SIDEBAR: Opportunities for Biographers
Scientific biographies have the potential not only to engender interest in an individual's life and work, but also to spark re-examinations of an entire discipline.
Biographers, historians, and scientists, however, have differing views on just what a scientific biography should entail. Should it center on the scientist's life or research? How far should the biographer go to avoid hagiography, a devotional and uncritical work? On the other hand, how can the biographer avoid the other extreme of "pathography," a minute examination of the subject's faults?
EVOLUTION OF AN ART FORM: Historian Spencer Weart notes scientific biography's roots in eulogy.