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Image and Logic: A Material Culture of Microphysics

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"I want to get at the blown glass of the early cloud chambers and the oozing noodles of wet nuclear emulsion; to the resounding crack of a high-voltage spark arcing across a high-tension chamber and leaving the lab stinking of ozone; to the silent, darkened room, with row after row of scanners sliding trackballs across projected bubble-chamber images. Pictures and pulses—I "I want to get at the blown glass of the early cloud chambers and the oozing noodles of wet nuclear emulsion; to the resounding crack of a high-voltage spark arcing across a high-tension chamber and leaving the lab stinking of ozone; to the silent, darkened room, with row after row of scanners sliding trackballs across projected bubble-chamber images. Pictures and pulses—I want to know where they came from, how pictures and counts got to be the bottom-line data of physics." (from the preface) Image and Logic is the most detailed engagement to date with the impact of modern technology on what it means to "do" physics and to be a physicist. At the beginning of this century, physics was usually done by a lone researcher who put together experimental apparatus on a benchtop. Now experiments frequently are larger than a city block, and experimental physicists live very different lives: programming computers, working with industry, coordinating vast teams of scientists and engineers, and playing politics. Peter L. Galison probes the material culture of experimental microphysics to reveal how the ever-increasing scale and complexity of apparatus have distanced physicists from the very science that drew them into experimenting, and have fragmented microphysics into different technical traditions much as apparatus have fragmented atoms to get at the fundamental building blocks of matter. At the same time, the necessity for teamwork in operating multimillion-dollar machines has created dynamic "trading zones," where instrument makers, theorists, and experimentalists meet, share knowledge, and coordinate the extraordinarily diverse pieces of the culture of modern microphysics: work, machines, evidence, and argument.


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"I want to get at the blown glass of the early cloud chambers and the oozing noodles of wet nuclear emulsion; to the resounding crack of a high-voltage spark arcing across a high-tension chamber and leaving the lab stinking of ozone; to the silent, darkened room, with row after row of scanners sliding trackballs across projected bubble-chamber images. Pictures and pulses—I "I want to get at the blown glass of the early cloud chambers and the oozing noodles of wet nuclear emulsion; to the resounding crack of a high-voltage spark arcing across a high-tension chamber and leaving the lab stinking of ozone; to the silent, darkened room, with row after row of scanners sliding trackballs across projected bubble-chamber images. Pictures and pulses—I want to know where they came from, how pictures and counts got to be the bottom-line data of physics." (from the preface) Image and Logic is the most detailed engagement to date with the impact of modern technology on what it means to "do" physics and to be a physicist. At the beginning of this century, physics was usually done by a lone researcher who put together experimental apparatus on a benchtop. Now experiments frequently are larger than a city block, and experimental physicists live very different lives: programming computers, working with industry, coordinating vast teams of scientists and engineers, and playing politics. Peter L. Galison probes the material culture of experimental microphysics to reveal how the ever-increasing scale and complexity of apparatus have distanced physicists from the very science that drew them into experimenting, and have fragmented microphysics into different technical traditions much as apparatus have fragmented atoms to get at the fundamental building blocks of matter. At the same time, the necessity for teamwork in operating multimillion-dollar machines has created dynamic "trading zones," where instrument makers, theorists, and experimentalists meet, share knowledge, and coordinate the extraordinarily diverse pieces of the culture of modern microphysics: work, machines, evidence, and argument.

30 review for Image and Logic: A Material Culture of Microphysics

  1. 5 out of 5

    Edward Fenner

    Heavy and dense but really interesting. Curiously, Galison spends a lot of time with the Rad Lab at MIT but zero time with the High Voltage Lab.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Youngjin Yoo

  3. 4 out of 5

    Steph Jordan

  4. 4 out of 5

    Med Bunoura

  5. 4 out of 5

    Luis

  6. 5 out of 5

    Abhi Agarwal

  7. 4 out of 5

    Laura

  8. 5 out of 5

    Steve

  9. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Fehder

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

    Exploring 20th century physics of the microworld through the grubby lens of practice. The image and logic of the title refers to the dtectors that were developed over this period; the images from cloud and bubble chambers and the logic of counters and statistics - culminating the the combined image and logic detectors that now feature in current practice at facilities like CERN. Galison tells a compelling story of the intercalation of theory, experiment and instrument in physics. Most importantl Exploring 20th century physics of the microworld through the grubby lens of practice. The image and logic of the title refers to the dtectors that were developed over this period; the images from cloud and bubble chambers and the logic of counters and statistics - culminating the the combined image and logic detectors that now feature in current practice at facilities like CERN. Galison tells a compelling story of the intercalation of theory, experiment and instrument in physics. Most importantly presenting an image of science that gains its strength through this disorder of the scientific community. A monumental history and philosophy of science book, 4 stars as it not for a 'general' audience definitely one for the anyone interested or studying history and philosophy of science and for those science educated who want to think a little more deeply about science as it is. Galison writes well, researches deeply and thinks expansively - this book is well worth the effort to read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dave

  12. 4 out of 5

    Marian Urquilla

  13. 5 out of 5

    Steve

  14. 4 out of 5

    Marcio Felipe

  15. 4 out of 5

    Siul Arellano

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ash Jogalekar

  17. 4 out of 5

    Georgette Taylor

  18. 4 out of 5

    Quyen Wickham

  19. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  20. 4 out of 5

    Craig McConnell

  21. 5 out of 5

    Cassio L Vieira

  22. 5 out of 5

    Eric Fleming

  23. 5 out of 5

    Evan

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jordanggarner

  25. 5 out of 5

    Alex

  26. 5 out of 5

    Marilena Pat

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ta Thi

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tomas Petricek

  29. 5 out of 5

    Scott

  30. 4 out of 5

    Iris

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