Essay on Fame in Djerassi’s Cantor's Dilemma

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Dreams of Fame in Djerassi’s Cantor's Dilemma

Opportunistic scientists, the most hypocritical deviants of the modern age, revolve around the scientific method, or at least they used to. The scientific method once involved formulating a hypothesis from a problem posed, experimenting, and forming a conclusion that best explained the data collected. Yet today, those who are willing to critique the work of their peers are themselves performing the scientific method out of sequence. I propose that scientists, or the "treasure hunters" of that field, are no longer interested in permanent solutions, achieved through proper use of the scientific method, and rather are more interested in solutions that guarantee fame and fortune.

Fame and fortune as a motive for scientific discovery is a popular theme in fictional writing, especially in Cantor's Dilemma by Carl Djerassi. Cantor's Dilemma is a novel of the struggles of two scientists through life and a Nobel Prize "campaign". As one digs deeper into the context of the novel, one finds it similar to that of a political race, a fight for glory. For example, the "Cantor-Stafford experiment", the first tumorigenesis experiment tested in the novel, was not validated before its findings were published. This example fails to meet the standards of the scientific method because a conclusion was reached before experimentation was fully executed. Surely any true scientist would know such conclusions to be unsuitable and not "Nobel" worthy. Yet, Cantor and Stafford, both, won a Nobel Prize for their work.

Kurt Krauss in Cantor's Dilemma, an opportunistic scientist, is the extreme of scientific deviance. As a fellow scientist and a competitor, Krauss is charged with the duty of ch...

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...o not believe my experience has changed the ways of the scientist at that company.

Both in fiction and in real life a certain breed of scientists has decided to ignore the scientific method and chase dreams of fame. With that fame, they hope to dig deep into our pockets and reap the benefits of their poor workmanship. It is most evident from the examples given that these scientists, who have seemingly reversed scientific evolution, no longer care for true science and the scientific method, but rather are interested in personal glory.

1 Carl Djerassi, Cantor's Dilemma (New York, New York: Penguin Books, 1991), pg. 113.

2 Djerassi, Cantor's Dilemma, pg. 113.

3 Abbott laboratories, medical news, (, 5:25 p.m. 9/23/97

4 "Cold Fusion Times", (Wellesey Hills, MA, 7:15 p.m. 9/23/97
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