The Scientist on Camera

The archetype of the mad scientist was Rotwang in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1926). Played by Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Rotwang had unruly hair, a disabled hand, and obsessive research interests. He worked alone, and although he lived in a modern city that his inventions made function, he was like a 16th-century alchemist. —The Scientist on Camera (Slate)

Hmm… While Old Rossum and Young Rossum only appear in dialogue in RUR (Rossum’s Universal Robots), the popularity of that play surely makes it more important as an archetype of “science turning against the scientist.”

Elsewhere on the site, there’s an allusion to Doctor Faustus, which predates Rotwang by centuries, but we can go back to classical times to Vulcan/Hephaestus (the deformed god of the forge), which predates them both by millennia.

Since the slideshow was titled “The Scientist on Camera,” naturally those earlier versions were excluded. But the text does not clearly specify that the examples were chosen based on the availabllity of photographic images.