Daily Archives: 10/12/2013

The Incredible Hulk – a view from the 21st century

  I find it fascinating how popular fiction unconsciously picks up the tenor of the times. The Incredible Hulk, though first appearing in 1962 and based, its creators say, on Frankenstein, Dr Jekyll and the Jewish Golem myth, embodies some popular science as well. In particular, as a textbook case of the cliché of “scientist transformed in laboratory accident,” he embodies the hopeful monster hypothesis of Richard Goldschmidt’s 1940 book. This in turn reflected the early optimism of the modern synthesis about the role of newly-discovered mutations in long-term evolution. But in fact it’s an anachronism – modern science explains the Hulk far better.

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