Gulliver visits the Great Academy of Lagado

In Jonathan Swift’s 1726 satire — “Gulliver’s Travels” — Lagado is the capital of Balnibarbi whose king had invested a great fortune on building an “Academy of Projectors” so that it shall contribute to the nation’s development through research. Gulliver describes pointless experiments conducted there — trying to change human excretion back into food, trying to extract sunbeams out of cucumbers, teaching mathematics to pupils by writing propositions on wafers and consuming them.