Reflecting the dangers of irresponsible science and technology, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein quickly became a mythic story that still feels fresh and relevant in the twenty-first century. The unique framework of the Frankenstein myth has permeated the public discourse about science and knowledge, creating various misconceptions around and negative expectations for scientists and for scientific enterprises more generally. Using the Frankenstein myth as an imaginative tool, we interviewed twelve scientists to explore how this science narrative shapes their views and perceptions of science. Our results yielded two main conclusions. First, the Frankenstein myth may help scientists identify popular concerns about their work and offer a framework for constructing a more positive narrative. Second, finding optimistic science narratives may allow scientists to build a better relationship with the public. We argue that by showing the ethical principles and social dimensions of their work, scientists could replace a negative Frankenstein narrative with a more optimistic one.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Bioethical Inquiry
StateAccepted/In press - Mar 10 2018



  • Frankenstein myth
  • Identity
  • Responsibility
  • Science ethics
  • Science narratives

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy

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