American Sociological Association

Scientific Elite: Nobel Laureates in the United States

Zuckerman’s well-written book provides a comprehensive study of Nobel Laureates in the United States. The process by which the Nobel Prize is awarded is examined as a case study of the reward and evaluation system in science. Analysis is based on an impressive array of data. These include interviews with forty-one Laureates (and, incidentally, the fine appendix on interviewing the elite will be of interest to anyone planning to interview scientists or elites in other areas), studies of biographies and autobiographies of Nobel Laureates, reviews of the Laureates’ publications and citations to these publications, and comparative data from secondary sources on average members of the scientific community and other elite, albeit non-Laureate, scientists. Arguments are based both on tabular data and qualitative information. While the tabular results are often interesting and informative, the personal histories and quotes from the interviews are the strongest and most informative aspects of the book.


J. Scott Long





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