Thenovel, “Cantor`s Dillema” is a disquieting novel about theinfluence of politics, ego, and competition on the truth behindscientific discoveries. Despite the positive aspect of competition inhuman progress, the novel describes the destructive competitionbetween scientists in an important experiment that would bring fame.The destructive competition between the scientists reveals theethical issues surrounding the scientific field and the levels thatsome scientists can go in getting fame.
Cantoris the protagonist in the novel who has just won the Nobel Prize inhis tumor genesis theory. He shares his Nobel Prize with Jerry whosehand skills made the experiment supporting the theory successful.Krauss is Cantor`s competitor who is not pleased with the progressmade by Cantor in his experiment. In his bid to outshine cantor,Krauss tries to replicate the experiment to no avail. The trustbetween Cantor and Jerry was destroyed when Cantor found an anonymousletter stating that Jerry had sneaked in the lab. The anonymous noteprompted Cantor to conduct his own experiment to confirm his resultsand not worry about anyone else interfering with his results(Djerassi 92).
Theanonymous note, the competition between Cantor and Krauss, and theshifting of Jerry to Krauss`s lab creates an ethical dilemma forCantor in meeting his and Jerry`s interests. When Cantor found theanonymous note in his lab that stated the presence of Jerry withouthis consent, Cantor should have responded by first confronting Jerryof the act. Since he knew that Jerry had started working with Kraussand he knew of everything about the experiment, Cantor should haveconfronted him on leaking the experiment results to his rivals. Sincesuch a realization is infuriating, then confronting Jerry about hisprivate lab would have been the best response. The confrontationwould follow withdrawing Jerry from all his lab activities and starta new experiment. However, this was not his response and the responsethat he made to the anonymous note was to start a new experiment andtalk things over with Jerry (Djerassi 93).
Theresponse of confronting and creating a bad blood with Jerry would beof detriment to both Jerry and Cantor`s interest. Cantor`s interestis pursuing his goal as a scantiest while Jerry`s interest is joiningthe scientific community by being mentored by Cantor. If Cantor hadacted negatively, then their interests would have been watered down.This is because, Jerry did not leak any results and a confrontationwould make him leak the results. Since Krauss had earlier tried toreplicate Cantor`s experiment to no avail, then it would be easierfor Jerry to leak the results, providing a better platform for Jerryto challenge Cantor. This would have meant that Cantor`s interests ofpursuing his scientific goals would have been thwarted. Jerry wouldalso have lost his mentee, Cantor and his hopes of joining thescientific community would have been put on an edge.
Insummary, the novel, “Cantor`s Dillema” is an intriguing novelthat reveals the gray areas in the scientific community. The novelshows the effort made by Cantor in pursuing his goal of being ascientist but is soon disappointed when he gets an anonymous notestating that his mentor, Jerry had visited their lab privately andmay have leaked the results. If Cantor had acted negatively, thentheir both interests would have been vanished. However, Cantor didnot react this way and called Jerry to settle the matter.
Djerassi,Carl. Cantor`sDilemma.New York: Doubleday, 1989. Print.