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Biographies of Scientific Objects

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Why does an object or phenomenon become the subject of scientific inquiry? Why do some of these objects remain provocative, while others fade from center stage? And why do objects sometimes return as the focus of research long after they were once abandoned? Addressing such questions, Biographies of Scientific Objects is about how whole domains of phenomena—dreams, atoms, m Why does an object or phenomenon become the subject of scientific inquiry? Why do some of these objects remain provocative, while others fade from center stage? And why do objects sometimes return as the focus of research long after they were once abandoned? Addressing such questions, Biographies of Scientific Objects is about how whole domains of phenomena—dreams, atoms, monsters, culture, society, mortality, centers of gravity, value, cytoplasmic particles, the self, tuberculosis—come into being and sometimes pass away as objects of scientific study. With examples drawn from both the natural and social sciences, and ranging from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries, this book explores the ways in which scientific objects are both real and historical. Whether discovered or invented, these objects of inquiry broaden and deepen in meaning—growing more "real"—as they become entangled in webs of cultural significance, material practices, and theoretical derivations. Thus their biographies will matter to anyone concerned with the formation of scientific knowledge. Contributors are Jed Z. Buchwald, Lorraine Daston, Rivka Feldhay, Jan Goldstein, Gerard Jorland, Doris Kauffman, Bruno Latour, Theodore M. Porter, Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, Marshall Sahlins, and Peter Wagner.


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Why does an object or phenomenon become the subject of scientific inquiry? Why do some of these objects remain provocative, while others fade from center stage? And why do objects sometimes return as the focus of research long after they were once abandoned? Addressing such questions, Biographies of Scientific Objects is about how whole domains of phenomena—dreams, atoms, m Why does an object or phenomenon become the subject of scientific inquiry? Why do some of these objects remain provocative, while others fade from center stage? And why do objects sometimes return as the focus of research long after they were once abandoned? Addressing such questions, Biographies of Scientific Objects is about how whole domains of phenomena—dreams, atoms, monsters, culture, society, mortality, centers of gravity, value, cytoplasmic particles, the self, tuberculosis—come into being and sometimes pass away as objects of scientific study. With examples drawn from both the natural and social sciences, and ranging from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries, this book explores the ways in which scientific objects are both real and historical. Whether discovered or invented, these objects of inquiry broaden and deepen in meaning—growing more "real"—as they become entangled in webs of cultural significance, material practices, and theoretical derivations. Thus their biographies will matter to anyone concerned with the formation of scientific knowledge. Contributors are Jed Z. Buchwald, Lorraine Daston, Rivka Feldhay, Jan Goldstein, Gerard Jorland, Doris Kauffman, Bruno Latour, Theodore M. Porter, Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, Marshall Sahlins, and Peter Wagner.

40 review for Biographies of Scientific Objects

  1. 4 out of 5

    Pete

    Best part of the introduction is where Daston demonstrates how several of the key terms of modern science have changed valences (her best example is that of ‘object’). The central question of the book regards how objects can emerge as demanding, or fit for scientific inquiry. The larger project is to move past a dichotomy between realist and ‘constructivist’ histories of science by examining objects in their specificity - how they take on new resonances or valences in differing contexts (the exa Best part of the introduction is where Daston demonstrates how several of the key terms of modern science have changed valences (her best example is that of ‘object’). The central question of the book regards how objects can emerge as demanding, or fit for scientific inquiry. The larger project is to move past a dichotomy between realist and ‘constructivist’ histories of science by examining objects in their specificity - how they take on new resonances or valences in differing contexts (the example in this volume is the self), or emerge without a single, clear precedent (e.g. society, culture). Daston’s own essay on preternatural philosophy is great because it clearly demonstrates the historical specificity of what we consider to be proper objects of scientific knowledge, and because it hints at the relationship between affect and power in the context of scientific study.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Simona

  3. 5 out of 5

    Silvelie

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    Jeffrey Tallane

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    Riza

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    Ervinos

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    Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

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    Dave

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    Puiu

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    jessica

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    George Mcgowan

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    Joshua Buhs

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    Reuvenc

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    Zoltán Ginelli

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    Wcbaker

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    Jia Zhang

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  37. 4 out of 5

    Liliana

  38. 5 out of 5

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  39. 4 out of 5

    Silvelie

  40. 4 out of 5

    Becca

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