The Race and the Rivalry to Be the First in Science
St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 9780230338906, 272pp.
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
We often think of scientists as dispassionate and detached, nobly laboring without any expectation of reward. But scientific research is much more complicated and messy than this ideal, and scientists can be torn by jealousy, impelled by a need for recognition, and subject to human vulnerability and fallibility. In Prize Fight , Emeritus Chair at SUNY School of Medicine Morton Meyers pulls back the curtain to reveal the dark side of scientific discovery. From allegations of stolen authorship to fabricated results and elaborate hoaxes, he shows us how too often brilliant minds are reduced to petty jealousies and promising careers cut short by disputes over authorship or fudged data.
Prize Fight is a dramatic look at some of the most notable discoveries in science in recent years, from the discovery of insulin, which led to decades of infighting and even violence, to why the 2003 Nobel Prize in Medicine exposed how often scientific objectivity is imperiled.
“Politicians and financiers are hardly the only professionals whose psychic flaws may propel them into the stratosphere. Men and women of science routinely fly high with the same fuel, despite various professional codes and the invariable assertion that they do what they do for the lasting benefit of mankind. In 'Prize Fight,' Dr. Morton A. Meyers presents a comprehensive catalog of the inglorious behaviors provoked by this love of others.”—The New York Times
“Meyers analyzes how credit has been doled out in major scientific discoveries, including the creation of MRI and the development of streptomycin, the first antibiotic against tuberculosis. Readers come away with an enhanced understanding of the conflicting impulses that drive scientists and of the historical context behind present-day research scandals.”—Scientific American, Recommended Books
“Meyers, a magnificent storyteller, chronicles several feuds, especially over the winner of the ultimate prize, the Nobel...Prize Fight is a delicious, insightful view into the underbelly of the medical world and deserves a large readership...Highly recommended”--Choice
“Meyers’ perceptive book will engage readers interested in the ethics and emotions of scientific
“This book helps keep scientists honest."--Library Journal
"The first book to examine the prevalence of disputes over recognition and reward in modern science."--Robert Root-Bernstein, author of Spark of Genius
“Meyers brings personal knowledge of one of medicine's longest running feuds to illuminate an area of science that often seems more dominated by the politics of power than by the excitement of discovery.”-- Sharon McGrayne, author of The Theory That Would Not Die
“This well-written book includes a series of eye-opening case studies of acrimonious conflicts over credit for scientific discoveries.”--James E. Till, Albert Lasker Award winner for the codiscovery of stem cells
“A thought-provoking examination of the political side of high-stakes science.”—Kirkus Reviews
"Scientists behave very badly indeed in this bracing polemic about endemic theft, fraud, and greed in the hallowed halls of science."--John Seabrook, New Yorker staff writer and author of Flash of Genius