Arrowsmith is a fictional novel by Sinclair Lewis that was published in 1925. It won the 1926 Pulitzer Prize for Lewis but he refused to accept it. Arrowsmith is arguably the earliest major novel to deal with the culture of science.
Arrowsmith tells the story of bright and scientifically-minded Martin Arrowsmith as he makes his way from a small town in the Midwest to the upper echelons of the scientific community. Along the way he experiences medical school, private practice as the only doctor in tiny Wheatsylvania, North Dakota, various stints as regional health official, the lure of high-paying hospital jobs. Finally, Arrowsmith is recognized by his former medical school mentor, Max Gottlieb, for a scientific paper he has written and is invited to take a post with a prestigious research institute in New York. The book''''s climax deals with Dr. Arrowsmith''''s discovery of a phage that destroys bacteria and his experiences as he faces an outbreak of bubonic plague on a fictional Caribbean island. The book explores the moral issues Dr. Arrowsmith faces as he decides whether or not to utilize a placebo in his research, possibly sentencing some patients to death in the interest of good research.