13.0444 the god of small things

From: Humanist Discussion Group (willard@lists.village.virginia.edu)
Date: Fri Feb 25 2000 - 20:44:52 CUT

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 13, No. 444.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

             Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 20:40:37 +0000
             From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk>
             Subject: being small

    "Some scientists are skeptical about the potential of big science for
    genuine innovation, none more so, to my knowledge, than Freeman Dyson. He
    was active in operations research during World War II (the beginnings for
    what Pickering 1995 calls "cyborg history," and hence for the "regime" of
    big science). He was one of the handful of physicists who brought quantum
    electrodynamics into being. He has long urged that the major novelties in
    human discovery will not spring out of the great laboratories --
    prestigious, well-funded, with their pools of brilliant talent. The really
    new ideas will come from the scientific fringes, undernoticed, forced by
    the exigencies of weak financing to improvise and to think, rather than to
    deploy vast armies and treasure chests of materiel. Small science, he
    thinks, will be the source of the rare stunning novelty that changes our
    vision of the world. To exaggerate the thesis: big science is bound to be
    what Kuhn called normal science, while revolutionary science will, from now
    on in, occur on the fringes."

    Ian Hacking, The Social Construction of What?, p. 196.

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Dr. Willard McCarty, Senior Lecturer, King's College London
    voice: +44 (0)171 848 2784 fax: +44 (0)171 848 5081
    <Willard.McCarty@kcl.ac.uk> <http://ilex.cc.kcl.ac.uk/wlm/>
    maui gratia

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