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The Golem at Large: What You Should Know About Technology

Series: Canto (Original Series)

By: Harry M Collins and Trevor Pinch

163 pages, Illus

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | May 2002 | #127862 | ISBN: 0521012708
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £15.99 $20/€18 approx
Hardback | Sep 1998 | #85658 | ISBN: 0521551412
Out of Print Details

About this book

Using the same successful format, as in The Golem: What You Should Know About Science, the authors demonstrate that the imperfections in technology are related to the uncertainties in science.

From the hardback: 'What The Golem did for science, The Golem at Large does for technology ! My experiences in using the book for teaching, however, have been wholly positive, perhaps because it does not seek to give all the answers. In such a short book, there is no space for detailed post mortems; general comments come in a short concluding chapter. I found it useful, too, as a way of linking together historical studies of science and technology with issues of current concern. That is, the Golem at Large gave me another way of encouraging students to re-examine past science and technology in context and in culture by showing them one way of teasing apart the complex politics of contemporary technology.' B. Marsden, Annals of Science '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.' Barry Barnes, Nature 'Harry Collins and Trevor Pinch have followed up their book about so-so science, The Golem, with The Golem at Large: What You Should Know About Technology. What you should know is that nothing is simple once humans are involved, especially humans with points to score or reputations to lose. During the Gulf war, how useful was the Patriot missile? What did President Bush mean when he said 41 out of 42 Iraqi Scud missiles were 'intercepted'? Who do you blame for the disaster of the Challenger shuttle mission in 1986? How do you work out where oil really comes from? Why would anyone believe one economist, let alone a group of seven?' Tim Radford, The Guardian '! riveting.' Robert Gaitskell, The Times Higher Educational Supplement


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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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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