Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Of Genius Sperm and Movie Geniuses

I finished "The Genius Factory" over the weekend. I found it to be a very quick and enjoyable read. Just the kind of quirky subject that seems engaging enough to a) keep the author motivated through the long slog of writing and b) keep the reader interested to keep reading.

So, did this quirky attempt at eugenics in the 1980s produce any "superbabies?" No. David Plotz uses his internet resources at Slate.com to troll for anyone who was born of the Nobel Sperm Bank and see if they wanted to share any of their life experiences. Are these children, supposedly conceived through the DNA of smart people, better equipped to succeed in this world? Are they destined to lead the world and discover the cure to diseases?


Are any of them even the product of Nobel Prize winner's sperm?


Is the answer to question #2 the reason for the answer to question #1?


It's a quick, interesting read. You should check it out.

(The Genius Factory: The Curious History of the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank, by David Plotz)

In other media, check out this WWYG?! Omnimedia post on the "permanence" of today's Hollywood stars.


Jack Thunder said...

please clarify: the subjects were NOT products of aforementioned genius sperm?
wouldn't that ruin the point of the book?

i have to get this straight, you see. must watch after the seed, of course.

David said...

Yes, you read it correctly. Not a single child born of the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank was actually born from Nobel Prize winning sperm.

Why? Well, three Nobelists donated, but William Shockley caused such negative publicity that other Nobelists refused to donate--assuming they would have otherwise.

So, the bank founder went out and got other "exceptional" people to donate. And while they weren't Nobel winners, at least some of them were scientists, intellectuals, high IQers, etc.