I'll start with a definition of mad science. Mad science is scientific tinkering and experimentation done on an amateur basis, without direct support from institutions like academia, government, industry, etc. Not all mad scientists are amateurs IRL, but they also do their own experiments on their own time, limited only by their (typically) shoestring budget and (hopefully) any laws applicable to whatever they're doing. Just because an experiment is done by amateurs doesn't mean it's conducted in a non-rigorous way, within the limitations of whatever you can acquire. It also doesn't mean it can't be sophisticated: for instance, the people at Fusor.net make fusors, in which they do D-D fusion by smashing deuterium nuclei together in self-constructed vacuum chambers at high voltage (20-80 kV), and then measuring the number of neutrons that are produced. At Sciencemadness.org, people learn chemistry by doing it at home, and some of their experiments can be quite involved. It is true, sadly, that the days of people making important discoveries in modest home labs are for the most part long gone, but that shouldn't stop people from learning things that are new to them. As some of you know from the Raves threads, my hobby is playing around with sciencey things at home and doing a bunch of experiments, just for curiosity's sake. As some of you know from the Rants thread, the FBI showed up a month ago, because making a bunch of chemical purchases is a good way to get Big Brother's attention. While it was clear they were convinced I am a (relatively) harmless eccentric rather than a meth cook or a bomb maker, they did let the fire department know, and the fire department made me get rid of most of my fun chemicals, with special emphasis on the several gallons of flammable solvents I had lying around the apartment in a big plastic bin. Still, I learned a lot, and now I'm back to an old project of mine that doesn't involve anything flammable. It involves polonium instead. Legal polonium! I'll talk more about my experiments, past and present, in later posts. This thread is for anyone to discuss any mad science they have done, and to talk or ask about what might be possible. You're also welcome to share any non-mad scientific experience you may have, ranging from lab exercises in school to "real" research.