Gravity's Ghost: Scientific Discovery in the Twenty-first Century

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University of Chicago Press, 2011 - 187 páginas
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In theory, at least, gravitational waves do exist. We are constantly bathed in gravitational radiation, which is generated when stars explode or collide and a portion of their mass becomes energy that ripples out like a disturbance on the surface of a serene pond. But unfortunately no gravitational wave has ever been directly detected even though the search has lasted more than forty years.

As the leading chronicler of the search for gravitational waves, Harry Collins has been right there with the scientists since the start. The result of his unprecedented access to the front lines of physical science is Gravity’s Ghost, a thrilling chronicle of high-stakes research and cutting-edge discovery. Here, Collins reveals that scientific discovery and nondiscovery can turn on scientific traditions and rivalries, that ideal statistical analysis rests on impossible procedures and unattainable knowledge, and that fact in one place is baseless assumption in another. He also argues that sciences like gravitational wave detection, in exemplifying how the intractable is to be handled, can offer scientific leadership a moral beacon for the twenty-first century. In the end, Gravity’s Ghost shows that discoveries are the denouements of dramatic scientific mysteries.

  

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A much shorter sequel to _Gravity's Shadow_ (2004) on the sociology of physicists' decades-long efforts to detect gravitational waves (with the huge LIGO interferometers, etc). Mostly about the ... Leer reseña completa

Índice

Introduction
1
1 Gravitational Wave Detection
7
Early Days
23
3 Resistance to Discovery
49
The Middle Period
71
5 The Hidden Histories of Statistical Tests
93
The Denouement
111
7 Gravitys Ghost
127
Science in the TwentyFirst Century
153
Thinking after Arcadia
163
The Burst Group Checklist as of October 2007
169
The Burst Group Abstract Prepared for the Arcadia Meeting
179
Acknowledgments
181
References
183
Index
185
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Sobre el autor (2011)

Harry Collins is distinguished research professor of sociology at Cardiff University; director of the Centre for the Study of Knowledge, Expertise, and Science; and author of many books, including Gravity’s Shadow: The Search for Gravitational Waves, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

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