Mad scientists of Stanisław Lem

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Mad scientists appear in fiction of Stanisław Lem in the memoirs of Lem's starfaring vagabond Ijon Tichy, collected in The Star Diaries and Memoirs of a Space Traveller. They include professors Corcoran, who created several artificial universes in isolated lockers; Decantor, who created an immortal soul, Zazul, who cloned himself and was apparently killed by the clone who took his place; Diagoras, who created progressing makes of an "independent and self-perfecting device that is capable of spontaneous thought" and was unwittingly used by the two of them as a communication media; doctor Vliperdius, who is a robot doctor who runs an asylum for mentally ill robots; and professor A. Dońda,[1] who catastrophically succeeded in his quest to prove mass-information equivalence, analogous to mass–energy equivalence.[2][3]

Professor Farragus from Lem's early novelette Koniec świata o ósmej (End of the World at Eight O'Clock) irritated by a non-recognition of his fundamental discovery decides to prove he is right by destruction of the Universe. It was one of the earlier Lem's stories, first printed in Co Tydzień Powieść, Katowice, 1947, no.67, p. 2-12. The collection Dzienniki gwiazdowe (The Star Diaries), Warszawa, Iskry, 1957, includes a revised version. The early version was reprinted in Lem's selection of early works Lata czterdzieste / Dyktanda (2005, ISBN 83-08-03755-0[4]). In May 2015, Polish TV broadcast the play Koniec świata o ósmej created by theatre "Sfinks" (an attempt of the revival of the scene "Sfinks" of the Theatre of Sensation and Science Fiction "Kobra" (pl:Teatr Sensacji i Fantastyki).[5]

In 28th Voyage of Tichy's Star Diaries, it is revealed that there were mad scientists in the family of Tichy himself; for example, his grandfather, Jeremiasz Tichy "decided to create the General Theory of Everything, and nothing stopped him from doing this".[6]

A fictional review of a non-existing book Non Serviam supposedly written by Professor James Dobb, discuses Dobb's ideas about "personetics", the simulated creation of intelligent beings ("personoids") inside a computer, a development of professor Corcoran's ideas.[7]


  1. ^ Profesor A. Dońda title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  2. ^ A Review of the "Memoirs of a Space Traveller" at Kirkus Reviews
  3. ^ Antoni Smuszkiewicz, "Stanisław Lem’s Grotesque Works", Acta Lemiana Monashiensis, a special edition of Acta Polonica Monashiensis, vol.2., no.2, 2002, Monash University
  4. ^ Publication listing: "Lata czterdzieste / Dyktanda"
  5. ^ "Teatr i publicystyka", May 18, 2015
  6. ^ Krzysztof J. Kilian , "Sny o teoriach ostatecznych a problem przyszłości filozofii, ("Dreams about Ultimate Theories and the Problem of the Future of Phylosophy") ΣΟΦΙΑ, no. 8, 2008
  7. ^ Jerzy Jarzębski, "Stanislaw Lem, Rationalist and Visionary", Science Fiction Studies, Vol.4, part 2, No. 12, July 1977