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The Genius Factory: The Curious History of the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank by David Plotz
The Genius Factory refers to the Repository for Germinal Choice, better known as the Nobel Prize sperm bank. In 1980, eccentric millionaire Robert Graham started the sperm bank, soliciting donations from Nobel Prize winners and offering it to brilliant women. He saw the United States sinking under the weight of "retrograde humans" and he desperately wanted to add more intellectual people. The only Nobel Prize winner who publicly acknowledged making a contribution was William Shockley, whose racist views deterred others from joining the experiment. Unable to get more Nobel laureates, Robert Graham, eventually settled for any man who would donate his sperm. The sperm bank was shut down in 1999 after Graham's death. David Plotz explores the history of the sperm bank, its failure as a eugenics experiment, and was able to contact some of the 215 children born to women who visited the sperm bank. The Genius Factory has received positive reviews with the San Francisco Chronicle saying, "The Genius Factory story -- by turns personal, confounding, creepy, defiant of expectations and touching -- isn't over, but it is worth telling now."