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Beamtimes and Lifetimes: The World of High Energy Physicists

By: Sharon Traweek

187 pages, no illustrations

Harvard University Press

Paperback | Dec 1992 | #81207 | ISBN: 0674063481
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NHBS Price: £14.95 $19/€16 approx

About this book

The unique breed of particle physicists constitutes a community of sophisticated mythmakers - explicators of the nature of matter who forever alter our views of space and time. Sharon Treweek opens the door to this unusual domain of scientists and offers us a glimpse into the inner sanctum of their world.

Every sensitive observer of contemporary science and technology will want to read this short, compelling description. -- Susan E. Cozzens Science A groundbreaking work about how modern science functions. As the only anthropologist studying high-energy physics, Traweek brings a unique and valuable perspective to the study of this curious and important modern community. -- Michael Riordan Technology Review Traweek gets inside the heads of physicists...She shows their similarities and difference, how their careers are shaped, how they interact with their colleagues, how they do physics and how their ideas about time and space shape their social structure. Traweek has produced a revealing and intimate look at this exclusive world and its mores. -- Lee Dembart Los Angeles Times Traweek's account successfully captures much of the flavour of the high-energy physicist's way of life...They aspire to reveal the immutable, everlasting laws governing the evolution of the universe "outside human space and time" yet the physicist themselves, only brief visitors to this world, are all too human, children of their cultures in their pride and frailties. -- John Mulvey Times Higher Education Supplement


Prologue - an anthropologist studies physicists; touring the site - powerful places in the laboratory; inventing machines that discover nature - detectors at SLAC and KEK; Pilgrim's Progress - male tales told during a life in physics; ground states - distinctions and the ties that bind; buying time and taking space - negotiations, collaboration, and change; epilogue - knowledge and passion.

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Sharon Traweek is Professor of Anthropology at Rice University.

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