[SIGCIS-Members] Debunking the myth of individual genius

Brian E Carpenter brian.e.carpenter at gmail.com
Fri Oct 23 20:36:44 PDT 2020


Hi,

Yes, there is a strong temptation to look for single inventors because it makes for simple and heroic stories. Reality is considerably more complicated. To a large extent, that's why Bob Doran and I entitled our last joint work on Turing as "Turing's Zeitgeist".

Regards
   Brian Carpenter

On 23-Oct-20 04:41, Barbara B Walker wrote:
> Hi, everybody,
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> Hope everyone is safe and well.
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> Here is an article on the importance of looking beyond the mythologies and cults of genius in the history of science and tech.
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> https://undark.org/2020/10/22/the-fiction-of-individual-genius/
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> However, I would argue that in computer history as everywhere else in the history of science and tech, debunking is not enough – we must understand the reasons, cultures and process of cult-formation and myth-making that plays such an influential role in our understanding of the past. That’s something I’m exploring in an article on John von Neumann that I recently submitted for publication review (“Creation Myths”). Am also looking at the formation of political personality cults in a seminar I am teaching this semester.
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> Barbara Walker
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> Barbara Walker
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> Associate Professor
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> Department of History/308
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> University of Nevada, Reno
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> Reno NV 89557
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