337 Cohen Hall
Rebecca Onion, PACHS
Saving "Embryo Scientists": The Westinghouse Science Talent Search vs. Postwar Youth Culture
Abstract: The Westinghouse Science Talent Search, first held in 1942, was a publicity exercise designed to boost the visibility of students who had committed to careers in science. Administered by the non-profit Science Service, the STS purported to use the latest methods in psychological testing in order to select its “embryo scientists.” During the first few decades of the STS, these young adults, perceived as survivors of an uncaring peer culture, were themselves the subjects of a social experiment. This talk will examine the ways that the Science Service used the Talent Search in the postwar years to define and reinforce a scientific alternative to youth culture, primarily through their representations of the childhoods of the young scientists who made it to the contest’s final round.