Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Fahy, D
2018
May
Public Understanding of Science
The laureate as celebrity genius: How Scientific American's John Horgan profiled Nobel Prize winners
Published
3 ()
Optional Fields
SCIENCE
27
433
445
When scientists become Nobel laureates, they become famous in science and public life, but few studies have examined the nature of their scientific celebrity. This article examines how Scientific American portrayed laureates in order to identify and explain core features of Nobel fame. It examines the portrayals of seven laureates - Francis Crick, Linus Pauling, Hans Bethe, Murray Gell-Mann, Brian Josephson, Philip Anderson and Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar - in magazine profiles written between 1992 and 1995 by science writer John Horgan. Its textual analysis finds the scientists are portrayed as combining the sociological characteristics of genius, including enormous productivity and lasting impact, with the representational characteristics of celebrities, such as the merging of public and private lives. Their form of scientific celebrity is grounded in their field-changing research, which is presented as a product of their idiosyncratic personalities. Nobel science is presented as knowledge created by an ultra-elite of exceptional individuals.
LONDON
0963-6625
10.1177/0963662518762663
Grant Details