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The Golem

Author: Harry M. Collins
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1107604656
Size: 18.77 MB
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Second edition of a very well received title which demystifies science and is highly readable on complex subjects.

The Golem At Large

Author: Harry Collins
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1139917404
Size: 45.88 MB
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In the very successful and widely discussed first volume in the Golem series, The Golem: What You Should Know about Science, Harry Collins and Trevor Pinch likened science to the Golem, a creature from Jewish mythology, a powerful creature which, while not evil, can be dangerous because it is clumsy. In this second volume, the authors now consider the Golem of technology. In a series of case studies they demonstrate that the imperfections in technology are related to the uncertainties in science described in the first volume. The case studies cover the role of the Patriot anti-missile missile in the Gulf War, the Challenger space shuttle explosion, tests of nuclear fuel flasks and of anti-misting kerosene as a fuel for airplanes, economic modeling, the question of the origins of oil, analysis of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, and the contribution of lay expertise to the analysis of treatments for AIDS.

Dr Golem

Author: Harry Collins
Publisher: ReadHowYouWant.com
ISBN: 1459605845
Size: 39.27 MB
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A creature of Jewish mythology, a golem is an animated being made by man from clay and water who knows neither his own strength nor the extent of his ignorance. Like science and technology, the subjects of Harry Collins and Trevor Pinch's previous volumes, medicine is also a golem, and this Dr. Golem should not be blamed for its mistakes - they are, after all, our mistakes. The problem lies in its well-meaning clumsiness. Dr. Golem explores some of the mysteries and complexities of medicine while untangling the inherent conundrums of scientific research and highlighting its vagaries. Driven by the question of what to do in the face of the fallibility of medicine, Dr. Golem encourages a more inquisitive attitude toward the explanations and accounts offered by medical science. In eight chapters devoted to case studies of modern medicine, Collins and Pinch consider the prevalence of tonsillectomies, the placebo effect and randomized control trials, bogus doctors, CPR, the efficacy of Vitamin C in fighting cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, AIDS cures, and vaccination. They also examine the tension between the conflicting faces of medicine: medicine as science versus medicine as a source of succor; the interests of an individual versus the interests of a group; and the benefits in the short term versus success rates in the long term. Throughout, Collins and Pinch remind readers that medical science is an economic as well as a social consideration, encapsulated for the authors in the timeless struggle to balance the good health of the many - with vaccinations, for instance - with the good health of a few - those who have adverse reactions to the vaccine. In an age when the deaths of research subjects, the early termination of clinical trials, and the research guidelines for stem cells are front-page news, Dr. Golem is a timely analysis of the limitations of medicine that never loses sight of its strengths.

Science Culture And Society

Author: Mark Erickson
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 1509503242
Size: 68.46 MB
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Science occupies an ambiguous space in contemporary society. Scientific research is championed in relation to tackling environmental issues and diseases such as cancer and dementia, and science has made important contributions to today’s knowledge economies and knowledge societies. And yet science is considered by many to be remote, and even dangerous. It seems that as we have more science, we have less understanding of what science actually is. The new edition of this popular text redresses this knowledge gap and provides a novel framework for making sense of science, particularly in relation to contemporary social issues such as climate change. Using real-world examples, Mark Erickson explores what science is and how it is carried out, what the relationship between science and society is, how science is represented in contemporary culture, and how scientific institutions are structured. Throughout, the book brings together sociology, science and technology studies, cultural studies and philosophy to provide a far-reaching understanding of science and technology in the twenty-first century. Fully updated and expanded in its second edition, Science, Culture and Society will continue to be key reading on courses across the social sciences and humanities that engage with science in its social and cultural context.

Rethinking Expertise

Author: Harry Collins
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226113620
Size: 38.53 MB
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What does it mean to be an expert? In Rethinking Expertise, Harry Collins and Robert Evans offer a radical new perspective on the role of expertise in the practice of science and the public evaluation of technology. Collins and Evans present a Periodic Table of Expertises based on the idea of tacit knowledge—knowledge that we have but cannot explain. They then look at how some expertises are used to judge others, how laypeople judge between experts, and how credentials are used to evaluate them. Throughout, Collins and Evans ask an important question: how can the public make use of science and technology before there is consensus in the scientific community? This book has wide implications for public policy and for those who seek to understand science and benefit from it. “Starts to lay the groundwork for solving a critical problem—how to restore the force of technical scientific information in public controversies, without importing disguised political agendas.”—Nature “A rich and detailed ‘periodic table’ of expertise . . . full of case studies, anecdotes and intriguing experiments.”—Times Higher Education Supplement (UK)

Changing Order

Author: Harry Collins
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226113760
Size: 71.85 MB
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This fascinating study in the sociology of science explores the way scientists conduct, and draw conclusions from, their experiments. The book is organized around three case studies: replication of the TEA-laser, detecting gravitational rotation, and some experiments in the paranormal. "In his superb book, Collins shows why the quest for certainty is disappointed. He shows that standards of replication are, of course, social, and that there is consequently no outside standard, no Archimedean point beyond society from which we can lever the intellects of our fellows."—Donald M. McCloskey, Journal of Economic Psychology "Collins is one of the genuine innovators of the sociology of scientific knowledge. . . . Changing Order is a rich and entertaining book."—Isis "The book gives a vivid sense of the contingent nature of research and is generally a good read."—Augustine Brannigan, Nature "This provocative book is a review of [Collins's] work, and an attempt to explain how scientists fit experimental results into pictures of the world. . . . A promising start for new explorations of our image of science, too often presented as infallibly authoritative."—Jon Turney, New Scientist

Beyond Engineering

Author: Robert Pool
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190283076
Size: 63.35 MB
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We have long recognized technology as a driving force behind much historical and cultural change. The invention of the printing press initiated the Reformation. The development of the compass ushered in the Age of Exploration and the discovery of the New World. The cotton gin created the conditions that led to the Civil War. Now, in Beyond Engineering, science writer Robert Pool turns the question around to examine how society shapes technology. Drawing on such disparate fields as history, economics, risk analysis, management science, sociology, and psychology, Pool illuminates the complex, often fascinating interplay between machines and society, in a book that will revolutionize how we think about technology. We tend to think that reason guides technological development, that engineering expertise alone determines the final form an invention takes. But if you look closely enough at the history of any invention, says Pool, you will find that factors unrelated to engineering seem to have an almost equal impact. In his wide-ranging volume, he traces developments in nuclear energy, automobiles, light bulbs, commercial electricity, and personal computers, to reveal that the ultimate shape of a technology often has as much to do with outside and unforeseen forces. For instance, Pool explores the reasons why steam-powered cars lost out to internal combustion engines. He shows that the Stanley Steamer was in many ways superior to the Model T--it set a land speed record in 1906 of more than 127 miles per hour, it had no transmission (and no transmission headaches), and it was simpler (one Stanley engine had only twenty-two moving parts) and quieter than a gas engine--but the steamers were killed off by factors that had little or nothing to do with their engineering merits, including the Stanley twins' lack of business acumen and an outbreak of hoof-and-mouth disease. Pool illuminates other aspects of technology as well. He traces how seemingly minor decisions made early along the path of development can have profound consequences further down the road, and perhaps most important, he argues that with the increasing complexity of our technological advances--from nuclear reactors to genetic engineering--the number of things that can go wrong multiplies, making it increasingly difficult to engineer risk out of the equation. Citing such catastrophes as Bhopal, Three Mile Island, the Exxon Valdez, the Challenger, and Chernobyl, he argues that is it time to rethink our approach to technology. The days are gone when machines were solely a product of larger-than-life inventors and hard-working engineers. Increasingly, technology will be a joint effort, with its design shaped not only by engineers and executives but also psychologists, political scientists, management theorists, risk specialists, regulators and courts, and the general public. Whether discussing bovine growth hormone, molten-salt reactors, or baboon-to-human transplants, Beyond Engineering is an engaging look at modern technology and an illuminating account of how technology and the modern world shape each other.

The Scientific Attitude

Author: Frederick Grinnell
Publisher: Guilford Press
ISBN: 9780898620184
Size: 72.48 MB
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THE SCIENTIFIC ATTITUDE presents a systematic account of the cognitive and social features of science. Written by an experimental biologist actively engaged in research, the work is unique in its attempt to understand science in terms of day-to-day practice. The book goes beyond the traditional description of science that focuses on method and logic to characterize the scientific attitude as a way of looking at the world. Professor Grinnell uses examples from biomedical research to describe science at three interdependent levels. At the first level, the individual scientist makes observations, formulates hypotheses, and does experiments. The scientist's thought style determines what can be seen and what it will appear to mean. At the second level, scientists participate in social institutions such as graduate programs, research groups, journal editorial boards, and grant review panels. Each of these institutions tries to promote its own distinctive collective thought style. Finally, at the third level, scientists participate in the world of everyday life beyond science, a world that continuously influences and is influenced by the activities and discoveries of science.

Science And Technology In Society

Author: Daniel Lee Kleiman
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 1405148195
Size: 64.19 MB
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This thoughtful and engaging text challenges the widely held notion of science as somehow outside of society, and the idea that technology proceeds automatically down a singular and inevitable path. Through specific case studies involving contemporary debates, this book shows that science and technology are fundamentally part of society and are shaped by it. Draws on concepts from political sociology, organizational analysis, and contemporary social theory. Avoids dense theoretical debate. Includes case studies and concluding chapter summaries for students and scholars.