What You Said: Was Dr. Victor Frankenstein A Good Scientist?

And what makes a “good” scientist, anyway? SciFri listeners weigh in.

This article is part of our winter Book Club conversation about Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein. Want to participate? Sign up for our newsletter or call our special voicemail at 567-243-2456. 

The SciFri office is divided over the question of whether Dr. Victor Frankenstein was a good scientist. Because the story of Frankenstein’s creation goes rogue, it’s easy to dismiss him as a bad scientist. But there are arguments to be made that Dr. Frankenstein did in fact possess at least some of the traits of a good scientist.

Was Dr. Victor Frankenstein tirelessly inquisitive? Check.

Did he go above and beyond the work of his contemporaries, and push the boundaries of his field? Check and check.

Did he find a mentor, and surround himself with peers and colleagues for mutual support? Erm…no. He most definitely did not. And needless to say, Frankenstein’s creation was not peer-reviewed.

It turns out this question is harder than we thought! So, we wanted to know what you had to say. Naturally, your answers did not disappoint:


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About Johanna Mayer

Johanna Mayer is a podcast producer and hosted Science Diction from Science Friday. When she’s not working, she’s probably baking a fruit pie. Cherry’s her specialty, but she whips up a mean rhubarb streusel as well.

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