Pascal Mercier – Perlmann’s Silence (Perlmanns Schweigen)

Last modified: February 9, 2018

The heart-rending story of a renowned, prize-winning scientist who has lost touch with his subject. An invitational conference has been organized in his honour, at which he is to deliver the closing address himself. Much is expected of him, but despite working on his contribution for months he has so far been unable to put anything down on paper. However, it is too late to pull out now. He is unable to acknowledge his problem and admit that he is no longer on the front line of his discipline. Trapped by his own reputation, he finds himself engaged in a lonely struggle and increasingly panicking as the conference goes on.

This book reveals the tragedy of a scientist with his best work behind him, who has also missed his chance to move into a role more suited to his new situation. It also explores the harder aspects of meritocracy and the often huge egos of successful academics.

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