How experiments end.pdf

How experiments end

Peter Galison

Peter Galison plunges the reader into the intellectual and social world of twentieth-century experimental physicists. Few accounts in the history and philosophy of science capture the dynamic activity of experimentation. But Galison, recognizing that in todays microphysics the realms of the experimenter and the theorist have begun to diverge, asks a simple and essential question: how do teams of physicists demonstrate the existence of a process that takes place in a hundred-millionth of a second and looks like ten other processes? Comparing three periods of twentieth-century microphysical experimentation, How Experiments End shows turn-of-the-century tabletop work evolving first into more complex research on individual atomic processes and then into the multimillion-dollar, accelerator based experimentation that is the hallmark of todays high-energy physics. Galison argues that an experiment is no longer the extended work of a single person, but must be seen as the enterprise of a complex community that bas its own subgroups, competitors, publications, and standards of demonstration. In developing this new perspective, Galison draws on information rarely exploited for historical and philosophical analysis-grant proposals, technical memoranda, and computer programs. He takes us inside physics laboratories during the critical time when data are being collected but before they have become evidence. How Experiments End will be illuminating for both scientists and students of science. Scientists will find a sensitivity to technical rigor, while the description of the shift from individual to team research will intrigue historians and sociologists. Galisons description also offers a new philosophic insight into science. In his detailed account of how physicists use computer simulations, heuristic demonstrations, equipment design, instrumental manipulation, and even nontheoretical craft knowledge to assemble experimental arguments, we see how instruments and apparatus can become the material embodiment of themicrophysics communitys beliefs and practices.

EXPERIMENTS - University of Pennsylvania

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9780226279152 ISBN
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How experiments end.pdf


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