Mary Shelley and the science of Frankenstein

A statue of Frankenstein’s monster in Geneva.( FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

Frankenstein has become a pop culture mainstay and it all started off as a novel written by an 18-year-old woman written in the early 1800s.

As we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the novel’s publication, we look at how Mary Shelley was inspired by science and how the lessons of the book still resonate with the scientific world today.

For more on electricity, check out our four-part series from December.

And if curious to learn more about de-extinction, you can check out our episode where we talked to a scientist working on making the passenger pigeon de-extinct.

Play the game! To delve more deeply into the book, you can check out the game Frankenstein 200.

Read the book! You can find the whole text of Frankenstein, along with essays about the book from scientists, at

Join the book club! Our friends at Science Friday have chosen Mary Shelley’s novel as their book club pick. You can check out their discussions here.

Bodleian curator Stephen Hebron holds a portrait of Mary Shelley at University of Oxford.
(Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Pages from the original manuscript of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, is dispayed for the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford latest literary exhibition on November 29, 2010 in Oxford, England. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)