[SIGCIS-Members] Debunking the myth of individual genius

Sharon Traweek traweek at history.ucla.edu
Sat Oct 24 00:15:23 PDT 2020

Thank you very much for the link to an article by Joshua Roebke [MS, Theoretical High Energy Physics, McGill University, Montréal], Institute for Historical Studies, Univ of Texas, Austin
https://www.joshuaroebke.com/    https://www.joshuaroebke.com/articles/    https://ugs.utexas.edu/tsi/faculty-profiles
“Opinion: Scoundrels, Saints, and the Fiction of Individual Genius. In the shadows of every celebrated scientist, there are other contributors who may be more deserving of our adulation.” Undark, 20 Oct 2020 https://undark.org/2020/10/22/the-fiction-of-individual-genius/

I also recommend this Roebke article on race and gender in high energy physics: “The Standard Model,” Joyland, Issue 10, Oct 2020 https://joylandmagazine.com/uncategorized/standard-model/?fbclid=IwAR1VALqswPivKt5e-7YyVRXePl-euslbFow3CIYlSxZd5r5Xcs1B0IvEuf8

Sharon Traweek, Ucla
From: Members <members-bounces at lists.sigcis.org> on behalf of Barbara B Walker <bbwalker at unr.edu>
Sent: Thursday, October 22, 2020 8:41 AM
To: members at lists.sigcis.org <members at lists.sigcis.org>
Subject: [SIGCIS-Members] Debunking the myth of individual genius

Hi, everybody,

Hope everyone is safe and well.

Here is an article on the importance of looking beyond the mythologies and cults of genius in the history of science and tech.


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.

Barbara Walker

Barbara Walker

Associate Professor

Department of History/308

University of Nevada, Reno

Reno NV 89557

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