definitely one of the worst. The guy even performed sex changes on children under five, without using any anesthesia.
    • Then again, he and his Jewish assistance made major breakthroughs in the research of a disease named noma. This disease, which involves hideous facial gangrene, does not exist in the developed Western world anymore, but it still does in Africa. Ah well, at least someone helped them out with it--as we all know, beggars can’t be choosers.
  • Japan's Unit 731 did even worse experiments on the Chinese. They injected prisoners with inoculations of disease and cut them open (while still alive, and without anesthesia) to study their effects, froze them in low-temperature chambers to see how long they would live, injected air into their arteries to determine the time until the onset of embolism, and injected horse urine into their kidneys, just for starters.
  • It is worth noting that the "science" performed by Unit 731 and Mengele et al was likely motivated in a large part by sheer sadism - Aushwitz survivor Alex Dekel said that: "I have never accepted the fact that Mengele himself believed he was doing serious work – not from the slipshod way he went about it. He was only exercising his power. Mengele ran a butcher shop – major surgeries were performed without anaesthesia. Once, I witnessed a stomach operation – Mengele was removing pieces from the stomach, but without any anaesthetic. Another time, it was a heart that was removed, again without anaesthesia. It was horrifying. Mengele was a doctor who became mad because of the power he was given. Nobody ever questioned him – why did this one die? Why did that one perish? The patients did not count. He professed to do what he did in the name of science, but it was a madness on his part."
  • For the time being, the experiments using the Large Hadron Collider will mostly be for satisfying scientific curiosity (namely searching for the hypothetical Higgs boson). Whether any practical use can be made from such a discovery (which would provide insight to the quantum nature of mass) remains to be seen. There are also those who claim that the experiments are unethical, due to the potential for creating miniature black holes which could destroy the planet, but these fears are mostly groundless (REALLY!).
    • It's not as impractical as one would think. The boson is what scientists think creates mass. If we find that it exists, we can start tinkering with it. For what applications this can be used for, see every technology from interstellar space travel to telekinesis to nearly Bottomless Magazines in Mass Effect.
      • For that matter we could probably have the eponymous Mass Effect.
    • Of course, even if we do find it, we have to figure out how to use something that could only be detected in a humongous facility at relativistic velocities. Specifically, how would you find a use for it when it can only (apparently) be observed and generated in an isolated form in high energy physics experiments? Until it can be generated by something smaller, or the existing tech is drastically scaled down, there's little application for it beyond scientific curiosity.
      • If the ancient Greeks would have built a Scanning electron microscope to prove that there are atoms, they wouldn't later have used the microscope itself, but all the wonderful things that chemistry, and a couple of the things that physics gave us.
    • A lot of theoretical research tend to suit this trope, at least at first. When one asks why special relativity was useful in 1905, or Democritus' concept of atomism in classical Greece, one finds that the greatest practical results came decades or even centuries later. A particular meta-example would be Bacon, whose most noted practical accomplishment was how to create practical accomplishments in research. Or immortality.
  • There is no such thing as good knowledge or bad knowledge. There is only knowledge. Morality is when you decide not to use it. -- anonymous
  • Cracked's list of 7 Kickass Sci-Fi Cancer Cures starts with drilling holes in a man's head and firing fiber-optic anti-tumor lasers into his brain. While he's conscious.
    • All brain surgery that is any way feasible to do so is done while the patient is conscious. That's the best way to make sure that nothing goes wrong -- no-one knows it better than the patient himself. Once you get past the fleshy bits on the outside of the skull, there isn't aren't any nerve receptors and therefore nothing that registers pain within the brain.
    • And then there's the The 5 Scientific Experiments Most Likely to End the World, which featured the Large Hadron Collider mentioned above multiple times. All done for the sake of science, of course.
    • Also "6 Most Badass Stunts Ever Pulled In The Name Of Science"
  • There was a concern that the first A-Bomb tests would trigger nitrogen fusion and ignite the entire atmosphere, wiping out all life on Earth. Teller first brought it up. "In Serber's account, Oppenheimer mentioned it to Arthur Compton, who 'didn't have enough sense to shut up about it. It somehow got into a document that went to Washington' which led to the question being 'never laid to rest'." By the time the test was done, this outcome seemed vanishingly unlikely (nitrogen does not fuse easily). Further discussion here.

 Besides, the big worry was that if the Allies didn't get nuclear fission working soon then the Germans would beat them to it. Given the chance between our blowing up the world and the enemy blowing up the world, it was obvious what to do.

That is, on reflection, not a happy sentence.

    • LA-602 Ignition of the atmosphere with nuclear bombs. They did the math.
    • Not to mention that one scientist at the Trinity test site bet a large sum of money that it would blow up the entire state of New Mexico. For Science! indeed.
  • One of the pioneers of head transplants, Robert J. White, appears to have fit this mold perfectly. Even a completely successful transplant would leave someone as a head grotesquely stitched onto someone else's shoulder, with no motor control, severely limiting its practical use.
    • Certainly the case when it was pioneered - but nerve grafts are starting to take place with people recovering at least partial motor control of reattached and transplanted limbs.
  • Pseudo-real-life example: A bunch of scientists held a conference in World of Warcraft. Naturally, their battlecry was "For Science!"
  • Parodied in this Onion News clip.
  • Lasers. Between the laying of the theoretical groundwork after World War One and the first practical uses in the mid to late sixties, lasers were described as "a brilliant solution awaiting a problem". Everyone agreed that stimulated emission of coherent light was fascinating and clever, but no-one had much of an idea of what to do with it in practical terms.
  • The Kola Superdeep Borehole, northern Russia. The Soviet government wanted to know what was beneath the surface of the Earth. So they dug a really big hole...
  • Carl Sagan harshly criticized Edward Teller for his relentless push to develop the hydrogen bomb. While nuclear fission bombs, such as the ones dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, are certainly nothing to be taken lightly, the whole "destroy all life on Earth N times over" model of the modern nuclear arsenal would not have been possible without the hydrogen bomb.
  • Nerve.com has a I did it for Science regular section. Somewhat NSFW, of course.
  • Having sex in a MRI scanner, for science!
    • Though it may seem like this trope due to the low-brow nature of much sexual humor, it actually was educational in many regards for anatomical studies, particularly in regards to sexual anatomy. Finding out how some anatomical feature works helps solve problems of said features not working.
  • The International Space Station, mostly "for world co-operation!" with a bit of "for science!" on the side.
    • Pretty much all "for world co-operation!". It's far easier and cheaper to use unmanned space craft for science in space, except for studying the effects of the space environment on humans.
  • Parodied by many message board users, who will request various pictures of scantily-clad women "for homework" or "for research".
  • The experiment/s listed here. Article title? The Radioactive Boy Scout. Note that the Disclaimer similarly shares a For SCIENCE! worldview (emphasis optional):

 "If enough people try these dangerous experiments, the government will try to outlaw any sort of legitimate private experiments with radioactivity or possession of any radioactive minerals or materials (thus spoiling all of our fun)."

    • Frankly, most private experiments with radioactivity probably count under this trope by definition, as even the mildest radioactive materials of the sort you can find in a high school science lab are an extreme health hazard if improperly stored or handled. Experimenting on such materials with whatever equipment you can find on eBay or improvise from the junk in your garage is likely to Go Horribly Wrong.
  • The Tuskegee Study, a study in the early to mid 1900s was one of the longest studies in history, and one of the direct causes for African Americans distrusting doctors. The scientists hired a black doctor to convince poor, mostly illiterate, men with syphilis to participate in the study, promising the volunteers free medical care, a free ride into town (most didn't own cars, so they had to walk to get groceries and stuff), and a free burial when they eventually died (at an old age. The study didn't set out to kill them.). Instead, the men were lied to consistently, for example, told that a spinal tap was a special treatment for the disease, and that the disease was "bad blood" in their system. The doctors withheld treatment, even once penicillin was discovered as a viable treatment. The worst part? Hundreds suffered while the whole point of the study was to prove that black men suffered from syphilis the same way as white men--it set to prove that everyone was equal.
    • In fairness, the Study took place before any sort of comprehensive or universal bioethics policy or regulatory board existed in the United States, making it somewhat Fair for Its Day (although obviously YMMV on that). And it wasn't a plot to exterminate the black race, despite what some more radical civil rights leaders have claimed.
    • And the US repeated the whole thing with Guatemalans in 1946-48.
    • See also Dr Lee Stanley of San Quentin Prison, who did wacky things like implanting animal testicles into human inmates, or taking testicles from corpses and trying to implant them in living humans, or just regular forced castrations..what a guy.
    • See the Other Wiki's article on US ethical violations For Science!. LINK.
    • The US also did it to black service men.
  • Osakan researchers genetically engineered Mario from glowing bacteria. FOR SCIENCE!
  • The Japanese government justifies (or at least attempts to justify) its current ongoing whaling program by saying it's "FOR SCIENCE!"
    • Science article abstract: Whales caught in 2010 still as delicious as in 2009. Seriously, do they actually bother to publish any results, ever?
      • Whale meat actually doesn't taste very good, which sort of makes it worse.
    • They do publish, for what it's worth. A recent investigation pitted several actual scientists to pore through published whaling "research" papers for a single year. Out of the thousands of papers they were forced to endure, they found less than a dozen that had any scientific relevance whatsoever.
  • This is also true for the many other countries that host the Network: the Discovery Channel and related enterprises (such as Discovery Civilization) have dedicated themselves entirely to this. Considering its sheer popularity in some countries, one would think that the whole of said country was like this.
  • While not as ethically bankrupt as some of the others, it takes a strange dedication to discovery in order to create the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, chiefly by having yourself stung by as many insects as possible so that you may rank them by the agony experienced
  • Often used as a joke among friends for doing anything.
  • Places that conduct bar/pub trivia will usually, upon announcing the topic of the question is science, be met with a loud outburst of "SCIENCE!" from competing teams.
  • The Three Christs of Ypsilanti: basically, a psychologist took three schizophrenia patients who believed that they were Jesus and put them in a room together. No reports as to whether they sent in someone dressed as a Roman soldier with some wood, hammer, and nails...
  • A particularly sad case is that of Thomas Midgley Jr. He discovered that adding lead to gasoline would virtually eliminate 'knocking' in internal combustion engines. He inadvertently poisoned himself and a number of factory workers--with five fatalities--and contaminating the atmosphere with tons of lead for decades to come. His next trick involved formulating a refrigerant that was less dangerous than the refrigerants then in use. He succeeded by inventing freon--again contaminating the atmosphere for decades to come. When he contracted polio, he invented a rope and pulley device that allowed him to get into and out of bed more easily...a device with which he accidentally hung himself.
    • It is very likely that Midgley caused more damage to the environment than any other man in history.
  • As pesticides and herbicides began to grow in popularity, many industrial chemists began inventing chemicals and blindly testing them simply to find a better one. These tests were limited in scope and simplistic as well; if a chemical killed an insect, it was an insecticide, a plant, an herbicide, a man, a chemical weapon. Sometimes these overlapped; the most famous cases are some of the insecticides developed in interwar Germany, which turned out to be Zyklon-B, Tabun, and Sarin.[1]

Notes

  1. The earliest nerve agents.

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