Harry Collins and Trevor Pinch liken science to the Golem, a creature from Jewish mythology, powerful yet potentially dangerous, a gentle, helpful creature that may yet run amok at any moment. Through a series of intriguing case studies the authors debunk the traditional view that science is the straightforward result of competent theorisation, observation and experimentation. The very well-received first edition generated much debate, reflected in a substantial new Afterword in this second edition, which seeks to place the book in what have become known as 'the science wars'.
'… it succeeds extraordinarily well in this task of portraying and assessing the real fabric of scientific research, based on the insights of modern scholarship.' Bernard Dixon, former Editor, New Scientist
Introduction: the Golem; 1. Edible knowledge: the chemical transfer of memory; 2. Two experiments that 'proved' the theory of relativity; 3. The sun in a test tube: the story of cold fusion; 4. The germs of dissent: Louis Pasteur and the origins of life; 5. A new window on the universe: the non-detection of gravitational radiation; 6. The sex life of the whiptail lizard; 7. Set the controls for the heart of the sun: the strange story of the missing solar neutrinos; Conclusion: putting the Golem to work; Afterword; References and further reading; Index.