The Golem at Large: What You Should Know about Technology / Edition 1

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In the widely discussed first volume in the Golem series, The Golem: What You Should Know About Science, Harry Colllins and Trevor Pinch likened science to the Golem, a creature from Jewish mythology, a powerful creature which, while not evil, can be dangerous because it is clumsy. In this second volume, the authors now consider the Golem of technology. In a series of case studies they demonstrate that the imperfections in technology are related to the uncertainties in science. The case studies cover the role of the Patriot anti-missile missile in the Gulf War, the Challenger space shuttle explosion, tests of nuclear fuel flasks and of anti-misting kerosene as a fuel for airplanes, economic modeling, the question of the origins of oil, analysis of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, and the contribution of lay expertise to the analysis of treatments for AIDS. Anyone who views technology with a wary eye will love The Golem at Large. Harry Collins is Professor of Sociology at Cardiff University and Director for the Study of Knowledge Expertise and Science at the University of Wales. His other books include the forthcoming The One Culture (University of Chicago Press, 2001) and (with M. Kusch) The Shape of Actions (MIT, 1998). nTrevor Pinch is a founding member of the Department of Science and Technology Studies at Cornell University, where he is now chair. He is co-editor (with Wiebe E. Bijker) of The Social Construction of Technological Systems (MIT, 1989).
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Of the many impressive texts that use case studies to convey 'what you should know about technology', The Golem at Large is the clearest and simplest. The authors rework existing materials with great care to produce a valuable introduction to their topic that is accessible to anyone." Nature

"Their book is worthy of note not only for its clear analysis of how science can come up short when applied outside the laboratory but for its honest appraisal of the fallibility of technology's gatekeepers. But Collins and Pinch offer much more: a reasonable, surprisingly entertaining rebuttal of both Panglossian technophiles and Luddite technophobes." Publisher's Weekly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521012706
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 5/27/2002
  • Series: Canto Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 5.43 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Meet the Author

Harry Collins is Distinguished Research Professor in Sociology and Director of the Centre for the Study of Knowledge, Expertise and Science (KES) at Cardiff University. His book, with Trevor Pinch, The Golem: What You Should Know About Science (Cambridge University Press, 1993) won the 1995 Robert Merton Prize of the American Sociological Association. He is the 1997 recipient of the J. D. Bernal Award of the Society for Social Studies of Science.

Trevor Pinch is current Professor in the Department of Science and Technology Studies, Cornell University. His book, with Harry Collins, The Golem: What You Should Know About Science (Cambridge University Press, 1993) won the Merton Prize of the American Sociological Association.

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Table of Contents

Preface and acknowledgements; Introduction: the technological golem; 1. A clean kill?: the role of Patriot in the gulf war; 2. The naked launch: assigning blame for the Challenger explosion; 3. Crash!: nuclear fuel flasks and anti-misting kerosene on trial; 4. The world according to gold: disputes about the origins of oil; 5. Tidings of comfort and joy: seven wise men and the science of economics; 6. The science of the lambs: Chernobyl and the Cumbrian sheep farmers; 7. Acting up: AIDS cures and lay expertise; Conclusion: the golem goes to world; References and further reading.
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