The Icepick Surgeon: Dastardly Deeds Perpetrated in the Name of Science

Listen 49:00
Sam Kean, author of The Icepick Surgeon: Murder, Fraud, Sabotage, Piracy, and Other Dastardly Deeds Perpetrated in the Name of Science. (Little, Brown and Company Publishers)

Sam Kean, author of The Icepick Surgeon: Murder, Fraud, Sabotage, Piracy, and Other Dastardly Deeds Perpetrated in the Name of Science. (Little, Brown and Company Publishers)

Neurologist Dr. Walter Freeman, disturbed by the horrendous conditions in mental asylums in the 1920s and the lack of medical treatments, popularized the wide use of lobotomies. His shortcut version involved an ice pick through the eye socket and allowed him to travel around the country performing up to 25 lobotomies a day, including “preventative” lobotomies on young adults and even children. Author SAM KEAN explores how Freeman and a number of other scientists went morally astray and how they tried to justify it in his new book The Icepick Surgeon: Murder, Fraud, Sabotage, Piracy, and Other Dastardly Deeds Perpetrated in the Name of Science. Kean joins us to talk about the scientists so obsessed with discovery and the pursuit of knowledge that they’ve consciously ignored the harm and pain they inflicted.

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