Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein introduced the world to archetypes we’re still familiar with: the mad scientist and his terrifying creation. But the novel is more than just a horror classic. It also asks questions about the ethics of scientific and technological innovation–questions that we still struggle with today.

On this episode, we explore one of these questions: is it wrong for scientists and innovators to work or create in isolation? First, we introduce you to “sociability,” an important, behavior-shaping idea in the scientific community of the nineteenth century. Then, we discuss whether scientists and innovators working today have similar ethical obligations. We cover things like the importance of transparency in the ethics of scientific and technological innovation. We also explore the value of democratic oversight to the world of science and technology.

For this show, we partnered with Indiana Humanities, whose One State, One Story: Frankenstein programming invites Hoosiers to consider how Mary Shelley’s classic novel can help us think about the hard questions at the heart of scientific investigation. One State/One Story: Frankenstein is made possible by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. (Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.)

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Show Notes:

Thanks to Evelyn Brosius for our logo. Featured image credit: Giovanni Aldini,  Essai theorique…sur le galvanisme uploaded to Wikimedia by user FAE, CC BY 4.0. Music used in this episode (in order of appearance):

    1. Partly Sage” by Blue Dot Sessions
      From the Free Music Archive
      CC BY-NC 4.0
    2.  As the Creatures Unravel From Within/Vampyr” by thisquietarmy
      From the Free Music Archive
      CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 US
    3. The Three Witches” by tara vanflower
      From the Free Music Archive
      CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 US
    4.  “Hickory Interlude” by Blue Dot Sessions
      From the Free Music Archive
      CC BY-NC 4.0
    5.  “Tuck and Point” by Blue Dot Sessions
      From the Free Music Archive
      CC BY-NC 4.0
    6.  “Beautocracy” by Podington Bear
      From the Free Music Archive
      CC BY-NC 3.0

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