Prize Fight: The Race and the Rivalry to be the First in Science [NOOK Book]

Overview


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 ...
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Prize Fight: The Race and the Rivalry to be the First in Science

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Overview


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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Meyers’ perceptive book will engage readers interested in the ethics and emotions of scientific

research.”—Booklist

"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

Library Journal
Scientists don't always play nice. Though it's a natural, human desire to receive due credit for one's work and creative expression, those desires are exacerbated when recognition involves money, fame, and glory. Although disputed priority claims and even outright fraud are nothing new in science, the stakes today are higher than ever. Even the summit of scientific awards—the Nobel Prize—can foment unseemly arguments. Meyers (radiology, emeritus, SUNY Stony Brook, Sch. of Medicine; Happy Accidents: Serendipity in Modern Medical Breakthroughs) examines two recent incidents as case studies: the discovery of a new antibiotic, stryptomycin, and the development of medical applications for magnetic resonance imaging. The stories are compelling, albeit at times sad and infuriating, compounded by the sense that—given the personalities, the circumstances, and the importance of the research—fights were inevitable. Meyers concludes with recommendations for mitigating future conflicts. VERDICT It will come as no revelation to scientifically literate readers that the frontiers of research are often battlegrounds. While it breaks no new ground, this book and others of its kind help keep scientists honest. Recommended.—Gregg Sapp, Olympia, WA
Kirkus Reviews
Meyers (Radiology and Medicine/School of Medicine, SUNY Stony Brook; Happy Accidents: Serendipity in Modern Medical Breakthroughs, 2007, etc.) examines distortions in the process of assigning credit for major scientific discoveries. The author thinks reform is necessary to encourage creativity despite the financial pressures of competitive team science. He debunks the "dogma that science is self-correcting," giving evidence of failures in the process of peer review, and he cites instances of university department heads taking sole credit for discoveries made by student researchers and instances of outright fraud (e.g., the notorious 1986 Baltimore Affair). Priority disputes, writes Meyers, are not new to science (see the Leibniz-Newton calculus controversy), and Dmitri Mendeleev's groundbreaking discovery of the periodic table was denied a Nobel Prize. Robert Gallo and Luc A. Montagnier argued over who should receive credit for the discovery of the AIDS virus. It took a meeting and signed agreement between President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Jacques Chirac to ensure the right of both the American and the French scientist to claim credit. They finally reached a settlement in 1991, with Gallo conceding priority, and Montagnier was awarded the Nobel in 2010. Another example of a scientific dispute arose in 2005, when the first of a series of full-page advertisements appeared in the New York Times with the headline "This Shameful Wrong Must Be Righted!" The ads--which attacked the Nobel Prize committee for awarding to Paul Lauterbur and Sir Peter Mansfield the prize for work that "led to the applications of magnetic resonance in medical imaging"--were purchased by another claimant who had been passed over, Raymond Damadian. Meyers, an expert in the field, knew both Lauterbur and Damadian, and he gives a fascinating account of the scientific issues involved as well as the political aspects of the dispute. A thought-provoking examination of the political side of high-stakes science.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781137000569
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 6/5/2012
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author


Morton A. Meyers, MD is Distinguished University Professor and emeritus chair of the Department of Radiology in the School of Medicine SUNY, Stony Brook. He is the author of the seminal textbook on abdominal radiology (now in its sixth edition) that has been translated into Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and Portuguese editions and has worldwide sales total over 50,000, and is the founding editor in chief of the international journal Abdominal Imaging.  The author of award-winning Happy Accidents: Serendipity in Modern Medical Breakthroughs, he lives in Stonybrook, New York.
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Table of Contents


Introduction

PART I

Chapter 1: Recognition, Reward, and Stolen Credit: A Universal Outrage

Chapter 2: The Art of Science

Chapter 3: Staking the Claim

Chapter 4: The Dark Side of Science

PART II

Chapter 5: "Drop Everything!"

Chapter 6: The Star Pupil

Chapter 7: Shock Wave in Academia

Chapter 8: "This Shameful Wrong Must Be Righted!"

Chapter 9: The Race Is On

Chapter 10: The Sound and the Fury

Chapter 11: Obsession

Chapter 12: Picking the Winner

Epilogue

Acknowledgments

Selected Bibliography
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