“It’s Doctor Evil. I didn’t spend six years in Evil Medical School to be called ‘mister,’ thank you very much.” –Dr. Evil

This weekend, I’d like to start by introducing you to the sounds of Galactic Funk, a group whose cosmically epic name is surpassed by their novel, entrancing sound, as highlighted by this week’s song,

But you yourself would never you’d be doomed simply because you failed to address someone with the proper honorific title. There are very few things that I find as pretentious as people with degrees of any sort who demand that they be addressed with a special title, especially in situations where their degree doesn’t have any bearing.

Image credit: Todd Tankersley / John Stevens, retrieved from CNN.

Personally, I always introduce myself as “Ethan,” and though sometimes people call me “Doctor” or “Professor,” I wouldn’t dream of demanding that anyone do so. But then again, I’m not this guy


Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Wright State University Professor of Computer Science, Travis E.W. Doom.

Or, as you’d better call him, DOCTOR DOOM!

Marvel Comics' Dr. Doom, retrieved from hdcharacterwallpaper.com.

You might wonder if someone with a Ph.D., whose last name is Doom, would try to avoid the association altogether. You might wonder if such a person would be sick of those shenanigans.

Quite to the contrary, the good doctor embraces the title with an enthusiasm that I cannot help but admire. Have a look for yourself; there are somehow only 238 people who’ve visited his personal webpage.

I have, unfortunately, never met Dr. Doom, but if he can be judged by his emails… well, better just let you have a look for yourself. (Reproduced from here, without permission, as always.)

Date: Tue, 5 Aug 2003 15:40:11 -0400

From: “Dr. Travis Doom”

To: Choya Davis

Subject: Re: Query

On Tue, Aug 05, 2003 at 11:59:07AM -0700, Choya Davis wrote:

> What’s it like to go through life on a daily basis with the name

> “Dr. Doom”? I mean, do you feel pressured to live up to a name like

> that?

Absolutely. In fact, it is entirely possible that the _only_ reason that

I went on to graduate school and achieved a doctorate was due to a decision

that I made in high school. I knew then that it was a moral imperative to

become Dr. Doom. Anything less would be a disservice to the name to which

I was born.

> Have you ever actually done anything diabolical?

Absolutely. I am, after all, a university professor.

> Do you have an arch-enemy? If so, how do you deal with constant

> thwarting? Doesn’t being thwarted get wearisome ?

Unfortunately, I have no rivals suited to arch-enemy status. I do have

a nemesis (www.wright.edy/~michael.raymer), but he has not yet proved

worthy to be promoted arch-nemesis, let alone arch-enemy. The only

thing that grows wearisome is the ease with which my plots succeed. I

long for a rival competent to clearly understand the perfection of my


> Did you have to develop a melodramatic style of speech a la “They

> thought I was mad…but soon the world will be mine and all will kneel

> before the genius of Dr. DOOM!”

Not at all. Firstly, I do _not_ speak melodramaticaly. I speak in

declamations! It is simply a matter of clarity! To speak otherwise

would confuse my audience, for they cannot understand the fullness of

my genius!

> What kind of mind-bending technology do you have hidden in your vile

> sanctum of villainy? A time machine? Ready-to-launch Orbital

> Mind Control Lasers? A deutronic frombotzer?

Well, mostly I use MS power point. You might believe that a power-point

presentation is not unspeakably vile. I challenge to you attend one

of my lectures! With the advent of distance learning, soon I will be

able to touch the minds of millions from my office lair!

> And finally, do you have any toadying henchmen, that, through their

> ineptitude, constantly foil your nefarious plans for world-domination?

Of course. I have about dozen graduate and undergraduate students under

my constant guidance.

> Do you have any internships available? I dont have much henching

> experience, but you’ll find me a quick study, and I just know I could

> grovel before the awesome might and power of Doom like none other.

Unfortunately, I don’t accept just anyone. After you have proven yourself,

let me know. I’m always on the lookout for good talent.

> It

> would just be too cool to utter: “Yes evil master!”, and after you

> conquer this undeserving mudball of a planet, could I have Australia?

Unfortunately, Australia is already promised to the Koalas. Oh come on,

you don’t think that they are that cute on _accident_, do you?

> your loyal servant,

> choya davis


Dr. Travis E. Doom email: doom@cs.wright.edu

Dept. of Computer Sci/Eng. http://www.wright.edu/~travis.doom

Wright State University Tel: (937) 775-5105


If you didn’t die laughing when you read the MS Powerpoint reference, I don’t think I know how to help you. For more, go read the other emails. Travis Doom, my hats off to you; I wouldn’t dream of calling you anything other than “Doctor.”

In any case, have a great rest-of-your-weekend, and for the Futurama fans out there who’ve been thinking it the whole time…



  1. #1 Wigater
    November 13, 2011

    While at Camridge I was lectured by a Dr d’Eath. But he pronounced it Dee-ath.

  2. #2 Michael Fisher
    November 13, 2011

    *Prof.* ~ I treasure all your posts, but this is in a class of one

    Thank you for the laugh

  3. #3 Simon
    November 13, 2011

    You might believe that a power-point
    presentation is not unspeakably vile.

    Not at all… I’ve sat through many a PowerPoint-assisted lecture and meeting in my time… it’s not that hard to believe as you feel your will to live slipping away…

  4. #4 Dave X
    November 13, 2011


    There are 699 dooms across the country: http://names.whitepages.com/last/doom

    And Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, and Nebraska make a swath of doom-free states. I’m sure that won’t last forever.

  5. #5 John
    November 13, 2011

    I know a Dr Love, he claimed that the title was the only reason he did his PhD.

  6. #6 ColonelFazackerley
    November 14, 2011

    I was taught by Professor Moriarty
    That is all

  7. #7 Birger Johansson
    November 14, 2011

    “Herr Professor” has a nice sinister ring to it…

    For the evil, brain-melting effects of Powerpoint, see this novel by Charles Stross: “The Jennifer Morgue” http://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Morgue-Charles-Stross/dp/0441018149/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1321279556&sr=1-5

  8. #8 Birger Johansson
    November 14, 2011

    BTW Herr Doctor Professor Doom seems far more impressive than that slob, Tulsa Doom (in an early, very forgettable Schwarzenegger film).

    “Computer Science” (thinks of Skynet and Cyberdyne Systems) yeah, competely harmless research…

  9. #9 greame
    November 14, 2011

    Thanks Ethan, you knew exactly what I was thinking. I was incredibly wrong to think that Morbo would be excluded from this post!

  10. #10 Eric Lund
    November 14, 2011

    I actually know a Dr. Dum (being German, he pronounces his last name “doom”). He has probably retired by now; he was at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (no relation to little green men) in Garching, Germany. He used to participate in Usenet; Google tells me that this is a post he made to sci.physics.plasma in 1994 on the subject of wave dispersion, responding to a post in which one of his papers was mentioned. His name also appears in at least one Apple open source thanks file.

  11. #11 Tom
    November 14, 2011

    Dr. Doom is now on the faculty senate at Wright State, so he can add “Senator Doom” to his CV.

  12. #12 Sili
    November 14, 2011

    BTW Herr Doctor Professor Doom seems far more impressive than that slob

    I think that’s supposed to be “Herr Professor Doktor Doom”. “Dr” is a personal title, while “Professor” is just a job, so “Dr” is more intimately linked to the person.

    “Herr” is just an appellation.

    I’d like to meet Frau Profetrix Doctrix Doom.

  13. #13 NastyGash
    November 20, 2011

    Dallas, TX is home to Deman Medical Center. It is appropriate but I suspect coincidental that it resides along side I-635, one of the more notoriously accident-prone highways in the state.

  14. #14 Colin Day
    November 21, 2011

    Microsoft Powerpoint? As a Linux user, I don’t even have PowerPoint! The fool does not know how easily I can thwart his plans!

  15. #15 Steve
    November 28, 2011

    I’m currently working on becoming Dr. Butcher, alas, it will be a Ph. D. and not a medical degree. My grandmother’s GP was Dr. Payne and in my hometown we had a vet, a bird specialist, named Dr. Flock…so be very careful when you name your children.

  16. #16 Todd
    Kittrell, NC
    June 17, 2016

    I actually studied under Dr. Doom. He was outstanding, very charismatic, and a black-belt in some form of martial art. And I suspect his name was an encouragement for all of those things. 🙂

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