1) (p. 34) "When they were twenty he asked her to marry him. She was only a girl, but he believed she would make radical discoveries. This was why Jacob dedicated himself to Marion. He was not trying to be a feminist, or to sacrifice himself. He did not particularly resent his teaching career at Tufts. He believed in Marion."As a child prodigy, Jacob is in a good position to judge Marion--and to find in her a remarkable gift, a gift that was not also granted to him. What is this gift that Marion has but not Jacob? 4-5 sentences.
Marion has the gift of dedication and continued commitment towards science. She loves it and is so careful with science that she has dedicated her life to it. Jacob, on the other hand, gave up on science years ago, yet is still fascinated and intrigued by it. This shows how Marion, despite her flaws, has the commitment and dedication to continue to work in her field, despite its difficulties. Jacob is drawn to Marion by her incredible intelligence and passion, yet these are the things that he questions about her, and causes the unraveling within the book.
2)Write about Robin's response to the performance of Bach's "St. Matthew's Passion." (p. 122) "The soloists were bright, the Evangelist's recitative a tour de force, but the choristers stood for the community, and in their society of voice she began to feel the deepest consolation. She forgot the neglect she had been suffering, the lack of interest shown to herHer resentment was so small in scale before the chorus; a shard of glass in an ocean of sound."What does this passage reveal about Robin Decker? Note how it stands in direct contrast to Cliff's response, which is to regret that he is not seated closer to Peter Hawking. One paragraph.
This passage reveals the multi-dimension of Robin’s character. Robin is not only a skilled scientist, but she also is shown to have an understanding and appreciation to the arts. Robin, in comparison to Cliff, demonstrates appreciation and emotion towards the performance. This passage also reveals that through the music and emotion, Robin is able to allow herself to feel comforted. She also made the realization that she is only a small piece of the puzzle and that there are many more problems in this world other than hers.
3)"It sounds as though what you'd really like to do is teach." (111) This statement hits Robin pretty hard, even though Goodman has prepared the reader for it carefully with a long description of Marion's austere assessment of Robin's future at the Philpott. As a result, Robin decides to become an assistant to Jacob at Tufts. What does it say about Robin that she agrees to this offer? Earlier we learned that teaching is the last thing Robin wants to do! One paragraph.
This passage reveals that Robin wants to please people, and is willing to sacrifice her own happiness to do so. It also shows that she is realistic because she knows that she has been working at Philpott for years and has had little recognition for her efforts. She wants to succeed within her field and wants to gain the recognition for her hard work. Robin is willing to go to any lengths that she has to in order to find the appreciation and respect that she desires. Robin believes that through accepting the teaching position, she will be able to find a sense of recognition. This shows that Robin is a person who is focused on her personal success, rather than just the success of Philpott.
4) "Jacob thought carefully before he spoke'The results seem almost too good to be true.'" (speaking to Robin p.160). This comes at the end of Part V, setting up the next sequence in which Robin starts to investigate Cliff's data. Explain the importance of the fact that Jacob says this to Robin. Apparently, he has decided that Marion is not listening to him -- or hearing him. Why does he expect that Robin will listen to him? One paragraph.
It is very significant that Jacob is the person to outwardly speak out against the validity of Cliff’s work. Jacob mentions his concerns to Robin because he feels that Marion isn’t paying attention to him. The fact that he mentions this to Robin is very significant because Robin is a bit spiteful towards the lab, and we know how deeply she wants to gain attention and recognition. Jacob expects that she will listen because he knows that she has strong feelings about the work. Early on, Robin tries to tell the directors of the lab about Cliff’s sloppy and inconsistent lab notes, but she is brushed aside and ignored as usual. By Jacob mentioning his concerns to Robin, it gives her the fuel to leave the lab and go public with the information, causing a huge mess for the lab.
5) By raising the question that Cliff's data is flawed, Robin puts herself at odds with the entire Philpott. She's a whistleblower. For background, read this article about the discoverer of "quasicrystals," Dr. Dan Schechtman, winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize for chemistry. Schechtman said this about the controversy that followed his discovery: "People just laughed at me," Shechtman recalled in an interview this year with Israeli newspaper Haaretz, noting how Linus Pauling, a colossus of science and double Nobel laureate, mounted a frightening "crusade" against him, saying: "There is no such thing as quasicrystals, only quasi-scientists." After telling Shechtman to go back and read the textbook, the head of his research group asked him to leave for "bringing disgrace" on the team. "I felt rejected," Shechtman remembered.
Why isn't Robin praised for doing what any scientist should do as a matter of professional ethics? One paragraph.
Robin is not praised for doing what any moral scientist would do because she is speaking out against the lab and those who worked so hard in the lab. We know from the beginning of the book that the lab was desperate for a grant and was struggling for money. Everyone who worked at the lab was stressed and overworked, and were all trying to make a big break. When the big break did occur, whether it was valid or not, it was one of their own who stood up against the results. Scientific morality aside, Robin betrayed those in the lab by going public with the information. She was part of the team, so she was looked down upon by those in the lab because she had ruined the good name of the research program.